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).
The ERC is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages paid to employees during the 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.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.
The Employee Retention CreditPaychex Employee Retention Tax 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 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 can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.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.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
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 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
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
Businesses can claim the ERC even if they don’t owe taxes.Businesses can also claim the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Paychex Employee Retention Tax Credit
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
ERC was estimated to have saved 10 million jobs and prevented thousands of businesses from closing.It also contributed to the recovery of the economy by increasing consumer spending, and investing.
The decline in gross revenues test is the major difference between the ERC 2020 and ERC 2021 requirements.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.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for ERC:
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part 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 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
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
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.
- 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 can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because 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 (ERC) Credit is an income tax credit which businesses can claim in relation to wages that were paid during the COVID-19 Pandemic.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.
Credits are equal to 70% of qualified wages for the first 3 quarters of 2020, with a maximum per employee of $10,000.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.
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 in Advance
Businesses have three options for claiming 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 may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- 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 Amount of the Credit 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.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to other relief programs.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 maintain detailed records of the wages they paid to their employees during the ERC.This will enable the business to calculate the credit amount accurately and provide evidence to support the claim, if audited. Paychex Employee Retention Tax Credit
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of the wages you pay to your employees. This includes base wage, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.Businesses can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores that experienced a significant decline in sales
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Nonprofit organizations that saw their donations decline
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons & spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result COVID-19
These examples are not the only ones that qualify. Any business that has been suspended in whole or part by an order of government or that has seen a decline in gross sales due to COVID-19 could also be eligible. Paychex Employee Retention Tax Credit
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- A restaurant that had to close its doors for several weeks due to government orders was able, with the ERC, to keep all of its employees employed.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- 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.
- 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 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 assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
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).
Warning Signs and Red Flags
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- 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. Paychex Employee Retention Tax Credit
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.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 share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
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’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.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.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
Paychex Employee Retention Tax Credit
What is ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax credit.
This credit equals 50% of the qualified wages that employees received in 2020, and 70% of the qualified wages they receive in the first quarter 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 is a qualified wage?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How can I claim my 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 have to pay back the ERC?
The ERC, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC even if they received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program).
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
Schedule C forms can be claimed by individuals who are self-employed.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible to claim the ERC when filing their Forms 990-T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
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
- Incorrect credit calculation
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline