What is the Employee Retention Credit (ERC)?
ERC is a stimulus program designed to help those businesses that were able to retain their employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Established by the CARES Act, it is a refundable tax credit – a grant, not a loan – that you can claim for your business. The ERC is available to both small and mid-sized businesses. It is based on qualified wages and healthcare paid to employees.
*Up to $26,000 per W2 employee
*Available for 2020 and the first 3 quarters of 2021
*Qualify with decreased revenue or COVID event
*No limit on funding
*ERC is a refundable tax credit
You can claim up to $5,000 per employee for 2020. For 2021, the credit can be up to $7,000 per employee per quarter.
To qualify, your business must have been negatively impacted in either of the following ways:
*A government authority required partial or full shutdown of your business during 2020 or 2021. This includes your operations being limited by commerce, inability to travel or restrictions of group meetings.
*Gross receipt reduction criteria is different for 2020 and 2021, but is measured against the current quarter as compared to 2019 pre-COVID amounts.
*A business can be eligible for one quarter and not another.
*Initially, under the CARES Act of 2020, businesses were not able to qualify for the ERC if they had already received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. With new legislation in 2021, employers are now eligible for both programs. The ERC, though, cannot apply to the same wages as the ones for PPP.