COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay 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.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.For more information on the ERC and how to apply for it, you can visit the IRS site, talk with a professional 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 CreditNorth Carolina 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.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.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.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 provides a financial boost for businesses that are affected by 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 outbreak caused an economic slump that led many businesses, including small and large ones, to either lay off staff or shut down.The ERC aims to help companies keep their staff on the payroll in order to quickly reopen after the pandemic is over.
The ERC is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick recovery.
The ERC is a refundable tax credit, meaning that businesses can claim it even if they do not owe any taxes.Businesses may also claim ERCs on qualified wages for employees who cannot work because of COVID-19. These employees include those who are furloughed. North Carolina Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
ERC was estimated to have saved 10 million jobs and prevented thousands of businesses from closing.It has also contributed towards the economic recovery through a boost in 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 main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.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 is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.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 gross receipts are defined as a drop of at least 50% or 20% from the same quarter last year.
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
Orders from the government can be used to suspend or fully suspend your work.
- 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 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.
Credits for 2020 are equal to 50% the qualified wages paid by employees, up to a maximum amount of $10,000 per employee.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
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.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC on Federal Employment Tax Returns
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 may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC 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.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.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 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.The credit rates for 2020 are 50% and 70% in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Businesses must be cautious to not double dip with other relief programmes.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 Documentation
Keep detailed records for all wages that were paid to employees in 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. North Carolina Employee Retention Credit
Here are some tips for recordkeeping and documentation:
- Keep a copy of all records of your payroll, including the W-2 and Form 941.
- 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 provides a variety of resources to help businesses claim the ERC, including FAQs, fact sheets, and videos.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses affected by the COVID-19 virus can claim an Employee Retention credit (ERC).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
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Nonprofit organizations that saw their donations decline
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that had to operate on a lower capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result COVID-19
Aside from these examples, businesses that have been fully or partly suspended by a government directive or who have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC. North Carolina Employee Retention Credit
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the ERC.
- 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 that experienced a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to offset its payroll costs.
- 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.
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 determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that 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.
Warning Signs and Red Flags
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.
- The fees are high, or they take a large percentage of the refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. North Carolina Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting 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.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.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.
This article has discussed the Employee retention credit (ERC), which is a tax relief that allows eligible employers to keep their employees employed during the COVID-19 Pandemic.We have outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible scams.
We also have some tips and materials for documenting your records.The ERC can be a valuable benefit for employers, helping them reduce their employment taxes, improve their cashflow, and support their employees.If you qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
North Carolina 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 in value to 50% of wages qualified to be paid in 2020. It is also equal in value to 70% of wages qualified to be paid in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Who can receive the 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 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 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?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim ERCs for wages they also claimed as PPPs.
Can self employed individuals claim ERC benefits?
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 organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the 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?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- Credit calculation error
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.