The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.Employee Retention Bonus (ERB) is a way to keep businesses afloat.
The ERC allows businesses to claim a tax credit on wages paid during a pandemic.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate normally.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.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 CreditIrs Notice 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.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.
The ERC is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC created?
The COVID-19 Pandemic caused an economic downturn that forced many businesses either to layoff employees or shut their doors.The ERC was created to help businesses keep their employees on payroll so that they could quickly reopen and resume normal operations once the pandemic subsided.
Benefits of the ERC
ERCs can give businesses impacted by pandemics a financial boost.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are due.Businesses can also claim the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Irs Notice Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.It also helped businesses weather the storm and stay 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 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 2020, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 50% compared to the same quarter in 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.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- 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.This includes businesses that have been ordered to close, operate at a reduced capacity, or follow certain restrictions.
- 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 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.
Fully or partially suspended by a government order:
- A restaurant that is forced to close due to a government order is eligible for the ERC.
- 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 may be available for a retailer that suffers a drop of 50% in sales caused by 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 is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
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.
For the three first quarters of the year 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of the wages qualified to be paid. There is a limit of $10,000 per employee per quarter.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.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim the ERC on 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.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options for claiming the ERC:
- Claim it in advance. Businesses are able to claim the credit before the quarter’s end by reducing quarterly employment taxes.For this to happen, businesses will need to submit IRS Form 7200 – Advance Payment of Taxes and Employer Credits.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- Businesses that already pay their employment taxes to the IRS can request a reimbursement of the credit. To do this, they must file Form 941X.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
The amount of the ERC is calculated by multiplying the qualified wages paid to employees by the applicable credit rate.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with other relief programs.For example, businesses can’t claim the ERC if they are also claiming the Paid Family Leave Credit or 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 assist businesses in accurately calculating the amount they are entitled for as well as supporting their claim if the IRS audits it. Irs Notice 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 at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the business.
The IRS offers a number of resources that can help businesses claim their ERC. These include FAQs, factsheets, and videos.Businesses can also contact the IRS for assistance 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.The following are examples of businesses that may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC):
- Restaurants closed due to government orders
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Nonprofit organizations that saw their donations decline
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons & spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses who are required to implement new safety standards and protocols
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to 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. Irs Notice Employee Retention Credit
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- A restaurant, which was forced to close due to an order from the government for a period of several months, was able use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll.
- A retail store that experienced a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to offset its payroll costs.
- A manufacturer that was unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to produce essential goods.
- 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.
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 determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
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.
Warning Signs and Red Flags
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. Irs Notice Employee Retention Credit
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details 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.Call 1-800-829-1040 to report the scam or visit the IRS website.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts 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.
Also, we have provided some resources and tips for documenting and keeping records.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 Bonus Frequently Answered Questions
Irs Notice 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 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 is eligible to apply for ERC?
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 you claim your 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 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?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Businesses cannot claim ERCs for wages they also claimed as PPPs.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, individuals who are self-employed can qualify for the ERC.
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 with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for wages paid by foreign subsidiaries to their employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there mistakes that companies make in claiming ERCs?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Credit calculation error
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.