The COVID-19 epidemic has caused havoc in businesses of all sizes. Many have been forced to close or lay off their employees.Employee Retention Bonus (ERB) is a way to keep businesses afloat.
The ERC is an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their 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 are a business owner who has been impacted by the pandemic, the ERC can help you keep your employees on board and your business afloat.If you want to know more about the ERC or how to claim it visit the IRS’ website, consult a tax advisor or continue reading 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 To Calculate Qualified Wages For Employee Retention Credit
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees 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.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.To be eligible for the ERC, a company must have had a significant fall in gross receipts and/or have been fully or partial suspended as a result of an COVID-19 government order.
Businesses that have been affected by this pandemic can receive a substantial financial boost from the ERC.It can help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
Why was ERC formed?
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a severe economic recession, forcing many companies to layoff their employees or close 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.
ERC can offer a significant boost in financial support to businesses impacted negatively by the pandemic.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
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 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. How To Calculate Qualified Wages For Employee Retention Credit
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.The ERC also helped to keep businesses afloat through the economic storm.
It is estimated that the ERC has saved more than 10 million jobs, and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from shutting their doors.It also contributed to the recovery of the economy by increasing consumer spending, and investing.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.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 must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 20% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for ERC:
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part due to 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:
Fully or partially suspended by a government order:
- ERC can be claimed by a restaurant forced to shut down due to an order from the government.
- 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 can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- 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 amount of the credit is dependent on the business’s quarter and employees.
For 2020, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 2020.
For the first quarters of 2021, the credit equals 70% of wages that are qualified. However, this is limited to $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.
Claim your Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing Federal Employment Tax Returns
Businesses must amend Form 941X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Income Tax Return or Claim For Refund, to claim the Employee retention credit (ERC) in federal employment tax returns.This form can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Options for Claiming 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 this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- 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 qualified wages by the credit rate applicable, the ERC can be calculated.Credit rate is set at 50% for 2020 and 70% for the three first 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 should keep detailed records of all qualified wages paid to employees during the ERC period.This will enable businesses to accurately determine the amount of credit that they are eligible for, and to back up their claim should it be audited. How To Calculate Qualified Wages For Employee Retention Credit
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- Keep a copy of all records of your payroll, including the W-2 and Form 941.
- Keep track at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- 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.
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 impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to shut down due to government order
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and tourism companies
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses that were required to operate at a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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 To Calculate Qualified Wages For Employee Retention Credit
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- 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.
- A retail store which experienced a drop of 50% in sales due COVID-19 could offset its payroll expenses by using the ERC.
- 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 whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing essential services.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, there are scammers who are trying to take advantage of businesses that are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).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
Here are some warning signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- They promise you will get a refund even if they don’t review your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. How To Calculate Qualified Wages For Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
You should contact the IRS if you receive a call from an ERC scammer.Call 1-800-829-1040 to report the scam or visit the IRS website.
Protecting your financial and personal information is also important.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact 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.The ERC has been explained in detail, including the eligibility requirements and the claim process.
We also have some tips and materials for documenting your records.The ERC offers employers a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities, improve cash flow and support the workforce.If you’re an eligible employer, you should claim the credit. You can also seek professional advice if you need it.
Employee Retention Bonus Frequently Answered Questions
How To Calculate Qualified Wages For Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic can claim a refundable credit.
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 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 is a qualified wage?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
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 need to repay the ERC?
The ERC is not a tax credit that needs to be repaid.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
You can still claim an ERC even though you received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).
Businesses can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, the ERC is available to self-employed people.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- Calculation error on credit
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.