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 an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their employees during the pandemic.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate 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.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 CreditIs Employee Retention Credit Legit
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.It was created in March of 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to help employers keep their workers on the payroll, despite the fact that they may not have been able to operate normally.
ERCs are available to all businesses, even tax-exempt ones.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 to retain employees, pay for payroll, and invest in the future.
Why was ERC created
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe economic downturn, forcing many businesses to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.The ERC aims to help companies keep their staff on the payroll in order to quickly reopen after the pandemic is over.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick recovery.
The ERC, which is a tax credit that is claimed even by businesses who do not owe a dime in taxes, is refundable.Businesses may also claim ERCs on qualified wages for employees who cannot work because of COVID-19. These employees include those who are furloughed. Is Employee Retention Credit Legit
The Impact of the ERC in the Business and Economy
The ERC has helped to keep millions of Americans employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.The ERC also helped to keep businesses afloat through the economic storm.
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 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 a business’s gross receipts must have declined by at least 50% from the same quarterly period of the previous year.In 2021, the business must have suffered from a significant fall in gross sales of at least 20% when compared to same quarter in previous year.
Business can qualify in two ways for the 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.The ERC is available to businesses that have been told to close or operate at reduced capacity.
- 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
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- The ERC is available to gyms that are required to operate with a reduced capacity because of a COVID-19-related 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 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.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 2020.
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 that a business could receive a credit of up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for the first three quarters of 2021, for a total of up to $21,000 per employee for the year.
Claim your Credit
How to Claim ERC for 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 submitted for any quarter where the business was entitled to the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- Businesses can also reduce the quarterly employment tax deposit by the amount that they expect to get.To do so, businesses must fill out Form 941 at the IRS. They will need to indicate how much credit they intend to reduce.
- Businesses can ask for a refund if they have already paid the employment tax. They should file Form 941-X at 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.
Businesses should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.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 detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over the ERC.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. Is Employee Retention Credit Legit
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 any orders from the government that may affect 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
Businesses affected by the COVID-19 virus can claim an Employee Retention credit (ERC).Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event business
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses that were required to operate at a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Costs increased for businesses 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. Is Employee Retention Credit Legit
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used the ERC:
- 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 which experienced a drop of 50% in sales due COVID-19 could offset its payroll expenses by using the ERC.
- ERC allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- A nonprofit organization that saw its donations decline due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to provide essential 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 help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.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
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Is Employee Retention Credit Legit
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- The first thing they ask you for is your personal and financial information.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
You should contact the IRS if you receive a call from an ERC scammer.You can call 1-800-829-1040 for more information or go to the IRS web site.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.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.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 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.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Is Employee Retention Credit Legit
What is ERC?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses. A refundable tax credit is available.
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 apply for the ERC program?
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 are qualified wages?
Qualified wages include wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses paid to employees.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How can I claim my 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?
No, the ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that businesses do not need to repay it.
Can I claim the ERC if I 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, 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?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign 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?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Credit calculation error
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend form 941 – X on time.