The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.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.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate normally.
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.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 CreditRevenue Decline For 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 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 are available to all businesses, even tax-exempt ones.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.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC formed?
The COVID-19 Pandemic caused an economic downturn that forced many businesses either to layoff employees or shut their doors.The ERC aims to help companies keep their staff on the payroll in order to quickly reopen after the pandemic is over.
ERCs can give businesses impacted by pandemics a financial boost.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick recovery.
The ERC, which is a tax credit that is claimed even by businesses who do not owe a dime in taxes, is refundable.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. Revenue Decline For Employee Retention 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.The ERC also helped to keep businesses afloat through the economic storm.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.It has also contributed towards the economic recovery through a boost in consumer spending and investment.
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 organization must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts by at least 20% from the same quarter the year before.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for ERC:
- ERC for a business suspended fully or partly by a Government Order: An ERC can be awarded to a business that is suspended either completely or partially by an order of the government due 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
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Claim your Credit
How to Claim ERC on Federal Employment Tax Returns
For businesses to claim Employee Retention Credit on federal employment taxes, they must amend Form 941X – Adjusted Employer’s quarterly Federal Tax Return (or Claim for refund) – in order to do so, they will need to file Form 941X.This form can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.To do this, business must file IRS Form 7220, Advance Payment for Employer Credits & Taxes.
- Reduce employment tax deposits: Businesses can also reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount of the credit they expect to receive.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- Businesses can ask for a refund if they have already paid the employment tax. They should file Form 941-X at the IRS.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.The credit rate for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
Businesses should avoid double-dipping on 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 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. Revenue Decline For Employee Retention Credit
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- 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 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 also contact the IRS for assistance by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can apply for the Employee Retention Credit.Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores that experienced a significant decline in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism companies
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to 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. Revenue Decline For Employee Retention Credit
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- 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.
- A manufacturer that was unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to produce essential goods.
- A nonprofit organization whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing 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.You can get help from a tax professional to determine your eligibility for the ERC and claim it if eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers might use aggressive advertising tactics to convince businesses that they should sign up for their service, even though the business may not be eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- The company promises to give you a full refund without reviewing any of your records.
- The fees are high, or they take a large percentage of the refund.
- Sales tactics are high-pressure. Revenue Decline For Employee Retention Credit
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.Don’t give out your personal details to anyone who contacts without asking.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
In this article we discussed the Employees Retention Credit, tax-relief program that assists eligible employers in keeping their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 epidemic.The ERC has been explained in detail, including the eligibility requirements and the claim process.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.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.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Bonus Frequently Answered Questions
Revenue Decline For 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 can receive 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?
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 do you claim your 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 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 ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
You can still claim an ERC even though you received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).
Businesses can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Yes, the ERC is available to self-employed people.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible to claim the ERC when filing their Forms 990-T.
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.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- Wrong calculation on credit
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.