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.
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 is a great way to keep your employees engaged and your business running smoothly if you’re a business owner impacted by the pandemic.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 CreditOwner Wages Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), also known as the Employee Retention Tax Credit, is a refundable tax credit that employers can claim for qualifying wages paid to their employees during COVID-19.It was created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in March 2020, to help companies keep their employees, despite being unable operate normally.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.A business must be eligible if it has experienced a significant drop in gross receipts, or if they have been suspended or fully suspended because of a COVID-19 related 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 created?
The COVID-19 epidemic caused a severe downturn in the economy, which forced many businesses to close or lay off their employees.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.
The ERC is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.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 may also claim ERCs on qualified wages for employees who cannot work because of COVID-19. These employees include those who are furloughed. Owner Wages 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.
ERC was estimated to have saved 10 million jobs and prevented thousands of businesses from closing.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The test for a decline in gross receipts is the main difference between 2020 and 2021 ERC.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 an enterprise must have seen a decline in gross revenue of atleast 20% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for 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.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.
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- ERC is available to restaurants that are forced to close by a government order.
- A gym that is required to operate at a reduced capacity due to a COVID-19-related government order is eligible for the ERC.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC eligibility is granted to retail stores who experience a sales decline of 50% due to COVID-19.
- A manufacturer that is unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions is eligible for the ERC.
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 the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
In 2020, the credit will be equal to half of all wages that employees are entitled to receive up to $10,000.This means that a business could receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee for 2020.
The credit for the first three quarters of 2021 is 70% of the qualified wages paid by employees. This maximum amount per employee per quarter is $10,000.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 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 also be filed for any other quarters in which a business may have been eligible for credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.Businesses must submit Form 7200 to the IRS, Advance Payments of Employer Taxes and Credits.
- Reduce employment tax deposits: Businesses can also reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount of the credit they expect to receive.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 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
Multiplying the amount of ERC by the credit rate is how the ERC amount is calculated.Credit rate is set at 50% for 2020 and 70% for the three first quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.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
Businesses should keep detailed records detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over the ERC.This will allow businesses to calculate accurately the amount of credit they are entitled to and support their claim in the event that it is audited. Owner Wages 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 hours worked by employees, including vacation, sick, and holiday time.
- Keep track of the wages you pay to your employees. This includes base wage, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.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 forced to shut down due to government order
- Retail stores which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms & fitness studios
- Salons, spas
- Retail shops selling non-essential items
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement new safety protocols
- Costs increased for businesses 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. Owner Wages Employee Retention Credit
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used 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 outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- ERC can be used by a producer who is unable operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions of the supply chain. This allows them to keep their employees and continue producing essential products.
- 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.
If you are a business owner and you are unsure whether or not you are eligible for the ERC, I encourage you to contact a tax professional.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.Scammers will use aggressive marketing techniques to get businesses to sign up, even if they are not eligible for ERC.
Warning Signs and Red Flags
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Owner Wages Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your 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.
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 outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible 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.If you qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Owner Wages Employee Retention Credit
What is the 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 apply for the ERC program?
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?
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 the ERC?
Businesses can claim the ERC by filing an amended Form 941 or Form 941-X with the IRS.The amended Form 941X must be filed no later than three years after the original Form 941.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
No, the ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that businesses do not need to repay it.
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 people claim the ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the 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.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
What are the common mistakes businesses make when they claim ERC?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- Credit calculation error
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.