The COVID-19 epidemic has caused havoc in businesses of all sizes. Many have been forced to close or lay off their employees.Employee Retention Bonus (ERB) is a way to keep businesses afloat.
The ERC allows businesses to claim a tax credit on wages paid during a pandemic.It’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.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.
The Employee Retention CreditEmployee Retention Credit Reinstatement
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.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in March 2020. Its purpose is to assist businesses to keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.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 is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.It can be used to help businesses keep their employees, cover their payroll costs and invest for the future.
Why was ERC created
The COVID-19 Pandemic caused an economic downturn that forced many businesses either to layoff employees or shut their doors.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 is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick recovery.
Businesses can claim the ERC even if they don’t owe taxes.Businesses can claim the ERC on wages paid to employees that are not working because of COVID-19. This includes employees who have been furloughed, quarantined, or are otherwise not allowed to work. Employee Retention Credit Reinstatement
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.The ERC has helped many businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.It also contributed to the recovery of the economy by increasing consumer spending, and investing.
The test for a decline in gross receipts is the main difference between 2020 and 2021 ERC.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 organization must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts by at least 20% from the same quarter the year before.
Business can qualify in two ways for the ERC
- ERC for a business suspended fully or partly by a Government Order: An ERC can be awarded to a business that is suspended either completely or partially by an order of the government due COVID-19.This includes businesses that have been ordered to close, operate at a reduced capacity, or follow certain restrictions.
- Significant decline of gross receipts. A business which has seen a significant fall in its gross receipts because of COVID-19, is also eligible to receive the ERC.Significant declines in gross receipts are defined as a drop of at least 50% or 20% from the same quarter last year.
Examples and Scenarios
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- 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 may be available for a retailer that suffers a drop of 50% in sales caused by COVID-19.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
Employee Retention Credit is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount of the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
In 2020, the credit will be equal to half of all wages that employees are entitled to receive up to $10,000.This means a company could receive up to a $5,000 credit per employee in 2020.
For the first three quarters of 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of qualified wages paid to employees, up to a maximum of $10,000 per quarter per employee.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
For businesses to claim Employee Retention Credit on federal employment taxes, they must amend Form 941X – Adjusted Employer’s quarterly Federal Tax Return (or Claim for refund) – in order to do so, they will need to file Form 941X.This form is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim credit in advance. Businesses can claim credit in advance by reducing their quarterly deposits for employment tax.For this to happen, businesses will need to submit IRS Form 7200 – Advance Payment of Taxes and Employer Credits.
- Businesses can also reduce the quarterly employment tax deposit by the amount that they expect to get.To do so, businesses must fill out Form 941 at the IRS. They will need to indicate how much credit they intend to reduce.
- Businesses who have already paid employment taxes may request a credit refund by filing IRS Form 941X.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double Dipping with Other Relief Programs
The amount of the ERC is calculated by multiplying the qualified wages paid to employees by the applicable credit rate.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.For example, businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that are also used to claim the Paid Family and Medical Leave Credit or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documentation
Businesses should maintain detailed records of the wages they paid to their employees during the ERC.This will assist businesses in accurately calculating the amount they are entitled for as well as supporting their claim if the IRS audits it. Employee Retention Credit Reinstatement
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- Keep a copy of all records of your payroll, including the W-2 and Form 941.
- Keep track of every employee’s hours, including sick time, holiday, and vacation.
- Keep track of the wages you pay to your employees. This includes base wage, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- 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).Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants closed 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
- Donations of nonprofit organizations declined
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism companies
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons, spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses who are required to implement new safety standards and protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result COVID-19
The ERC may also be available to businesses that were suspended or partially by government orders or experienced a substantial decline in gross revenues due to COVID-19. Employee Retention Credit Reinstatement
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- An employee of a restaurant forced to close down by government order for a few months was able to continue to be paid through the ERC.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because 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.You can get help from a tax professional to determine your eligibility for the ERC and claim it if eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, there are scammers who are trying to take advantage of businesses that are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).These scammers might use aggressive advertising tactics to convince businesses that they should sign up for their service, even though the business may not be eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. Employee Retention Credit Reinstatement
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- Some companies will ask for personal 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.You can report this activity by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
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’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.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 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 Reinstatement
What is the ERC?
It is a refundable tax credit available to businesses that were impacted 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 to apply for ERC?
Eligible business for the ERC includes those who suffered a significant reduction in gross receipts due to government order caused by COVID-19.
What is a qualified wage?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
Health insurance premiums paid by the employer are also considered qualified 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 need to repay the ERC?
No, it is a refundable credit.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify 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?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
It is important to note that there are additional requirements for claiming the tax credit.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Credit calculation error
- All wages are not included
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.