COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
The ERC allows businesses to claim a tax credit on wages paid during a pandemic.It is designed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll, even if they are unable to operate normally.
If you own a small business and have been affected by the pandemic then the ERC will help you to keep your staff on board, as well as your business going.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 CreditSelf-Employed 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 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.
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.
The ERC is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.It can help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
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 is designed to help keep businesses open and their employees working so that they can resume normal operations as soon as the pandemic subsides.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
The ERC is also a refundable credit. This means that businesses are able to claim it, even if there are no taxes due.Businesses can also claim ERC for wages paid by employers to employees who do not work due to COVID-19. Examples include employees who were furloughed and quarantined. Self-Employed Employee Retention Credit
The Impact of the ERC in the Business and Economy
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.The ERC has helped many businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ERC was estimated to have saved 10 million jobs and prevented thousands of businesses from closing.The ERC also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as investment.
The only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.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 an enterprise must have seen a decline in gross revenue of atleast 20% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
Business can qualify in two ways for the ERC
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- Significant drop in gross sales: A business experiencing a significant loss in gross sales due to COVID-19 can also apply for the 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
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
Orders from the government can be used to suspend or fully suspend your work.
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- The ERC is available to gyms that are required to operate with a reduced capacity because of a COVID-19-related government order.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- ERC eligibility is for a manufacturer who is not able to operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
Credits are equal to 70% of qualified wages for the first 3 quarters of 2020, with a maximum per employee of $10,000.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 the ERC when Filing 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 can be submitted for any quarter where the business was entitled to the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
There are three options available to businesses for claiming ERC:
- Claim the credit ahead of time: Businesses may claim the credit by reducing the quarterly employment tax deposit.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- 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 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 must be cautious to not double dip with other relief programmes.For example businesses cannot claim ERC for wages used to claim Paid Family and medical leave credit or 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 enable the business to calculate the credit amount accurately and provide evidence to support the claim, if audited. Self-Employed 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.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the 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
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 are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event business
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to 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. Self-Employed Employee Retention Credit
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their ERC:
- 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.
- 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.
- A nonprofit organization that saw its donations decline due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to provide essential services.
You should contact a professional tax advisor if, as a small business owner, you have any doubts about your eligibility for the ERC.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
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 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
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Self-Employed Employee Retention Credit
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
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.Don’t give out your personal details to anyone who contacts without asking.If you are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
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 discussed the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC can be a valuable benefit for employers, helping them reduce their employment taxes, improve their cashflow, and support their employees.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Self-Employed Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
It is a refundable tax credit available to businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This credit is equal to 50% the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in 2020. And 70% of the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in their first three quarters in 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 is a qualified wage?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
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 941-X form must be filed in three years following the original 941 filing date.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
No, it is a refundable 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 ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self employed individuals claim ERC benefits?
Yes, individuals who are self-employed can qualify for the ERC.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- Calculation error on credit
- All wages are not included
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.