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ERTC Tax Credits Can Help Your Business

Overview of ERTC Tax Credits

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a valuable tax incentive that provides businesses with a refundable tax credit of up to $5000 per employee for qualified wages and health care expenses. This credit is designed to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic downturns due to natural disasters.

In this article, we will cover an overview of ERTC tax credits, who is eligible for them, and how to calculate and claim this tax credit:

Definition of ERTC Tax Credits

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a refundable tax credit for employers who have experienced full or partial operations suspension due to COVID-19 or have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts. This credit is meant to offset costs associated with employer expenses, such as employee salaries and benefits.

The ERTC applies for qualified wages paid from March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Qualified wages include those paid to U.S.-based employees regardless of whether they provided services on site or remotely (including paychecks and health care costs) as long as the hours were logged prior to December 31, 2020 and the eligible employer has not described temporary layoffs exceeding 3 months.

To qualify, an eligible employer must experience either:

  1. a full or partial shutdown resulting from orders issued by an appropriate governmental authority limiting commerce due to COVID-19 during the period beginning March 12, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020;
  2. a significant decline in gross receipts during any calendar quarter in 2020 when compared with the same quarter of 2019.

A business may be considered for ERTC only if it has not received Payroll Protection Program loans after February 15th, 2021.

Employers may claim a tax credit equal 50% of qualified wages paid up to $10k per employee per calendar quarter for Q1/Q2 and 70% up to $7k per employee per calendar quarter prior to the passage of ARP Act 2021 on March 11th 2021. The maximum amount allowed is $28K per employee/$5K additional child tax credits (for married couples).

Types of ERTC Tax Credits

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a refundable, general business credit designed to enable employers to keep their workers on their payroll despite suffering economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible employers are entitled to receive a tax credit, not exceeding $ 5,000 per employee, for 50 percent of up to $ 10,000 in wage payments made between March 13, 2020 and January 1, 2021. This credit is effective for wages paid after March 12, 2020 through December 31 of 2021.

There are two different types of ERTC credits available; namely, the Qualified Retention Credit and the Additional Qualified Retention Credit. The Qualified Retention Credit applies to companies who experienced business closure or gross receipts decrease due to COVID-19 while the additional qualified retention credit applies only companies who suffered a significant decline in gross receipts during the months of April through December 2020.

To be eligible for either type of ERTC tax credits one must meet certain criteria contained in the legislation such as having an average number of full-time employees that was at least 50% lower in 2020 than pre-covid period and decrease in gross receipts by at least 20%. Some other requirements include having an active employer identification number and being up-to-date with filing payroll taxes. Additionally businesses must have not received funding from certain programs under CARES Act such as Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans Program.

By understanding eligibility criteria and related requirements one can take advantage of these tax credits: amounts considered for calculation being wages up to $ 10k per employee and approved credits reaching $ 5000 per worker which helps companies stabilize their businesses better manage economic hardship faced due COVID-19 pandemic.


Taking advantage of the research and development (R&D) tax credits is limited to businesses or organizations that are conducting qualified R&D activities. The R&D credit is available to both large corporations and small businesses, provided the requirements of the program are met.

The eligibility requirements for claiming the R&D tax credit include the type of activity being conducted, the type of organizational structure, and the availability of funding or resources.

In this section, we'll cover the different eligibility requirements to help you determine if your organization can take advantage of R&D tax credits:

Qualifying Employees

Qualifying employees are those who have completed at least 12 months of continuous service in either full-time or part-time service, depending on their job classification. In the case of part-time employees, 12 months of continuous service must include at least 520 hours worked. Employees are considered to be continuously employed even when taking vacation or other leave if their period of employment is not interrupted by a break in service that is more than two weeks in duration. Special consideration may also be given to seasonal employees in terms of qualifying periods for benefits eligibility and other benefits programs.

Temporary and casual employees who do not have a minimum term employment contract may also be eligible provided they have worked the required hours within the previous twelve months, unless expressed special provision states otherwise. All decisions regarding eligibility of these types of employees will be made based on an individual assessment by management.

Qualifying Businesses

Qualifying businesses for assistance are those organizations that reported a revenue decrease of at least 25% during the period from April 1 to June 30. The business must have an active physical presence in the jurisdiction, either through fixed premises or through regularly scheduled events or activities. This includes locations that were impacted by government mandated closures related to COVID-19.

