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 (ERC) Credit is available to businesses that need it.
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 own a small business and have been affected by the pandemic then the ERC will help you to keep your staff on board, as well as your business going.To learn more about the ERC and how to claim it, visit the IRS website, speak with a 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 Tax Credit Expiration
Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit for businesses that can be claimed if they pay employees wages 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.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.To be eligible for the ERC, a company must have had a significant fall in gross receipts and/or have been fully or partial suspended as a result of an COVID-19 government order.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.It can assist businesses in retaining their employees, covering payroll costs, as well as investing in their 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 aims to help companies keep their staff on the payroll in order to quickly reopen after the pandemic is over.
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also be used to retain staff, which is important for a swift recovery.
The ERC, which is a tax credit that is claimed even by businesses who do not owe a dime in taxes, is refundable.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 Tax Credit Expiration
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
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.
The ERC is estimated to have saved over 10 million jobs and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from closing their doors.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
The only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.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 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.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- Significant decline in gross revenues: Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross revenue due to COVID-19 are also eligible for 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.
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- ERC can be awarded to a fitness center that has to operate on a reduced basis due to an order from the government based on COVID-19.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- ERC is available to manufacturers who are unable to run at full capacity because of supply chain disruptions.
Employee Retention Credit is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount varies depending on how many employees are employed and what quarter it is.
In 2020, the credit will be equal to half of all wages that employees are entitled to receive up to $10,000.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
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 that a business could receive a credit of up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for the first three quarters of 2021, for a total of up to $21,000 per employee for the year.
How to Claim the ERC on Federal Employment Tax Returns
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 may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it 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.To do this, business must file IRS Form 7220, Advance Payment for Employer Credits & Taxes.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.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 that already pay their employment taxes to the IRS can request a reimbursement of the credit. To do this, they must file Form 941X.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying the amount of ERC by the credit rate is how the ERC amount is calculated.The credit rate is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three 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 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 Tax Credit Expiration
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 the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- 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 offers a number of resources that can help businesses claim their ERC. These include FAQs, factsheets, and videos.Businesses can also contact the IRS for assistance by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can apply for the Employee Retention Credit.Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations of nonprofit organizations declined
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event business
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that were required to operate at a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that experienced increased costs 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 Tax Credit Expiration
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- A restaurant, which was forced to close due to an order from the government for a period of several months, was able use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- 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 organization that saw its donations decline due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to provide 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.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 use aggressive marketing to convince businesses to subscribe to their services even if that business isn’t eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Employee Retention Tax Credit Expiration
- They do not belong to an organization that is reputable.
- 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.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.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.
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 outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible scams.
We also have some tips and materials for documenting your records.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.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Employee Retention Tax Credit Expiration
What is ERC?
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic can claim a refundable credit.
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 the 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?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
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 have to pay back the ERC?
The ERC is not a tax credit that needs to be repaid.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
The ERC is available to businesses who have taken out a PPP (Paycheck protection Program) loan.
Businesses cannot claim ERCs for wages they also claimed as PPPs.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
However, they must also meet certain additional requirements before they are eligible to claim the benefits.
Are there mistakes that companies make in claiming ERCs?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.