The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
It is a refundable credit that can be claimed by employers on certain wages paid to employees in the event of a pandemic.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
If you are a business owner who has been impacted by the pandemic, the ERC can help you keep your employees on board and your business afloat.Visit the IRS website to learn more about ERCs and how you can claim them. You can also speak with a tax adviser or read the following.
For a brief reading of what the Employee Retention Credit or ERC is, take a look at this video from the YouTube channel “ERC Specialists”. You can also continue below to read an in-depth explanation of ERC.
The Employee Retention CreditEmployee Retention Credit Private Equity
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is a refundable credit that businesses may claim on wages paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.It was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020 to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, even if they were unable to operate normally.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.To be eligible, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or have been fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related government order.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC created
The COVID-19 epidemic caused a severe downturn in the economy, which forced many businesses to close or lay off their employees.The ERC was established to assist businesses in keeping their employees employed so they can quickly reopen, resume normal operations and regain control of the situation once the pandemic has subsided.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
Businesses can claim the ERC even if they don’t owe taxes.Businesses can also claim the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Employee Retention Credit Private Equity
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.It also helped businesses weather the storm and stay afloat.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.It has also contributed towards the economic recovery through a boost in consumer spending and investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can be claimed by businesses that have suffered a decline in gross sales or been suspended because of a COVID-19 government order.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.In 2020, the business must have seen a decline of gross receipts by at least 50% in comparison to the same quarter the year before.In 2021, the business must have suffered from a significant fall in gross sales of at least 20% when compared to same quarter in previous year.
Business can qualify in two ways for the ERC
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part due to COVID-19.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- Significant decline in gross revenues: Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross revenue due to COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC.A significant decline in gross receipts is defined as a decline of at least 50% in a quarter in 2020 or at least 20% in a quarter in 2021 compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Examples and Scenarios
Here are some examples and scenarios to illustrate each eligibility criterion:
An order of the government may suspend all or part of a program.
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- ERC may be available for a gym which is forced to operate at reduced capacity by a COVID-19 government order.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), is a credit for businesses that can be claimed on qualified wages paid by employers to their employees during COVID-19.The amount varies depending on how many employees are employed and what quarter it is.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
The credit for the first three quarters of 2021 is 70% of the qualified wages paid by employees. This maximum amount per employee per quarter is $10,000.For the first three-quarters of 2021, a business can receive up to $7,000 in credit per employee. This could amount to up to $21,000 for each employee.
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
To claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) on federal employment tax returns, businesses must file an amended Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund.This form can be submitted for any quarter where the business was entitled to the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
There are three options available to businesses for claiming ERC:
- Claim it in advance. Businesses are able to claim the credit before the quarter’s end by reducing quarterly employment taxes.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.To do this, businesses must file Form 941 with the IRS and indicate the amount of the credit they are reducing their deposits by.
- Businesses who have already paid employment taxes may request a credit refund by filing IRS Form 941X.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.The credit rates for 2020 are 50% and 70% in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Businesses should avoid double-dipping on other relief programs.For example, businesses can’t claim the ERC if they are also claiming the Paid Family Leave Credit or Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documentation
Businesses should keep detailed records detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over the ERC.This will enable businesses to accurately determine the amount of credit that they are eligible for, and to back up their claim should it be audited. Employee Retention Credit Private Equity
Here are a few tips for documenting and keeping records:
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.Businesses can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can apply for the Employee Retention Credit.Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Costs increased for businesses due to COVID-19
Aside from these examples, businesses that have been fully or partly suspended by a government directive or who have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC. Employee Retention Credit Private Equity
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their ERC:
- The ERC allowed a restaurant to retain its staff after it was forced to shut down for several months by government order.
- A retail store which experienced a drop of 50% in sales due COVID-19 could offset its payroll expenses by using the ERC.
- The ERC allowed a manufacturer who was not able to operate at its full capacity because of supply chain disruptions to continue producing essential goods and keep their employees on the payroll.
- A nonprofit organization whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing essential services.
If you are a business owner and you are unsure whether or not you are eligible for the ERC, I encourage you to contact a tax professional.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers may use aggressive marketing tactics to try to convince businesses to sign up for their services, even if the business is not eligible for the ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- Sales tactics are high-pressure. Employee Retention Credit Private Equity
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.You should not provide your personal information to anyone contacting you uninvited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact the IRS.
In this article we discussed the Employees Retention Credit, tax-relief program that assists eligible employers in keeping their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 epidemic.We have discussed eligibility requirements, claiming processes, and possible scams related the ERC.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC provides a valuable incentive that helps employers to reduce their payroll tax liability, improve the cash flow of their business, and provide support for their employees.If you’re an eligible employer, you should claim the credit. You can also seek professional advice if you need it.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Employee Retention Credit Private Equity
What is ERC?
This is a tax credit that can be refunded to businesses who were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees in 2020 and 70% of qualified wages paid to employees in the first three quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible for the ERC?
Eligible businesses for the ERC include those who experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or were fully or partially suspended due to government orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are qualified wages?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How do you claim your ERC?
The IRS will accept amended Forms 941 and 941-X from businesses to claim the ERC.The amended 941-X form must be filed in three years following the original 941 filing date.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
No, it is a refundable credit.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
You can still claim an ERC even though you received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).
Businesses can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Schedule C forms can be claimed by individuals who are self-employed.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations can claim the ERC on their Form 990-T form.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for wages paid by foreign subsidiaries to their employees.
However, they must also meet certain additional requirements before they are eligible to claim the benefits.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- Calculation error on credit
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.