The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
The ERC is an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their 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 is a great way to keep your employees engaged and your business running smoothly if you’re a business owner impacted by the pandemic.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 CreditFlorida Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is a refundable credit that businesses may claim on wages paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.It was created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in March 2020, to help companies keep their employees, despite being unable operate 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.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 was created to help businesses keep their employees on payroll so that they could quickly reopen and resume normal operations once the pandemic subsided.
ERCs can give businesses impacted by pandemics a financial boost.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick recovery.
The ERC is a refundable tax credit, meaning that businesses can claim it even if they do not owe any taxes.Businesses can also claim ERC for wages paid by employers to employees who do not work due to COVID-19. Examples include employees who were furloughed and quarantined. Florida Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.The ERC also helped to keep businesses afloat through the economic storm.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.In 2020, the business must have seen a decline of gross receipts by at least 50% in comparison to the same quarter the year before.In 2021, the business must have suffered from a significant fall in gross sales of at least 20% when compared to same quarter in previous year.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part due to COVID-19.This includes businesses that have been ordered to close, operate at a reduced capacity, or follow certain restrictions.
- 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 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
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- ERC can be claimed by a restaurant forced to shut down due to an order from the government.
- A gym that is required to operate at a reduced capacity due to a COVID-19-related government order is eligible for the ERC.
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.
- 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 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.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
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.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC for Federal Employment Tax Returns
To claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) on federal employment tax returns, businesses must file an amended Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund.This form can also be filed for any other quarters in which a business may have been eligible for credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- Claim the credit ahead of time: Businesses may claim the credit by reducing the quarterly employment tax deposit.For this to happen, businesses will need to submit IRS Form 7200 – Advance Payment of Taxes and Employer Credits.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- 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
The amount of the ERC is calculated by multiplying the qualified wages paid to employees by the applicable credit rate.The credit rates for 2020 are 50% and 70% in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.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 keep detailed records of all qualified wages paid to employees during the ERC period.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. Florida Employee Retention Credit
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of every employee’s hours, including sick time, holiday, and vacation.
- 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.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.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.Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- 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
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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. Florida Employee Retention Credit
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used the ERC:
- 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 can be used by a producer who is unable operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions of the supply chain. This allows them to keep their employees and continue producing essential products.
- 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.
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
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.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
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Florida Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
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.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.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.
In this article, we have discussed the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a tax relief program that helps eligible employers keep their employees on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.We have discussed the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC offers employers a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities, improve cash flow and support the 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
Florida Employee Retention Credit
What is 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 companies for the ERC are those businesses that experienced a significant fall in gross sales or were partially or completely suspended because of government orders triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
What are qualified wages?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How do I claim ERC?
The IRS will accept amended Forms 941 and 941-X from businesses to claim the ERC.The amended form 941-X is required to be filed within 3 years from the date that the original Form 941 has been filed.
Do I have to pay back the ERC?
No, the ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that businesses do not need to repay it.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC even if they received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program).
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, the ERC is available to self-employed people.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible to claim the ERC when filing their Forms 990-T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- Credit calculation error
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline