COVID-19, a pandemic that has affected businesses of all types and sizes, has forced many to either lay off staff or close their business.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.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.To find out more about ERC and to claim, you can either visit the IRS web site, speak with an advisor, or check 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 Tax Credit Cares Act;
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.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted 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 outbreak caused an economic slump that led many businesses, including small and large ones, to either lay off staff or shut down.The ERC is designed to help keep businesses open and their employees working so that they can resume normal operations as soon as the pandemic subsides.
ERCs can give businesses impacted by pandemics a financial boost.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are 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 Cares Act;
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
It is estimated that the ERC has saved more than 10 million jobs, and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from shutting their doors.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
The decline in gross revenues test is the major difference between the ERC 2020 and ERC 2021 requirements.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.
Two ways exist for businesses to qualify for the ERC:
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- 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.
Here are some examples and scenarios to illustrate each eligibility criterion:
Full or partial suspension by government order
- A restaurant that is forced to close due to a government order is eligible for the ERC.
- ERC eligibility is granted to a gym that must operate at a lower capacity as a result of a government order relating to COVID-19.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC eligibility is granted to retail stores who experience a sales decline of 50% due to COVID-19.
- ERC can be awarded to a manufacturer who cannot operate at full capability due to disruptions to the supply chain.
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 credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $10,000 per employee.This means that a business could receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee for 2020.
For the three first quarters of the year 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of the wages qualified to be paid. There is a limit of $10,000 per employee per quarter.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
Claim your Credit
How to Claim ERC for Federal Employment Tax Returns
To claim the Employee-Retention Credit (ERC), businesses must file a Form 941-941-X, Adjusted Employer Quarterly Federal Tax return or Claim of Refund.This form may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.Businesses must submit Form 7200 to the IRS, Advance Payments of Employer Taxes and Credits.
- Reduce employment tax deposits: Businesses can also reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount of the credit they expect to receive.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- 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 Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying qualified wages by the credit rate applicable, the ERC can be calculated.Credit rate is set at 50% for 2020 and 70% for the three first quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with other relief programs.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 keep detailed records of all qualified wages paid to employees during the ERC period.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 Cares Act;
Here are some tips for recordkeeping and documentation:
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track of every employee’s hours, including sick time, holiday, and vacation.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of any orders from the government that may affect your business.
The IRS offers a number of resources that can help businesses claim their ERC. These include FAQs, factsheets, and videos.Businesses can also call 1-800-829-1040 to get help from the IRS.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses affected by the COVID-19 virus can claim an Employee Retention credit (ERC).Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result COVID-19
In addition to these examples, any business that was fully or partially suspended by a government order or that experienced a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the ERC. Employee Retention Tax Credit Cares Act;
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- 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.
- ERC was used by a manufacturer that could not operate at full capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain to keep employees employed and continue production of 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.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, 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
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Employee Retention Tax Credit Cares Act;
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting 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.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.Don’t give out your personal details to anyone who contacts without asking.If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a business, you can look at their online reviews or ask for help from the IRS.
We have covered the Employees Retention (ERC) Credit in this article. This is a tax credit program that helps employers who qualify to retain their staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.We have discussed eligibility requirements, claiming processes, and possible scams related the ERC.
We have also provided tips and resources on recordkeeping and documentation.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.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Employee Retention Tax Credit Cares Act;
What is ERC?
This is a tax credit that can be refunded to businesses who were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This credit equals 50% of the qualified wages that employees received in 2020, and 70% of the qualified wages they receive in the first quarter of 2021.
Who is eligible for ERC funding?
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 a 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 the ERC?
Businesses can claim ERCs by filing amended Forms 941 or 941-X at 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 if I received a loan from PPP?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary 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 common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Credit calculation error
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.