COVID-19, a pandemic that has affected businesses of all types and sizes, has forced many to either lay off staff or close their business.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.The ERC was created to ensure that businesses can continue to pay employees during a pandemic, even if their normal business operations are disrupted.
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 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.
Employee Retention CreditHow Much Is The 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.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.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 is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.It can assist businesses in retaining their employees, covering payroll costs, as well as investing in their future.
Why was ERC formed?
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.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
The ERC is also a refundable credit. This means that businesses are able to claim it, even if there are no taxes 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. How Much Is The Employee Retention Credit
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 businesses weather the storm and stay afloat.
ERC may have prevented the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and saved over 10,000,000 jobs.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and 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 only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.In 2020, an enterprise must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts that is at least 50 percent less than the same period in the previous calendar 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.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- 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.The ERC is available to businesses that have been told to close or operate at reduced capacity.
- 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.A significant decline in gross receipts is defined as a decline of at least 50% in a quarter in 2020 or at least 20% in a quarter in 2021 compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Examples and Scenarios
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
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 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 (ERC) Credit is an income tax credit which businesses can claim in relation to wages that were paid 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, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
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.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
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 by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- Claim it in advance. Businesses are able to claim the credit before the quarter’s end by reducing quarterly employment taxes.To do this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.To do so, businesses must fill out Form 941 at the IRS. They will need to indicate how much credit they intend to reduce.
- 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
The ERC is calculated as the product of the employee’s qualified wage multiplied by the applicable credit rates.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Businesses should avoid double-dipping on 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
Businesses must keep detailed records on all wages paid during the ERC.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 Much Is The Employee Retention Credit
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of all government orders that affect your business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.Businesses can also call 1-800-829-1040 to get help from the IRS.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can apply for the Employee Retention Credit.Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants closed due to government orders
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event business
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to 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 Much Is The Employee Retention Credit
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the ERC.
- A restaurant that had to close its doors for several weeks due to government orders was able, with the ERC, to keep all of its employees employed.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- 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 that saw their donations decrease due to COVID-19, was able to utilize the ERC and keep its employees employed to continue to provide vital services.
If you are an owner of a business and are unsure as to whether you are eligible for ERC, then I would encourage you contact a tax specialist.They can help you to determine your eligibility and to claim the credit if you are eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers use aggressive marketing to convince businesses to subscribe to their services even if that business isn’t eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (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.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. How Much Is The Employee Retention Credit
- They do not belong to an organization that is reputable.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information 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.
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 want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact the IRS.
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.The ERC has been explained in detail, including the eligibility requirements and the claim process.
We have also provided tips and resources on recordkeeping and documentation.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 qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Is The Employee Retention Credit
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 to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees in 2020 and 70% of qualified wages paid to employees in the first three quarters of 2021.
Who can receive the ERC?
Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts or those that were suspended or fully suspended by government orders due to the COVID-19 epidemic are eligible for the ERC.
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 I claim ERC?
The IRS will accept amended Forms 941 and 941-X from businesses to claim the ERC.The amended Form 941 X must be submitted within three years from the original date of Form 941.
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 the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Businesses cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
The Schedule C can be used by self-employed individuals to claim the ERC.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations can claim the ERC on their Form 990-T form.
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.
There are a few additional requirements to meet before you can claim the benefit.
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
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline