The COVID-19 epidemic has caused havoc in businesses of all sizes. Many have been forced to close or lay off their 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.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate normally.
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 CreditWho Qualifies For Employee Retention Tax Credit?
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.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 can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can help businesses to retain employees, pay for payroll, and invest in the future.
Why was the ERC created?
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.
ERC can offer a significant boost in financial support to businesses impacted negatively by the pandemic.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick 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 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. Who Qualifies For Employee Retention Tax Credit?
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC has helped to keep millions of Americans employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.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 also contributed to the recovery of the economy by increasing consumer spending, and investing.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can be claimed by businesses that have suffered a decline in gross sales or been suspended because of a COVID-19 government order.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.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, the business must have suffered from a significant fall in gross sales of at least 20% when compared to same quarter in previous year.
Business can qualify in two ways for the 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.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- 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
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- ERC eligibility is granted to a gym that must operate at a lower capacity as a result of a government order relating to COVID-19.
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.
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a tax-credit that businesses can claim, is for wages paid to qualified employees during the COVID-19 epidemic.The amount of the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.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.This means that a business could receive a credit of up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for the first three quarters of 2021, for a total of up to $21,000 per employee for the year.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing 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 options for claiming 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 this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- 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 Credit Amount and Avoiding Double Dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.Credit rate is set at 50% for 2020 and 70% for the three first quarters of 2021.
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 Documenation
Keep detailed records for all wages that were paid to employees in the ERC period.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. Who Qualifies For Employee Retention Tax Credit?
Here are some tips for recordkeeping and documentation:
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of every employee’s hours, including sick time, holiday, and vacation.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.Businesses can contact IRS for help 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.The following are examples of businesses that may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC):
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores that experienced a significant decline in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of 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 and spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that experienced increased costs due to COVID-19
In addition to these examples, any business that was fully or partially suspended by a government order or that experienced a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the ERC. Who Qualifies For Employee Retention Tax Credit?
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the 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.
- A retail store that experienced a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to offset its payroll costs.
- ERC was used by a manufacturer that could not operate at full capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain to keep employees employed and continue production of essential goods.
- 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 you to determine your eligibility and to claim the credit if you are eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, there are scammers who are trying to take advantage of businesses that are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).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 warning signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Who Qualifies For Employee Retention Tax Credit?
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- The first thing they ask you for is your personal and financial information.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you have been contacted by an ERC scammer , you should notify the IRS .You can do this by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal 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.
In this article, we have discussed the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a tax relief program that helps eligible employers keep their employees on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.We have outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible scams.
We’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.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 are eligible, we encourage to claim credit. Professional assistance may be needed if required.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Who Qualifies For Employee Retention Tax Credit?
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 is eligible to apply for ERC?
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?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How do I claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I need to repay the ERC?
The ERC is not a tax credit that needs to be repaid.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
The ERC is available to businesses who have taken out a PPP (Paycheck protection Program) loan.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed people claim the 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?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for the ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
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?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Credit calculation error
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.