The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.The Employee Retention Credit can be a lifeline for businesses struggling to stay afloat.
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.
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.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.
Employee Retention CreditForbes Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), also known as the Employee Retention Tax Credit, is a refundable tax credit that employers can claim for qualifying wages paid to their employees during COVID-19.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.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.To qualify, the business must have seen a significant reduction in gross sales or be suspended fully or partly due to an order from the government related to COVID-19.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC created?
The COVID-19 epidemic caused a severe downturn in the economy, which forced many businesses to close or lay off their employees.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.
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 can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are due.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. Forbes Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC has helped to keep millions of Americans employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
It is estimated that the ERC has saved more than 10 million jobs, and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from shutting their doors.The ERC has also helped to boost consumer spending and investments, which have contributed to economic recovery.
The decline in gross revenues test is the major difference between the ERC 2020 and ERC 2021 requirements.In 2020, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 50% compared to the same quarter in the previous 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
- Fully or partially suspended by a government order: A business that has been fully or partially suspended by a government order due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.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.Significant declines in revenue are defined as a decrease of at minimum 50% in 2020 quarters or at most 20% in 2021 quarters compared to same quarters the year before.
Examples and Scenarios
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC can be claimed by a restaurant forced to shut down due to an order from the government.
- 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 may be available for a retailer that suffers a drop of 50% in sales caused by COVID-19.
- A manufacturer that is unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions is eligible for the ERC.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount varies depending on how many employees are employed and what quarter it is.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $10,000 per employee.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 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.
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
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 have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- 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.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- 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 Credit Amount and Avoiding Double Dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.Credit rate is set at 50% for 2020 and 70% for the three first quarters of 2021.
Businesses must be cautious to not double dip with other relief programmes.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 keep detailed records of all qualified wages paid to employees during the ERC period.This will assist businesses in accurately calculating the amount they are entitled for as well as supporting their claim if the IRS audits it. Forbes Employee Retention Credit
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- Keep copies of all payroll records, including Forms 941 and W-2s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of all the wages that employees receive, including overtime, bonuses, and base wages.
- Keep track of all government orders that 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 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.These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons & spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Costs incurred by businesses as a result of 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. Forbes Employee Retention Credit
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized 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.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- The ERC allowed a manufacturer who was not able to operate at its full capacity because of supply chain disruptions to continue producing essential goods and keep their employees on the payroll.
- A nonprofit organization whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing essential 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.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify 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
These warning signs will help you identify possible ERC scammers.
- They promise you will get a refund even if they don’t review your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. Forbes Employee Retention Credit
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC scammer, you should report the 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.Do not give your personal information to anyone who contacts you unsolicited.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 the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
Also, we have provided some resources and tips for documenting and keeping records.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 Bonus Frequently Answered Questions
Forbes Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses. A refundable tax credit is available.
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 business for the ERC includes those who suffered a significant reduction in gross receipts due to government order caused by COVID-19.
What is qualified wage?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How can I claim my ERC?
Businesses can claim ERCs by filing amended Forms 941 or 941-X at the IRS.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 repay my ERC?
No, it is a refundable credit.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
You can still claim an ERC even though you received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).
Businesses can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
The Schedule C can be used by self-employed individuals to claim the ERC.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Calculation error on credit
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.