The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a valuable tax credit offered by the IRS to assist small businesses in retaining their employees during challenging economic conditions, such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re an eligible business owner, it’s important to understand how to claim the ERC and maximize the benefit for your business.
In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to help you claim the ERC for your business.
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
The first step to claiming the ERC is to determine if your business is eligible for the credit. The eligibility requirements for the ERC have evolved over time, so it’s important to review the most recent guidance from the IRS to ensure your business meets the criteria. Generally, businesses that experienced a decline in gross receipts or were subject to government-mandated shutdowns due to the pandemic are eligible for the credit.
You may like to check the ERC FAQ.
Step 2: Calculate Your Eligible Wages
Once you determine your eligibility, the next step is to calculate your eligible wages. Eligible wages are wages paid to employees during a designated period, which can vary depending on the specific eligibility requirements that apply to your business. For example, if your business experienced a decline in gross receipts, the eligible period would be the calendar quarter in which the decline occurred, and subsequent quarters until the business recovers to a certain level of gross receipts.
Step 3: Complete Form 941
To claim the ERC, you’ll need to complete Form 941, the employer’s quarterly payroll tax return. On this form, you’ll report your eligible wages and the associated credit amount for each quarter.
Step 4: Reduce Payroll Tax Deposits or Request a Refund
If your ERC exceeds the amount of payroll taxes owed, you can reduce your payroll tax deposits or request a refund for the excess credit. If you choose to reduce your payroll tax deposits, you can do so on the next scheduled deposit or over multiple deposits, as long as the amount of the credit is fully claimed by the end of the applicable quarter.
Step 5: Keep Documentation
It’s important to keep documentation to support your ERC claim, including payroll records, tax returns, and other relevant documentation. You’ll need to retain these records for at least four years after the due date of the tax return on which the credit was claimed.
Must check the ERC Questions to understand it better!
In conclusion, claiming the Employee Retention Credit can provide significant benefits to eligible small businesses struggling to retain employees during the pandemic. By understanding the eligibility requirements and following these steps to claim the credit, you can maximize the benefit for your business and take important steps to navigate these challenging times.