The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is available to businesses that need it.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses on the wages they paid employees who qualified during pandemic.It’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
The ERC is a great way to keep your employees engaged and your business running smoothly if you’re a business owner impacted by the pandemic.For more information on the ERC and how to apply for it, you can visit the IRS site, talk with a professional tax advisor or read below.
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.
Employee Retention CreditEmployee Retention Credit Refund
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.It was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in March 2020 in order to help businesses retain their employees, even if it meant they could not operate normally.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.For a business to be eligible, it must have suffered a significant decrease in gross revenues or been partially or completely suspended by a government order related to COVID-19.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can help businesses to retain employees, pay for payroll, and invest in the future.
Why was ERC created
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a severe economic recession, forcing many companies to layoff their employees or close down.The ERC was created to help businesses keep their employees on payroll so that they could quickly reopen and resume normal operations once the pandemic subsided.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
Businesses can claim the ERC even if they don’t owe taxes.Businesses can also claim ERC for wages paid by employers to employees who do not work due to COVID-19. Examples include employees who were furloughed and quarantined. Employee Retention Credit Refund
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.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.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.In 2020, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 50% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.In 2021 an enterprise must have seen a decline in gross revenue of atleast 20% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for ERC:
- Fully or partially suspended by a government order: A business that has been fully or partially suspended by a government order due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- Significant drop in gross sales: A business experiencing a significant loss in gross sales due to COVID-19 can also apply for the ERC.Significant decline in gross revenues is defined as at least a 50% decline in a quarterly in 2020, or at least a 20% decline in a quarterly in 2021 when compared with the same quarter the previous year.
Examples and Scenarios
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
An order of the government may suspend all or part of a program.
- ERC is available to restaurants that are forced to close by a government order.
- The ERC is available to gyms that are required to operate with a reduced capacity because of a COVID-19-related government order.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount of the credit is dependent on the business’s quarter and employees.
For 2020, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.This means a company could receive up to a $5,000 credit per employee in 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 3 quarters in 2021, an employer could receive up to $7,000 per employee each quarter. That’s up $21,000 per worker for the whole year.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
Businesses that wish to claim the Employee Retention credit (ERC), on their federal employment tax returns must use Form 941-X, Revised Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return, or Claim for Refund.This form can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC 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 reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- Businesses can ask for a refund if they have already paid the employment tax. They should file Form 941-X at the IRS.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double Dipping with Other Relief Programs
The ERC is calculated as the product of the employee’s qualified wage multiplied by the applicable credit rates.The credit rate for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to other relief programs.Businesses can’t, for instance, claim ERC wages if they also claim Paid Family Leave Credit (PFML) or Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documenation
Businesses should keep detailed records detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over the ERC.This will enable the business to calculate the credit amount accurately and provide evidence to support the claim, if audited. Employee Retention Credit Refund
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- Keep copies of all payroll records, including Forms 941 and W-2s.
- Keep track of all hours worked by employees, including vacation, sick, and holiday time.
- Keep track of all the wages that employees receive, including overtime, bonuses, and base wages.
- Keep track of any orders from the government that may affect your business.
The IRS provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- 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 enterprises
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons & spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that had to operate on a lower capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Costs increased for businesses due to COVID-19
ERCs may be awarded to any business, including those that were fully or partially closed by a government order and/or experienced a significant decrease in gross receipts because of COVID-19. Employee Retention Credit Refund
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- The ERC allowed a restaurant to retain its staff after it was forced to shut down for several months by government order.
- The ERC was used by a retail store to offset payroll costs after it experienced a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- A manufacturer that was unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to produce essential goods.
- A nonprofit organization whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing essential services.
If you own a company and are not sure if you are eligible, I recommend that you contact a qualified tax professional.They can help you to determine your eligibility and to claim the credit if you are eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers can use aggressive marketing strategies to convince companies to sign-up for their services even when they are not eligible to receive the ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- The company promises to give you a full refund without reviewing any of your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Employee Retention Credit Refund
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
You should contact the IRS if you receive a call from an ERC scammer.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 are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
This article has discussed the Employee retention credit (ERC), which is a tax relief that allows eligible employers to keep their employees employed during the COVID-19 Pandemic.We have explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
Also, we have provided some resources and tips for documenting and keeping records.The ERC is a valuable benefit that can help employers reduce their employment tax liability, improve their cash flow, and support their workforce.If you are an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Employee Retention Credit Refund
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 50% of qualified wage paid to employees for 2020 and 70% qualified wage paid to employees during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible for the ERC?
Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts or those that were suspended or fully suspended by government orders due to the COVID-19 epidemic are eligible for the ERC.
What is qualified wage?
Salary, wages, bonuses, and tips are all considered to be wages.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of wages.
How do I claim ERC?
Businesses can claim the ERC by filing an amended Form 941 or Form 941-X with the IRS.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I need to repay the ERC?
The ERC, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
The ERC is available to businesses who have taken out a PPP (Paycheck protection Program) loan.
Businesses cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for the ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
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:
- Incorrect credit calculation
- All wages are not included
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.