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What is the ERTC Employee Retenntion Tax Credit and ERC?
The CARES Act’s Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit. For the 2020 program, the ERC is equal to 50% of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that eligible employers pay their employees. This applies to wages paid after 3/12/2020 and before 1/1/2021. The maximum amount of wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an employee is $5,000.
For the 2021 program, the credit is increased to 70%, and the limit is $10,000 per quarter. This means the annual maximum for an employee is $26,000.
The tax credit offsets all withheld federal employment taxes including federal income tax withholding, Employer FICA and Medicare. Any excess credit will be refunded or advanced by the IRS.
When is the operation of a trade or Business Considered Partially Suspended for the ERC?
The operation of a trade or business may be partially suspended if an appropriate governmental authority imposes restrictions upon the business operations by limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings (for commercial, social, religious, or other purposes). This can be a “Stay at Home Order” for non-essential businesses, a capacity restriction, or other possibilities.
What is an Eligible Employer?
Eligible Employers for the purposes of the Employee Retention Credit are those that carry on a trade or business during calendar years 2020/2021, including a tax-exempt organization, that either:
- Fully or partially suspends operations by a governmental order, or
- Experiences a significant decline in gross receipts during a calendar quarter when compared to 2019
Is ERC and ERTC the same thing?
Yes, ERC stands for ‘Employee Retention Credit’, also known as the ERTC ‘Employee Retention Tax Credit.’ This program was created by the Coronavirus Aid and Relief Act in 2020 to help businesses keep employees on their payroll. Both Employee Retention Tax Credits (ERTC) and Employee Retention Credits are refundable tax credits.
What are Qualified Wages?
Qualified wages are compensation provided to employees during an eligible period. An eligible period is either:
- the time during which the trade or business is fully or partially suspended by a governmental order, or
- for 2020, any calendar quarter during which gross receipts are 50% less than the amount received during the same quarter of 2019; for 2021, any calendar quarter during which gross receipts are 20% less than the same quarter of 2019
Who is eligible for ERC credit?
The ERC is available to any employer—including non-profits, regardless of size—that has experienced either a full or partial shutdown of operations due to a governmental order related to COVID-19, or has experienced a significant decline in gross receipts. A “significant decline in gross receipts” is defined as a decrease of more than 50% when comparing quarterly 2020 receipts to 2019 receipts.
Employers who are part of an affiliated group are only eligible if they meet the above criteria AND the group as a whole has suffered either a shutdown of operations OR a significant decline in gross receipts. For example, if two companies are part of the same parent company and only one company meets the eligibility criteria, the entire group is not eligible for the credit.
Can I still apply for ERC in 2022?
The employee retention tax credit (ERTC) is available to qualifying employers for the last three quarters of 2020 and the first three quarters of 2021. The employer’s tax return for the second quarter of 2020 was due July 31, 2020. This means that you can amend these returns and request a refund until April 15, 2024.
The payroll tax return for the third quarter of 2021 was due on October 31, 2021. That means that you have until April 15, 2025, to amend this return and request a refund.
There is still time to claim the ERTC tax credit in 2024, but you have to act fast if you want to beat the deadline. This tax credit can be complicated, so don’t wait to apply. Check out this guide and claim your refund as soon as possible. This guide explains the deadlines for claiming the ERTC tax credit retroactively. It also looks at the eligibility criteria and walks you through how to claim this credit.