In addition, eligible organizations must employ one or more people and have been operating for one year prior to April 1 of this year. Businesses may include not-for-profit organizations and sole proprietorships, so long as they can provide evidence of meeting these criteria.

Qualifying Expenditures

One key criterion for determining eligibility for certain government-funded programs is the presence of qualifying expenditures. Qualifying expenditures refer to a variety of activities that an organization has completed or plans to complete toward achieving its goals. Such activities must meet several criteria: they must be necessary, reasonable, and allowable according to the program's guidelines.

Necessary activities are those that are essential in achieving the organization's intended outcomes; reasonable activities are those that represent a good value for their cost; allowable activities meet all legal and other program requirements.

Examples of typical qualifying expenditures include:

  • Salaries and wages
  • Consultant services
  • Travel expenses
  • Inventory (if allowed by the specific program)
  • Training expenses
  • Supplies and materials
  • Rent/lease payments related to office or equipment space used in implementing the project under consideration.

When evaluating eligibility for a particular grant program or other source of funding, it is important to have records of past expenditure activity as well as an accurate estimate of similar future expenses planned with respect to the project in question. These documents will help prove that an organization is able to fund its desired goals through expense activity consistent with program guidelines—thus making it eligible for grants or other funding sources.

Calculating ERTC Tax Credits

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a refundable tax credit that is designed to help businesses keep their employee workforce and costs down. This credit can provide employers with a significant amount of money that can be used to help pay wages and other costs. Understanding how to calculate and qualify for the credit can help employers maximize their savings.

Let's dive into the details of calculating ERTC tax credits:

Maximum Credits

The Economic Recovery Tax Credit (ERTC) provides businesses with access to valuable tax relief in the form of credits and deductions. ERTC tax credits can be used to offset taxes due and can result in a refund if they exceed the amount of taxes being paid. There are limits on how much an eligible business may claim each year, and these limits are determined by the size of the business and its taxable income.

Small businesses with gross receipts of $10 million or less have a maximum ERTC tax credit limit of $5,000 per year; those with gross receipts greater than $10 million but not more than $50 million have a maximum limit of $7,500 per year; while businesses with gross receipts more than $50 million may claim up to $10,000 annually. In addition, both small and large businesses may qualify for special deductions such as employee retention credits or targeted pandemic refunds when applicable.

When claiming your ERTC tax credits, make sure you are aware of the applicable limits for your company based on gross receipts and taxable income. Comprehensive calculations must be performed before submitting your return in order to ensure accuracy in calculating these limitations. Not doing so could result in the loss or denial of potential credits, which could impact your ability to receive adequate refunds from federal taxes paid.

Minimum Credits

Claiming the Employee Retention Credit (ERTC) is an important way for businesses to offset losses and encourage job retention in a difficult economy. Eligible employers who retain their employees and keep paying wages may receive immediate relief by claiming the ERTC. To do so, employers must meet certain criteria, including determining their applicable credit percentage and calculating the minimum credit amount they are eligible to claim.

The applicable credit percentage is calculated according to the size of an employer's workforce and annual gross receipts:

  • For employers with not more than 100 full-time employees in 2019, the calculation is based on wages paid during any calendar quarter in 2020 equal to at least 50 percent of the equivalent quarter's 2019 wages.
  • For employers with more than 100 full-time employees in 2019, respective credits will be available depending on which quarter of 2020 wages were decreased compared with 2019 wages.

Minimum credits are then set based on which calendar quarters apply as follows:

  • If only 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020 apply, then 25%* (2/8) = 3.125%.
  • If first, second and third quarter of 2020 all apply, then 37.5%* (3/8) = 4.6875%.
  • If all 4 quarters of 2020 apply, then 50% (4/8) = 6.25 %.

Calculations of Credits

Eligible research and development (R&D) activities are those that seek to acquire or improve knowledge or technology by engaging in a systematic investigation or research. An ERTC tax credit may be available to businesses that incur qualified expenses for these activities.

Calculations for the credits depend on your applicable qualified research expenses (QREs) for the current tax year. QREs include wages, supplies, equipment, and any other expense related directly to researching and developing products or processes. You must use the costs incurred when you actually conducted the research activity instead of costs capitalized later as a result of a successful project. The total amount needs to be reduced by any payments your company received from government grants, reimbursements, or other subsidies related to R&D activities before you can calculate your allowable ERTC tax credit.

