The COVID-19 epidemic has caused havoc in businesses of all sizes. Many have been forced to close or lay off their employees.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain 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’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
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.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.
The Employee Retention CreditHow Is Employee Retention Credit Reported On Tax Return?
Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit for businesses that can be claimed if they pay employees wages during the COVID-19 Pandemic.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.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.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.
The ERC is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.It can help businesses to retain employees, pay for payroll, and invest in the future.
Why was the 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 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 can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.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 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. How Is Employee Retention Credit Reported On Tax Return?
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.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.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 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 an enterprise must have seen a decline in gross revenue of atleast 20% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for 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.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 of gross receipts. A business which has seen a significant fall in its gross receipts because of COVID-19, is also eligible to receive the 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
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- ERC may be available for a gym which is forced to operate at reduced capacity by a COVID-19 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.
- A manufacturer that is unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions is eligible for the ERC.
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a tax-credit that businesses can claim, is for wages paid to qualified employees during the COVID-19 epidemic.The amount varies depending on how many employees are employed and what quarter it is.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This means a company could receive up to a $5,000 credit per employee in 2020.
Credits are equal to 70% of qualified wages for the first 3 quarters of 2020, with a maximum per employee of $10,000.For the first 3 quarters in 2021, an employer could receive up to $7,000 per employee each quarter. That’s up $21,000 per worker for the whole year.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing 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 be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
There are three options available to businesses for claiming ERC:
- Claim it in advance. Businesses are able to claim the credit before the quarter’s end by reducing quarterly employment taxes.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- 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 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.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to other relief programs.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 allow businesses to calculate accurately the amount of credit they are entitled to and support their claim in the event that it is audited. How Is Employee Retention Credit Reported On Tax Return?
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- Keep a record of all your payroll documents, such as W-2 forms and 941s.
- 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 government orders affecting 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 the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- Retail stores which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- 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 shops selling non-essential items
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses who are required to implement new safety standards and protocols
- 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. How Is Employee Retention Credit Reported On Tax Return?
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their 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.
- 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 allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- An organization that had seen its donations drop due to COVID-19 could use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll and continue to offer essential services.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.They can assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers can use aggressive marketing strategies to convince companies to sign-up for their services even when they are not eligible to receive the 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.
- The fees are high, or they take a large percentage of the refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. How Is Employee Retention Credit Reported On Tax Return?
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC scammer, you should report the activity to the 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.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.If you are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
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 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 offers employers a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities, improve cash flow and support the workforce.If you qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
How Is Employee Retention Credit Reported On Tax Return?
What is ERC?
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic can claim a refundable credit.
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 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?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
All wages that are qualified include health insurance premiums paid to the employer.
How do you claim your ERC?
The IRS will accept amended Forms 941 and 941-X from businesses to claim the ERC.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I have to repay my 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?
You can still claim an ERC even though you received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self employed individuals claim ERC benefits?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for the ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
What are the common mistakes businesses make when they claim ERC?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline