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Employee Retention Tax Credit Application: How To Apply ERTC

Employee Retention Tax Credit came to the rescue for struggling firms and companies amid the pandemic.
Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 11.53.44 AM.png

Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 11.53.44 AM.png

Employee Retention Tax Credit came to the rescue for struggling firms and companies amid the pandemic. This government-provided aid intends to help smaller businesses with their losses due to the mandate to halt all operations due to the recent global issue in 2020.

Those who retained their employees at the time can be eligible for a refundable credit to help manage their losses. Unfortunately, only some know about this fantastic opportunity.

Keep on reading to find out how it works.

What Is The Employee Retention Credit?

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Employee Retention Credit, or ERTC, was launched in response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It is part of the CARES Act relief package, intended to help smaller businesses retain their full-time employees, continue their operations, and provide services. However, this is widely overshadowed by the Payment Protection Program.

It is free money off your tax bill. ETRC is a credit that can reduce the total tax a business owes to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), unlike a deductible that decreases taxable income.

Although ETRC is still available this 2023, tax credits will start expiring this year. The small businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are also qualified to take the ERTC. Some companies can get up to $26,000 per employee through a grant.

Companies qualifying in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, primarily small to medium businesses, are qualified to receive up to 50% of the eligible employee wages paid to start from March 13 to December 31, 2020.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) states that only 4% of the current small business owners know the ERTC program. Only a few know about this government aid’s many benefits for many businesses.

Employee retention has been making noise in recent years, and the authorities understand that fair pay is essential to keep employees happy and satisfied. The ERTC credit aid serves as a lifeline that allows businesses and other eligible employers to help their employees survive amid unexpected events that directly affect their source of income.

How Do The Credits Work?

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ETRC is a refundable credit available to businesses that meet the provided qualifications. Due to qualified wages and employee cap, sure entrepreneurs are entitled to a portion of qualified wages that an eligible employer pays their employee after March 20, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act requires that the non-refundable pieces in the employee retention tax credit ERTC would be claimed against the Medicare taxes instead of Social Society Security taxes as they were back in 2020. However, this only applies to the same wages paid after June 30, 2021, and it will not change the total credit amount.

If it exceeds an employer’s total liability of the portion of Medicare or Social Security taxes, be it before June 30, 2021, or after the same calendar quarter, they will reconcile all of the excess amounts on the employer’s Form 941.

The primary purpose of developing ERTC credit is to encourage employers to keep their remaining employees on the payroll even though they are currently not working in the covered period due to the recent coronavirus outbreak.

The original version of the ETRC was modified several times. It was halted on September 30, 2021, except for the startup recovery businesses defined by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Qualified business owners can claim the ETRC for their eligible employees in 2020 and a part of 2021 on the taxes filed in 2021. They can use Form 914X (Claim for refund or Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return) for up to three years after filing or two years after paying the due—whichever of the two is later.

If there are errors or mistakes, you can still report them using this form. You can still file the claims concerning unclaimed employer credits for 2020 until April 15, 2024, and until April 15, 2025, for those of 2021.

The maximum ERTC available from March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020, was up to $5,000 per employee. The subsequent legislation extended and modified the provisions of ERTC.

  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) – this was made effective on December 27, 2020, and extended the Employee Retention Tax Credit ERTC to include the qualified employee wages paid before July 1, 2021. It also extended the maximum credit on ETRC to $7,000 per employee every quarter.

  • American rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was made effective on April 1, 2021 and extended the coverage period to include the wages paid between July 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021.

  • Recently, the retroactive repeal of the ERTC was made by the IIJA on September 30, 2021. This affected the employers anticipating receipts of the ERTC for October 1 to December 31, 2021. The only exception is for the recovery startup businesses defined by the ARPA and amended by IIJA. Those companies were qualified to receive the full ETRC through December 31, 2021.

The definition for the Recovery Startup Business as defined by the U.S. Code 3134(c)(5) are as follows:

  • Maintains an average annual gross receipt that doesn’t exceed $1 million.

  • The company began its operations on or after February 15, 2020.

  • Currently employs one or more employees (other than 50% owners)

What Kind Of Employers Qualify For The Employee Retention Credit?

Employers and tax-exempt organizations are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit if they continue to operate their business during 2020 and experience either of the following:

  • Full/Partial suspension of the operation of their business at any quarter due to governmental orders on limiting travel, group meeting, and commerce in response to COVID-19

  • Significant decline in gross receipts

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What Wages Are Qualified When Calculating The Retention Credit?

The wages paid to an employee subjected to Medicare tax and paid after March 12, 2020, up to January 1, 2021, when the government either fully or partially suspended operations are eligible for the credit. This also applied to employers who significantly lost capital at the time.

Employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees in 2019, all qualifying wages paid during the time authorities suspended their operation, are eligible to receive an ERTC. On the other hand, organizations with more than 100 employees who were also fully or partially suspended are only granted for the amounts paid to the employees not providing services at the time.

Remember that vacation pays, sick pays, and PTO are not considered wages paid when an employee is not providing service. If their wages are maintained but reduced in working hours, you can use that to support a retention credit.

Qualified wages can’t exceed the amount paid to the employees 30 days before the suspension of operations or the calendar quarter that saw a significant decline in gross receipts.

