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).
The ERC allows businesses to claim a tax credit on wages paid during a 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.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 CreditHow Does Employee Retention Credit Work?
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.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.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.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 ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their 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 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.
The ERC is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are due.Businesses may also claim ERCs on qualified wages for employees who cannot work because of COVID-19. These employees include those who are furloughed. How Does Employee Retention Credit Work?
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
The ERC is estimated to have saved over 10 million jobs and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from closing their doors.The ERC has also helped to boost consumer spending and investments, which have contributed to economic recovery.
The main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.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 organization must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts by at least 20% from the same quarter the year before.
The ERC is available to businesses in two different ways.
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- 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
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 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 eligibility is granted to retail stores who experience a sales decline of 50% due to COVID-19.
- ERC eligibility is for a manufacturer who is not able to operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain.
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 of the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
The credit for the first three quarters of 2021 is 70% of the qualified wages paid by employees. This maximum amount per employee per quarter is $10,000.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
To claim the Employee-Retention Credit (ERC), businesses must file a Form 941-941-X, Adjusted Employer Quarterly Federal Tax return or Claim of Refund.This form can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
There are three options available to businesses for claiming ERC:
- Claim credit in advance. Businesses can claim credit in advance by reducing their quarterly deposits for employment tax.To do this, business must file IRS Form 7220, Advance Payment for Employer Credits & Taxes.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- Request a refund: Businesses that have already paid their employment taxes can request a refund of the credit by filing Form 941-X with the IRS.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double Dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying qualified wages by the credit rate applicable, the ERC can be calculated.The credit rate is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three quarters of 2021.
Businesses should avoid double-dipping on other relief programs.For example, businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that are also used to claim the Paid Family and Medical Leave Credit or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documentation
Businesses must keep detailed records on all wages paid during the ERC.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. How Does Employee Retention Credit Work?
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- Keep track of the wages you pay to your employees. This includes base wage, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
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.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Costs incurred by businesses as a result of COVID-19
The ERC may also be available to businesses that were suspended or partially by government orders or experienced a substantial decline in gross revenues due to COVID-19. How Does Employee Retention Credit Work?
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used the ERC:
- The ERC allowed a restaurant to retain its staff after it was forced to shut down for several months by government order.
- The ERC was used by a retail store to offset payroll costs after it experienced a 50% drop in sales as a result 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.
- The ERC allowed a nonprofit organization to continue providing essential services despite a decline in donations due to COVID-19.
You should contact a professional tax advisor if, as a small business owner, you have any doubts about your eligibility for the ERC.They can help you to determine your eligibility and to claim the credit if you are eligible.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, there are scammers that try to take advantage business owners who are eligible for Employee Retention Credits (ERC).These scammers may use aggressive marketing tactics to try to convince businesses to sign up for their services, even if the business is not eligible for the 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.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. How Does Employee Retention Credit Work?
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
It is important to safeguard your personal and financial data.Do not give your personal information to anyone who contacts you unsolicited.If you are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
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 explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
We have also provided some tips and resources for 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’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
How Does Employee Retention Credit Work?
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 in value to 50% of wages qualified to be paid in 2020. It is also equal in value to 70% of wages qualified to be paid in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Who can apply for the ERC program?
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.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How do I claim the ERC?
Businesses can claim the ERC by filing an amended Form 941 or Form 941-X with 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 does not require repayment by businesses. It is a tax credit that can be used to offset future taxes.
Can I claim ERC even if I have 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?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
It is important to note that there are additional requirements for claiming the tax credit.
What are the common mistakes businesses make when they claim ERC?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.