COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
The ERC is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages paid to employees during the pandemic.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate normally.
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 Tax Credit Canada
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is a refundable credit that businesses may claim on wages paid 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 are available to all businesses, even tax-exempt ones.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.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.It can help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
Why was the ERC created?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe economic downturn, forcing many businesses to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.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.
The ERC is also a refundable credit. This means that businesses are able to claim it, even if there are no taxes due.Businesses can claim ERC for qualified wages paid to employees not working as a result of COVID-19. For example, employees are furloughed from work or quarantined. Employee Retention Tax Credit Canada
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
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 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 main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.In 2020, an enterprise must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts that is at least 50 percent less than the same period in the previous calendar 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.
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 Receipts: An eligible business who has suffered a significant decrease in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 may also be 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
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
Orders from the government can be used to suspend or fully suspend your work.
- A restaurant that is forced to close due to a government order is eligible for the ERC.
- 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 of the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
For 2020, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 2020.
For the first quarters of 2021, the credit equals 70% of wages that are qualified. However, this is limited to $10,000 per quarter per employee.This means a company could receive a credit for up to $7,000 for each employee per quarter in the first three months of 2021. The total for the entire year is up to $21,000.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim the ERC on Federal Employment Tax Returns
Businesses must amend Form 941X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Income Tax Return or Claim For Refund, to claim the Employee retention credit (ERC) in federal employment tax returns.This form can also be filed for any other quarters in which a business may have been eligible for credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.For this to happen, businesses will need to submit IRS Form 7200 – Advance Payment of Taxes and Employer Credits.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- 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.The credit rate is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three quarters of 2021.
Businesses must be cautious to not double dip with other relief programmes.Businesses cannot, for example, claim the ERC on wages they also claim as part of the Paid Family Medical Leave Credit and the 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 Tax Credit Canada
Here are a few tips for documenting and keeping records:
- Keep copies of all payroll records, including Forms 941 and W-2s.
- Keep track of the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of all government orders that 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
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to shut down due to government order
- Retail stores which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and 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 who experienced higher costs 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 Tax Credit Canada
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- A restaurant that had to close its doors for several weeks due to government orders was able, with the ERC, to keep all of its employees employed.
- 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 that saw their donations decrease due to COVID-19, was able to utilize the ERC and keep its employees employed to continue to provide vital services.
You should contact a professional tax advisor if, as a small business owner, you have any doubts about your eligibility for the ERC.They can assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.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 warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They will refund you without looking at 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 Tax Credit Canada
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC fraudster, you must report this activity to the IRS.You can call 1-800-829-1040 for more information or go to the IRS web site.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.If you are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
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 the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
We’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.ERCs are a valuable tool that employers can use to lower their employment tax liability and improve their cash flow. They also help support their workforce.If you are eligible, we encourage to claim credit. Professional assistance may be needed if required.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Employee Retention Tax Credit Canada
What is the ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax credit.
This credit is equal to 50% the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in 2020. And 70% of the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in their first three quarters in 2021.
Who can receive the ERC?
Eligible businesses include those who have seen a significant decrease in gross revenues or have been suspended fully or partly due to government orders resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What are qualified wages?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How do I claim ERC?
The IRS allows businesses to claim ERCs if they file an amended Form 951, or Form 951,-X.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
The ERC, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, individuals who are self-employed can qualify for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC for wages paid to employees of foreign subsidiaries.
However, they must also meet certain additional requirements before they are eligible to claim the benefits.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- Calculation error on credit
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.