The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a federal tax credit aimed at encouraging employers to retain their employees amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike a loan, this credit is refundable and does not require repayment. It is available for the tax years 2020 and 2021. In 2020, businesses could potentially receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee. The ERC for 2021 was enhanced, with an increase of the potential credit amount to $7000 per employee for the year.
The primary objective of the ERC is to assist businesses in recovering from the economic impact of the 2020 shutdown, making up for lost revenue due to the pandemic, and enabling them to retain their workforce and sustain business operations. Many businesses may be eligible for the ERC without being aware of it. To qualify, businesses must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts during 2020 or a general decline in gross receipts during 2021, compared to the corresponding quarters in 2019.
The ERC is available to a wide range of organizations operating in the United States, including nonprofits, colleges and universities, as well as businesses in sectors such as hospitality, retail, industrial, real estate, construction, and technology. Additionally, businesses that faced government-imposed full or partial suspensions, disruptions in the supply chain or vendor services, reduced workforce, limited operations, or other notable impacts due to COVID-19 may also meet the eligibility criteria.
To claim the ERC, businesses must have incurred qualifying wages, which include cash payments and a portion of employer-provided healthcare costs. Even businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans may still be eligible for the ERC. The amount of credit depends on factors such as the number of employees and whether the employer had more or fewer than 100 or 500 average full-time employees in 2019.
In conclusion, the ERC is a valuable tax credit that can provide significant financial relief to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important for eligible businesses to explore this opportunity and consider leveraging the expertise of organizations like Credit League to navigate the ERC filing process effectively.