Are Tipped Wages Included In Qualified Wages?

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IRS clarifies that the tips would be included in the qualified wages if they are subject to FICA taxes. If the tips are over $20 for an employee, all tips would be included in the considered qualified wages for the retention credit.

On the other hand, tips that are at most $20 a month would not be subject to FICA wages and would not qualify for the provided retention credit.

Things You Must Know Before Filing For Employee Retention Credit This 2023

Before you begin filing for the Employee Retention Credit this 2023, here are the things that you should know about first:

How to Claim Employee Retention Credit

Employers can claim the ERTC by reducing their payroll tax deposits and reconciling the total amounts on the quarterly Form 941. If the tax deposits are insufficient to fund the credit, they can file Form 7200 to request advance payments. They can claim the employer credits paid as wages during the first quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of the year with Form 941.

The employers deferring payment of their share of Social Security wages (6.2% of wages of up to $137,700 in the year 2020) should reduce their employment tax deposits in deferral amounts. Then, they can reduce the tax deposits for the ERTC and the credit for sick leave and mandated paid FMLA.

Eligible employers expecting to receive an ERTC cannot deduct the portion of the wages paid. This includes the allocable health care expenses equal to the credit. The refundable portion of the credit and the portion of the credit that reduces an employer’s applicable employment taxes are both not included in the employee’s gross income.

How to Calculate Employee Retention Credit?

Calculating the Employee Retention Credit is quite complicated. It would be better to get the help of an accountant or a tax professional to come up with the right amount.

Calculating the ERTC would require an extensive spreadsheet to determine the wages that are qualified and those that are not. Remember that ERTC calculations do not apply to the wages paid using the PPP funds. If your business participated in PPP, you would likely face more computations.

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How Much is the Employee Retention Credit?

For the year 2021, the tax credit for ERTC is 70% of the first $10,000 in qualified wages per employee per quarter of 2021. This provides a credit worth up to $7,000 per quarter or up to $28,000 per employee per year.

How to File for Employee Retention Credit?

Employers significantly impacted by the pandemic can file for the Employee Retention Credit using Form 5884-A. They can claim a credit equivalent to the 40% of up to $6,000 qualified wages paid for their eligible employees affected when their organization stopped operation as mandated by the federal government in 2020.

The following credits may be granted to the employee retention credit for the businesses affected by the pandemic:

  • Credit for retention

  • Qualified disaster employee from 2018 to 2019

They can also use Form 3800, General Business Credit, to claim the employee retention credit.

Essential Questions To Learn About The Employee Retention Tax Credit

1. Is the employee retention credit a taxable income?

No. The ETRC is not considered a taxable income for the employees. All eligible employees would not be required to pay additional taxes on the wage covered by the ETRC.

For employers, ERTC is treated like a Business Expense, which they can use to offset the taxes owed.

ERTC is a valuable tax relief for both employees and employers, as its primary purpose is to retain their full-time employees, which keeps the business afloat during these difficult times.

2. Can I claim the employee retention credit and PPP?

Yes. Its original version suggests that if you took the PPP loan, you wouldn’t be allowed to claim the ERTC. However, the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) in December 2020 allows smaller businesses to take both opportunities if they were deemed eligible by the provided eligibility requirements and rules.

Remember that businesses cannot claim a payroll expense as forgivable payroll costs and ERTC wage when applying for the PPP loan forgiveness application.

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3. On what can I spend the employee retention credit on?

In simplest terms, the Employee Retention credit acts like a reimbursement. You can spend the money you receive on whatever you like because it’s yours. It is considered a fully refundable tax credit, so you can get up to 50% of the $10,000 you get in wages per quarter, given that you are deemed eligible and proven to be adversely affected by the recent pandemic.

4. Do I have to pay back for my employee retention credit?

No. The employment retention tax credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers against certain employment taxes. It is not considered a loan, so there’s no need to pay it back. Once you receive it, you can consider it yours and not worry about it later.

This credit exceeds most taxpayers’ payroll taxes paid in a credit-generating period.

5. How much is the ERC in 2023?

If your business experienced issues during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 but continues to employ your W2 employees, you may be eligible for the ERTC in 2023. You can receive a credit of up to $26,000 per employee.

The calculation of ERTC is based on the qualified wages that include all of the health plan expenses paid by the employer. It equals 50% of the total qualified wages for 2020 and 70% for 2021.

6. How long does it take before I can get an employee retention credit refund?

According to recent information from the IRS, those who submitted their revised Form 914 can expect to receive the refund around 6 to 10 months after filing. This delay is due to the backlog caused by huge logistics, supply chain concerns, and employee shortages.

However, it can still vary. Those expecting refunds worth $1 million may face further delays due to the required paperwork.

Final Thoughts – Employee Retention Tax Credit Application

ERTC is an excellent way to help many smaller businesses stand on their feet again after losing so much money from 2020 to 2021. The recent catastrophic events took everyone by surprise, and no one was able to prepare for what was about to happen.

If you believe you can be eligible for this government aid, you can always refer to the article on how it works and how you can claim your grant.

>>>>Click here for YOUR Employee Retention Tax Credit<<<<

Remember that there will be a lot of paperwork and calculations, so do your research carefully and reach out to reliable people to help you with the processes.

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