In some cases, the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) calculation may reduce paperwork and provide a higher credit rate than the regular ERTC rate. The ASC rate is equal to 14% of qualifying QREs in excess of 50% of its average qualifying spending amount over its prior three-year period. Your company will have access to both calculation methods and should review each method before claiming their credits in order to secure the highest possible benefit from their eligible R&D activities.

Claiming ERTC Tax Credits

A key part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) which allows businesses to claim a refundable tax credit for up to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees during the pandemic. For employers who qualify, claiming ERTC Tax Credits can be a great way to help offset the financial impact of the pandemic.

This article will explain in detail how to claim the ERTC Tax Credits.

Filing Deadlines

ERTC tax credits must be claimed using Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Employers should use the most current version of the form when submitting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Generally, ERTCs earned for a particular quarter must be claimed within one year of the end of the quarter in which you became eligible to receive them.

Your filing deadline is dependent on when during the quarter your wages and compensation become eligible. The filing deadlines fall into three categories:

  1. If provisionally certified by most or all of your wages are paid within three months after the calendar quarter closes, your Form 941 must be filed by the due date of that tax return.
  2. If half or more of all unpaid wages or compensation are paid within four months of a calendar quarter close, Form 941 is required by then end of that month.
  3. If at least 80 percent of unpaid wages or compensation are paid within five months from a calendar close, then it needs to be reported by then end of that month.

It’s important to file on time in order to qualify for potential additional employee retention credits for which you may be eligible as well as any potential refunds associated with them. Filing delinquent returns may result in reduced refund amounts and more costly final employer payment results for future quarters.

Required Documentation

In order to claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), businesses will need to ensure they have all necessary documentation and certifications in place. Businesses are required to retain all pertinent records and submit them when prompted during a tax filing process.

For staff that is claimed on a Form 941, employers must save documents such as payroll records, health plan expenses, W-2 forms, collective bargaining agreements and earnings statements. Employers also may need to provide additional knowledge about the organization’s holiday pay policies or special bonuses being offered as part of their ERTC qualification attempts.

The IRS also requires employers to submit copies of Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due To Covid-19 for each quarter the ERTC is claimed. This form must be filled out regardless of if the employer has paid its taxes at the time taxes are due or if it is requesting an advanced payment from the IRS.

Other documents that employers may be required to produce include:

  • Financial statements showing income before, during, and after COVID-19’s impact;
  • Balance sheets indicating year over year business changes;
  • Business occupancy proof;
  • Written documentation describing how current business operations are impacted by changed in orders, reduction in or suspending services;
  • Proof of closure due to government order;
  • Retention or furlough plans for employees;
  • Quarterly wage reports indicating how much was paid out;

It's important to remember that although employers must have these documents ready when asked for them by the IRS, most could still qualify even if they can't submit full requests for access immediately. To ensure proper filing procedures and maximum benefit from your ERTC eligibility considerations, consulting a tax professional is highly recommended.

How to Claim ERTC Tax Credits

The Employer Paid Family and Medical Leave (ERTC) Tax Credit offers a fully refundable federal tax credit to employers offering paid family and medical leave to their employees. For the tax year 2020, qualifying employers can receive a credit of up to 25% of wages paid while the employee is on family or medical leave, up to 12 weeks per employee, for total credits up to $7,000.

The full credit is available for businesses who offer at least two weeks of paid leave with 100 percent wages ($200 for one week).

Claiming the ERTC requires employers to make sure they are correctly reporting their eligible wages:

  • Employers must provide notice to employees about the availability of ERTC benefits.
  • Employers must maintain records that include evidence of the amounts and dates associated with qualifying leave payments or qualifying health plan expenses.
  • Employers must submit Form 941, Employment Tax Withholding Form quarterly. This form lists all of your payroll taxes due each quarter as well as certain payments you have made that qualify for a payroll tax credit. When claiming the ERTC Tax Credits be sure you include line 13 which states “Credit for Family and Medical Leave”.
  • Employers will claim the full amount they are eligible for in their Schedule 3 – Credits & Payments when submitting their year end Form 940 Federal Unemployment Tax Return each year.
  • Your total credits will be tracked on Federally required Forms 1040/1040SR – Individual Income Tax Return each year. The final calculation will reflect any excess amount available as a refundable tax credit or as an offset to other taxes due on your return depending on your particular situation and eligibility requirements.


The EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) is a tax credit that helps low-income families, individuals and the disabled with financial assistance. It can be used for educational expenses, medical expenses and other needs.

