The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is available to businesses that need it.
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.
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 CreditWhat Is The Employee Retention Credit Under The Cares Act
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in March 2020. Its purpose is to assist businesses to keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.To qualify, the business must have seen a significant reduction in gross sales or be suspended fully or partly due to an order from the government related to COVID-19.
The ERC is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected 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.
The ERC is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.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 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. What Is The Employee Retention Credit Under The Cares Act
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.The ERC has also helped to boost consumer spending and investments, which have contributed to economic recovery.
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 order to qualify for the 2020 ERC, businesses must have had a substantial decline in gross revenues of at least half compared with the same quarter last year.In 2021 a business will have to experience a significant decrease in gross revenues of at least 20 percent compared with the same quarter last year.
The ERC is available to businesses in two different ways.
- 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.The ERC is available to businesses that have been told to close or operate at reduced capacity.
- Significant decline of gross receipts. A business which has seen a significant fall in its gross receipts because of COVID-19, is also eligible to receive the 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
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
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.
- 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 (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.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This means that a business could receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee for 2020.
For the three first quarters of the year 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of the wages qualified to be paid. There is a limit of $10,000 per employee per quarter.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
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 also be filed for any other quarters in which a business may have been eligible for credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim it in advance. Businesses are able to claim the credit before the quarter’s end by reducing quarterly employment taxes.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and 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.
- Request a Refund: Businesses who have already paid their Employment Taxes can request to receive a refund for the credit by submitting Form 941X to the IRS.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
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 Documenation
Businesses must keep detailed records on all wages paid during the ERC.This will enable businesses to accurately determine the amount of credit that they are eligible for, and to back up their claim should it be audited. What Is The Employee Retention Credit Under The Cares Act
Here are a few tips for documenting and keeping records:
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of all hours worked by employees, including vacation, sick, and holiday time.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base pay.
- Keep track of any government orders that affected the business’s operations.
The IRS provides a variety of resources to help businesses claim the ERC, including FAQs, fact sheets, and videos.Businesses can contact the IRS 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 who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism companies
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result COVID-19
The ERC may also be available to businesses that were suspended or partially by government orders or experienced a substantial decline in gross revenues due to COVID-19. What Is The Employee Retention Credit Under The Cares Act
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their ERC:
- A restaurant, which was forced to close due to an order from the government for a period of several months, was able use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll.
- The ERC was used by a retail store to offset payroll costs after it experienced a 50% drop in sales as a result 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.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify 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, 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 you will get a refund even if they don’t review your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. What Is The Employee Retention Credit Under The Cares Act
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting 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.
It is important to safeguard your personal and financial data.You should not provide your personal information to anyone contacting you uninvited.If you are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
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 have also provided tips and resources on 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 Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is The Employee Retention Credit Under The Cares Act
What is ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax credit.
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 businesses for the ERC include those who experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or were fully or partially suspended due to government orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is a qualified wage?
Qualified wages include wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses paid to employees.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of wages.
How do I claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941X must be filed no later than three years after the original Form 941.
Do I have to pay back the ERC?
The ERC, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
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).
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible 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.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there mistakes that companies make in claiming ERCs?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- Credit calculation error
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.