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.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
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 is a great way to keep your employees engaged and your business running smoothly if you’re a business owner impacted by the pandemic.If you want to know more about the ERC or how to claim it visit the IRS’ website, consult a tax advisor or continue reading 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 Help
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.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.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.To be eligible, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or have been fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related government order.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC formed?
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.
ERC can offer a significant boost in financial support to businesses impacted negatively 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 also claim the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Employee Retention Tax Credit Help
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 may have prevented the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and saved over 10,000,000 jobs.It has also contributed towards the economic recovery through a boost in consumer spending and investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or have been fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related government order.
The only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.In 2020 a business’s gross receipts must have declined by at least 50% from the same quarterly period of 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.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- ERC eligibility for businesses suspended or suspended partially by a government.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- Significant decline in gross receipts: A business that has experienced a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the ERC.Significant decline in Gross Receipts: A business that has experienced a significant decline in its gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the ERC.
Examples and Scenarios
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- 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 may be available for a retailer that suffers a drop of 50% in sales caused by COVID-19.
- ERC eligibility is for a manufacturer who is not able to operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain.
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is an income tax credit which businesses can claim in relation to wages that were paid during the COVID-19 Pandemic.The amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
Credits for 2020 are equal to 50% the qualified wages paid by employees, up to a maximum amount of $10,000 per employee.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 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.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
How to Claim the ERC when Filing 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.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim the credit ahead of time: Businesses may claim the credit by reducing the quarterly employment tax deposit.To do this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.To do so, businesses must fill out Form 941 at the IRS. They will need to indicate how much credit they intend to reduce.
- Request a Refund: Businesses who have already paid their Employment Taxes can request to receive a refund for the credit by submitting Form 941X to 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 ERC for wages used to claim 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 allow businesses to calculate accurately the amount of credit they are entitled to and support their claim in the event that it is audited. Employee Retention Tax Credit Help
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track of all hours worked by employees, including vacation, sick, and holiday time.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the business.
The IRS provides a variety of resources to help businesses claim the ERC, including FAQs, fact sheets, and videos.Businesses can contact IRS for help 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.Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants closed due to government orders
- Retail stores that experienced a significant decline in sales
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement new safety protocols
- Costs increased for businesses due to COVID-19
These examples are not the only ones that qualify. Any business that has been suspended in whole or part by an order of government or that has seen a decline in gross sales due to COVID-19 could also be eligible. Employee Retention Tax Credit Help
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the ERC.
- A restaurant that was forced to close for several months due to a government order was able to use the ERC to keep its 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.
- 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 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.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re 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).Scammers will use aggressive marketing techniques to get businesses to sign up, even if they are not eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Employee Retention Tax Credit Help
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
If you have been contacted by an ERC scammer , you should notify the IRS .Call 1-800-829-1040 to report the scam or visit the IRS website.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.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, the Employee Retention credit (ERC) is discussed. It’s a tax relief program that helps eligible employers retain their employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.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 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 Help
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 to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees in 2020 and 70% of qualified wages paid to employees in the first three quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible for ERC funding?
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 is qualified wage?
Qualified wages include wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses paid to employees.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of wages.
How can I claim my ERC?
Businesses can claim the ERC by filing an amended Form 941 or Form 941-X with the IRS.The amended 941-X form must be filed in three years following the original 941 filing date.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
The ERC does not require repayment by businesses. It is a tax credit that can be used to offset future taxes.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
The ERC is available to businesses who have taken out a PPP (Paycheck protection Program) loan.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self employed individuals claim ERC benefits?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
There are a few additional requirements to meet before you can claim the benefit.
What are the common mistakes businesses make when they claim ERC?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Wrong calculation on credit
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.