There are many resources available to help you understand the EITC and how to qualify, so let's take a look:

IRS Resources

The IRS provides valuable free resources to educate taxpayers about their rights, responsibilities and options. The following list of resources can help individuals learn about the eligible expenses covered by ERTC tax credits and make sure they understand the rules surrounding tax credits.

Print resources: The IRS publishes forms and instructions booklets for filing your taxes that can help answer questions about eligible expenses for tax credits. These documents are available for free on their website or you can contact your local library to check them out.

Information sites: The official IRS website serves as a wealth of information on how to claim ERTC credit and other available tax credits. It has up-to-date information on current changes in taxation laws, as well as useful information such as helping you find an accountant or tax adviser. Other popular online resources include TaxACT, H&R Block Online, and 1040NOW which offer summaries of the ERTC credit requirements and guidelines as well as step by step filing instructions.

Online forums & support groups: Questions related to eligible expenses covered by ERTC credit can generally be answered through online forums or support groups specialized in taxation topics such a Reddit's Personal Finance channel or TurboTax community boards where people post questions and get answers from experienced users in the community or from experts such brokers or tax professionals.

State Resources

Tax credits are a form of government financial assistance funded by state tax revenues. They may be used for any purpose that serves the public good—this could include improving healthcare access, promoting job growth, or providing assistance to people in poverty. The specific criteria for receipt of these credits vary from state to state and are typically established by legislation. Before applying for a tax credit, it is essential to research the availability of the credits in your current or prospective state.

State resources are often available through individual agencies designated by the Governor or legislature to implement these programs. Each state is responsible for its own resources and frequently makes changes based on economic conditions, so it’s important to stay informed about your eligibility requirements. Following is an overview of the primary categories of qualifications in each state:

  • Income-based eligibility: This includes certain types of earned income as well as other subsidies such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • Asset-based eligibility: Generally, this includes homeownership and savings accumulation such as retirement accounts and educational funds.
  • Social Security Benefits: Each month's Social Security benefits may qualify you for eligible tax credits depending on other criteria you meet in your current jurisdiction.
  • Residency: Generally, most states have qualifications based on length of residence and type of residency; this could include being a U.S. citizen or legal resident as well as maintaining residence within the jurisdiction's borders or sharing cohabiting quarters with another person who does meet those requirements.
  • Age/Veteran status: Some states offer additional tax credits for people over 65 years old and/or military veterans depending on other circumstances affecting eligibility within that state’s regulations; please consult your local veteran resource center for more information about this type of assistance.

Tax Professional Resources

When preparing taxes for small business owners, it is important to understand the requirements and incentives of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Tax professionals are an invaluable resource in helping taxpayers take advantage of government credits and deductions to maximize their tax return. To stay informed about credit programs such as the EITC, tax professionals should take courses in continuing education and utilize online resources.

Educational Resources
Tax professionals must stay up-to-date on changing tax regulations and laws regarding credits such as the EITC. Many local universities offer courses that focus specifically on tax law and credit offerings as well as help with bookkeeping instruction. Additionally, many professional organizations provide links to seminars, webinars, podcasts or even podcasts.

Online Resources
There are numerous free resources available online that can help small business owners get the most out of their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website offers helpful information such as current tax tables and forms related to claiming credits like EITC. Additionally, websites such as H&R Block provide weekly news updates related to federal income taxes or free services that allow taxpayers to accurately estimate their federal income tax burden based on criteria they select during setup.

In conclusion, understanding tax credits like EITC requires a comprehensive understanding of laws and regulations surrounding them in order for small business owners to receive any benefit from them when filing their taxes each year. It is therefore important for a taxpayer’s tax professional to stay up-to-date with current educational options available for continuing education purposes as well understanding key online tools offered by sites like IRS or H&R Block in order provide accurate advice when it comes time for clients making decisions around reaping savings from the EITC program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the ERTC tax credit?

A: The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a refundable tax credit for employers subject to closure due to COVID-19. The credit is equal to 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Q: Who is eligible for the ERTC tax credit?

A: Eligible employers are those who have been fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19, or whose gross receipts for any calendar quarter of 2020 are less than 50% of what it was for the same quarter in 2019.

Q: How do I claim the ERTC tax credit?

A: Eligible employers can claim the ERTC tax credit by filing Form 7200 with the IRS and including the credit in their quarterly employment tax returns.