COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
It is a refundable credit that can be claimed by employers on certain wages paid to employees in the event of a 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 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.
Employee Retention CreditNon Refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is a refundable credit that businesses may claim on wages paid 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.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.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 can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can be used to help businesses keep their employees, cover their payroll costs and invest for the future.
Why was ERC formed?
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.
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 can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are 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. Non Refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
ERC may have prevented the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and saved over 10,000,000 jobs.The ERC has also helped to boost consumer spending and investments, which have contributed to economic recovery.
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 main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.In order to qualify for the 2020 ERC, businesses must have had a substantial decline in gross revenues of at least half compared with the same quarter last 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.
Business can qualify in two ways for the ERC
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part due to COVID-19.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- 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
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- 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 can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- ERC is available to manufacturers who are unable to run at full capacity because of supply chain disruptions.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), is a credit for businesses that can be claimed on qualified wages paid by employers to their employees during COVID-19.The credit amount varies according to the quarter and number of employees of a business.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $10,000 per employee.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
For the first three quarters of 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of qualified wages paid to employees, up to a maximum of $10,000 per quarter per employee.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 the Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing Federal Employment Tax Returns
Businesses that wish to claim the Employee Retention credit (ERC), on their federal employment tax returns must use Form 941-X, Revised Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return, or Claim for Refund.This form may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim credit in advance. Businesses can claim credit in advance by reducing their quarterly deposits for employment tax.Businesses must submit Form 7200 to the IRS, Advance Payments of Employer Taxes and Credits.
- Businesses can also reduce the quarterly employment tax deposit by the amount that they expect to get.To do this, businesses must file Form 941 with the IRS and indicate the amount of the credit they are reducing their deposits by.
- Request a Refund: Businesses who have already paid their Employment Taxes can request to receive a refund for the credit by submitting Form 941X to the IRS.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit 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.The credit rate for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
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 should keep detailed records of all qualified wages paid to employees during the ERC period.This will help businesses to accurately calculate the amount of the credit they are eligible for and to support their claim if it is audited by the IRS. Non Refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit
Here are some tips for recordkeeping and documentation:
- Keep a record of all your payroll documents, such as W-2 forms and 941s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of all the wages that employees receive, including overtime, bonuses, and base wages.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
The IRS provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Supply chain disruptions prevent manufacturers from operating at full capacity
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism companies
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses who are required to implement new safety standards and 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. Non Refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- The ERC allowed a restaurant to retain its staff after it was forced to shut down for several months by government order.
- 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.
- 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 help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible 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
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. Non Refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
If you are contacted by an ERC scammer, you should report the activity to the IRS.You can report this activity by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.Do not give your personal information to anyone who contacts you unsolicited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact the IRS.
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 discussed the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
We have also provided tips and resources on recordkeeping and documentation.ERCs are a valuable tool that employers can use to lower their employment tax liability and improve their cash flow. They also help support their workforce.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Non Refundable Employee Retention Tax 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% the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in 2020. And 70% of the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in their first three quarters in 2021.
Who is eligible for the ERC?
Eligible business for the ERC includes those who suffered a significant reduction in gross receipts due to government order caused by COVID-19.
What is a qualified wage?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of wages.
How do I claim ERC?
The IRS allows businesses to claim ERCs if they file an amended Form 951, or Form 951,-X.The amended Form 941X must be filed no later than three years after the original Form 941.
Do I have to pay back the 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 if I received a loan from PPP?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
It is important to note that there are additional requirements for claiming the tax credit.
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
- Calculation error on credit
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend form 941 – X on time.