The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
It is a refundable credit that can be claimed by employers on certain wages paid to employees in the event of a pandemic.It’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
The ERC can be very helpful to business owners who have been impacted. It will keep employees motivated and help your business stay afloat.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 CreditHelp With 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 established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in March 2020 in order to help businesses retain their employees, even if it meant they could not operate normally.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.For a business to be eligible, it must have suffered a significant decrease in gross revenues or been partially or completely suspended by a government order related to COVID-19.
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 triggered a severe economic recession, forcing many companies to layoff their employees or close down.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 can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are due.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. Help With Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.The ERC also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as investment.
The only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.In order to qualify for the 2020 ERC, businesses must have had a substantial decline in gross revenues of at least half compared with the same quarter last 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
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.Businesses that are required to close down, operate with a reduced capacity or adhere to certain restrictions can be eligible for the 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 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 may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- The ERC is available to gyms that are required to operate with a reduced capacity because of a COVID-19-related government order.
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 (ERC) Credit is an income tax credit which businesses can claim in relation to wages that were paid during the COVID-19 Pandemic.The credit amount varies according to the quarter and number of employees of a business.
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.For the first three-quarters of 2021, a business can receive up to $7,000 in credit per employee. This could amount to up to $21,000 for each employee.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim 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 is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.Businesses must submit Form 7200 to the IRS, Advance Payments of Employer Taxes and Credits.
- Businesses can also reduce the quarterly employment tax deposit by the amount that they expect to get.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- Businesses who have already paid employment taxes may request a credit refund by filing IRS Form 941X.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.The credit rate is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with other relief programs.Businesses cannot, for example, claim the ERC on wages they also claim as part of the Paid Family Medical Leave Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documenation
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. Help With Employee Retention Credit
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- Keep a copy of all records of your payroll, including the W-2 and Form 941.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Keep track of any orders from the government that may affect your business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.Businesses can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses affected by the COVID-19 virus can claim an Employee Retention credit (ERC).Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Donations of nonprofit organizations declined
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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. Help With Employee Retention Credit
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- An employee of a restaurant forced to close down by government order for a few months was able to continue to be paid through the ERC.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- 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 own a company and are not sure if you are eligible, I recommend that you contact a qualified tax professional.They can assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers might use aggressive advertising tactics to convince businesses that they should sign up for their service, even though the business may not be eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- The company promises to give you a full refund without reviewing any of your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- Sales tactics are high-pressure. Help With Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.You can do this by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.You should not provide your personal information to anyone contacting you uninvited.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 have also provided tips and resources on recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC can be a valuable benefit for employers, helping them reduce their employment taxes, improve their cashflow, and support their employees.If you qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
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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 50% of qualified wage paid to employees for 2020 and 70% qualified wage paid to employees during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Who can receive the ERC?
Eligible businesses for the ERC include those who experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or were fully or partially suspended due to government orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is qualified wage?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
Health insurance premiums paid by the employer are also considered qualified wages.
How do I claim 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?
The ERC, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC even if they received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program).
Businesses cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Credit calculation error
- All wages are not included
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.