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Employee Retention Tax Credit Reporting

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a valuable incentive provided by the government to encourage businesses to retain their employees during the challenging times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an employer, understanding the importance of accurate reporting for ERTC is crucial to fully benefit from this tax credit. In this article, we will explore the necessary steps and guidelines for effective ERTC reporting.

What is the Employee Retention Tax Credit?

The Employee Retention Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that was introduced as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020. The purpose of this credit is to assist businesses, including eligible non-profit organizations, that were financially impacted by the pandemic and managed to keep their employees on payroll.

Eligibility Criteria for ERTC

Before diving into the reporting process, it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria for the Employee Retention Tax Credit. To qualify for the credit, businesses must meet the following requirements:

  1. Sustained business operations: The business must have been fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19-related government orders or experienced a significant decline in gross receipts.

  2. Employment status: Employers can claim the credit for wages paid to employees who are still working but have been furloughed or experienced reduced working hours due to the impact of the pandemic.

  3. Qualified wages: The wages claimed for the credit depend on the size of the business. For businesses with over 100 full-time employees, only wages paid to employees who are not providing services due to the suspension or decline in business are eligible. For businesses with 100 or fewer employees, all wages qualify, regardless of whether the employees are working or not.

Reporting ERTC

To accurately report the Employee Retention Tax Credit, employers need to follow these steps:

1. Understand the Reporting Period

The reporting period for ERTC covers eligible wages paid between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2021. It’s crucial to track and document the wages paid during this timeframe to claim the credit correctly.

2. Calculate the Eligible Wages

To determine the eligible wages, employers need to identify which employees and wages are eligible for the ERTC. As mentioned earlier, the eligibility criteria differ based on the size of the business and the employment status of the employees.

3. Complete Form 941

Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, serves as the primary reporting mechanism for ERTC. Employers need to accurately complete this form to claim the credit. Make sure to include the total amount of eligible wages and the corresponding tax credit for each quarter.

4. Retain Documentation

Documentation is crucial when it comes to ERTC reporting. Employers should maintain thorough records, including:

  • Payroll records
  • Employee work status documentation
  • Documentation of the financial impact due to COVID-19
  • Records of eligible healthcare costs, if applicable

Having these documents readily available will help in case of an audit or any inquiries related to the claimed tax credit.

5. Consider Professional Assistance

While it is possible to handle ERTC reporting internally, seeking professional assistance, such as engaging a tax advisor or accountant with expertise in tax credits, can ensure accurate reporting and maximize the benefits of the credit. Experts can guide businesses through the complexities of ERTC reporting and help avoid errors or omissions that could lead to missed opportunities.

Benefits of Proper ERTC Reporting

Accurate and timely reporting of the Employee Retention Tax Credit can bring several benefits to businesses, including:

  1. Financial relief: The ERTC provides a significant tax credit that can alleviate financial burdens caused by the pandemic. Proper reporting ensures businesses receive the full credit they are entitled to, maximizing their financial relief.

  2. Cash flow improvement: The credit can be used to offset payroll taxes, allowing businesses to free up cash flow and allocate resources to other critical areas of operation.

  3. Employee retention: By leveraging the ERTC, businesses can retain their employees, fostering a stable workforce and avoiding the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.

  4. Business continuity: The ERTC contributes to the overall continuity of business operations, especially during challenging times. The credit eases financial pressure, enabling businesses to maintain their operations and recover more swiftly.


Proper reporting of the Employee Retention Tax Credit is essential for businesses looking to benefit from this valuable incentive. By understanding the eligibility criteria, accurately calculating eligible wages, completing the necessary forms, retaining documentation, and considering professional assistance, businesses can ensure the maximum benefit from the ERTC. Taking advantage of this tax credit not only provides financial relief but also supports employee retention and overall business continuity. Stay informed, follow the guidelines, and make the most of the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
business. Employers should carefully review the guidelines provided by the IRS to ensure accurate calculation of eligible wages.

3. File Form 941

Employers need to file Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, to report the eligible wages and claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit. This form must be filed for each quarter during which the credit is claimed.

4. Maintain Proper Documentation

It’s essential for employers to maintain proper documentation to support their claim for the ERTC. This includes records of eligible wages, supporting documents for the eligibility criteria, and any other relevant documentation. These records should be kept for at least 4 years after the date the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.


Accurate reporting for the Employee Retention Tax Credit is crucial for businesses to fully benefit from this valuable incentive. By understanding the eligibility criteria, following the necessary steps, and maintaining proper documentation, employers can ensure compliance and maximize their tax credits.