The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.The Employee Retention Credit can be a lifeline for businesses struggling to stay afloat.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses on the wages they paid employees who qualified during 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.Visit the IRS website to learn more about ERCs and how you can claim them. You can also speak with a tax adviser or read the following.
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 CreditOklahoma Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.It was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020 to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, even if they were unable to operate normally.
ERCs are available to all businesses, even tax-exempt ones.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 assist businesses in retaining their employees, covering payroll costs, as well as investing 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 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
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also assist businesses in retaining their employees. This is vital for a fast recovery.
The ERC is also a refundable credit. This means that businesses are able to claim it, even if there are no taxes due.Businesses may also claim ERCs on qualified wages for employees who cannot work because of COVID-19. These employees include those who are furloughed. Oklahoma Employee Retention Credit
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.It also helped businesses weather the storm and stay afloat.
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.
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 primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.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, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 20% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- ERC eligibility for businesses suspended or suspended partially by a government.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.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 is available to restaurants that are forced to close by a government order.
- ERC can be awarded to a fitness center that has to operate on a reduced basis due to an order from the government based on 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.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
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 amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $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.For the first three-quarters of 2021, a business can receive up to $7,000 in credit per employee. This could amount to up to $21,000 for each employee.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
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 can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.For this to happen, businesses will need to submit IRS Form 7200 – Advance Payment of Taxes and Employer Credits.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- 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
Multiplying the amount of ERC by the credit rate is how the ERC amount is 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 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 maintain detailed records of the wages they paid to their employees during the ERC.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. Oklahoma Employee Retention Credit
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- Keep copies of all payroll records, including Forms 941 and W-2s.
- Keep track at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- 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 offers a number of resources that can help businesses claim their ERC. These include FAQs, factsheets, and videos.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).Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Supply chain disruptions prevent manufacturers from operating at full capacity
- Donations of nonprofit organizations declined
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism companies
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms & fitness studios
- Salons, spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Costs incurred by businesses as a result of 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. Oklahoma 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.
- The ERC allowed a manufacturer who was not able to operate at its full capacity because of supply chain disruptions to continue producing essential goods and keep their employees on the payroll.
- The ERC allowed a nonprofit organization to continue providing essential services despite a decline in donations due to COVID-19.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.They can assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
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 use aggressive marketing to convince businesses to subscribe to their services even if that business isn’t eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
Warning Signs and Red Flags
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Oklahoma Employee Retention Credit
- They do not belong to an organization that is reputable.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC fraudster, you must report this activity to the IRS.You can do this by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.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.
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 explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
We have also provided tips and resources on recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC is a valuable benefit that can help employers reduce their employment tax liability, improve their cash flow, and support their workforce.If you are an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Oklahoma Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax 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 is eligible for ERC funding?
Eligible business for the ERC includes those who suffered a significant reduction in gross receipts due to government order caused by COVID-19.
What are qualified wages?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of 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 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, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
The Schedule C can be used by self-employed individuals to claim the ERC.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for 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?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
There are a few additional requirements to meet before you can claim the benefit.
What are the common mistakes businesses make when they claim ERC?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Wrong calculation on credit
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.