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 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 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.Visit the IRS website to learn more about ERCs and how you can claim them. You can also speak with a tax adviser or read the following.
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 CreditFree Employee Retention Credit Filing
Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit for businesses that can be claimed if they pay employees wages during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020 to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, even if they were unable to operate normally.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.A business must be eligible if it has experienced a significant drop in gross receipts, or if they have been suspended or fully suspended because of a COVID-19 related government order.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.It can help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
Why was the ERC created?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe economic downturn, forcing many businesses to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.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.
The ERC is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.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 ERC for qualified wages paid to employees not working as a result of COVID-19. For example, employees are furloughed from work or quarantined. Free Employee Retention Credit Filing
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.It also helped businesses weather the storm and stay 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 also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can be claimed by businesses that have suffered a decline in gross sales or been suspended because of a COVID-19 government order.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.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 a business will have to experience a significant decrease in gross revenues of at least 20 percent compared with the same quarter last 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 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 gross receipts are defined as a drop of at least 50% or 20% from the same quarter last year.
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- 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:
- A retail store that experiences a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
Employee Retention Credit is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in the COVID-19 pandemic.The credit amount varies according to the quarter and number of employees of a business.
In 2020, the credit will be equal to half of all wages that employees are entitled to receive up to $10,000.This means a company could receive up to a $5,000 credit per employee in 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.This means a company could receive a credit for up to $7,000 for each employee per quarter in the first three months of 2021. The total for the entire year is up to $21,000.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
For businesses to claim Employee Retention Credit on federal employment taxes, they must amend Form 941X – Adjusted Employer’s quarterly Federal Tax Return (or Claim for refund) – in order to do so, they will need to file Form 941X.This form is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- Claim credit in advance. Businesses can claim credit in advance by reducing their quarterly deposits for employment tax.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- 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.The credit rates for 2020 are 50% and 70% in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with 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
Keep detailed records for all wages that were paid to employees in the ERC period.This will help businesses to accurately calculate the amount of the credit they are eligible for and to support their claim if it is audited by the IRS. Free Employee Retention Credit Filing
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 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 provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants closed due to government orders
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Supply chain disruptions prevent manufacturers from operating at full capacity
- Nonprofit organizations that saw their donations decline
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Costs increased for businesses due to COVID-19
Aside from these examples, businesses that have been fully or partly suspended by a government directive or who have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC. Free Employee Retention Credit Filing
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used 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.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- 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.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.
Warning Signs and Red Flags
These warning signs will help you identify possible ERC scammers.
- The company promises to give you a full refund without reviewing any of your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Free Employee Retention Credit Filing
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- 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 call 1-800-829-1040 for more information or go to the IRS web site.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.If you’re not sure if a company is legit or not, you should check reviews online. You can also contact the IRS.
This article has discussed the Employee retention credit (ERC), which is a tax relief that allows eligible employers to keep their employees employed 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.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.If you’re an eligible employer, you should claim the credit. You can also seek professional advice if you need it.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Free Employee Retention Credit Filing
What is the ERC?
It is a refundable tax credit available to businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This credit is equal 50% of qualified wage paid to employees for 2020 and 70% qualified wage paid to employees during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible to apply for ERC?
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 are qualified wages?
Salary, wages, bonuses, and tips are all considered to be wages.
All wages that are qualified include health insurance premiums paid to the employer.
How do I claim 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 pay back the ERC?
No, it is a refundable credit.
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 can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self employed individuals claim ERC benefits?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can nonprofit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC for wages paid to employees of foreign subsidiaries.
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:
- Wrong calculation on credit
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.