Can I Still Claim Employee Retention Tax Credits in 2023?
Employee retention is a critical concern for businesses, especially during challenging times. To incentivize employers to retain their employees, the government introduced the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) as part of the COVID-19 relief efforts. The ERC has been a valuable tool for businesses struggling with financial hardships and has provided much-needed support. However, with the arrival of 2023, many business owners are wondering if they can still claim Employee Retention Tax Credits. In this blog, we will delve into the details of the Employee Retention Credit, its eligibility criteria, timelines, and the necessary documents needed for claiming the credit.
Explain what is Employee Retention Credit:
The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit introduced by the U.S. government to support businesses in retaining their employees during times of economic hardship. Initially established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ERC aimed to provide financial relief to employers affected by the crisis. The credit is designed to offset a portion of the eligible wages paid by eligible employers to their employees.
How Much Employee Retention Tax Credit Can I Claim?
The amount of Employee Retention Tax Credit that an eligible employer can claim depends on various factors. Initially, under the CARES Act, the ERC allowed employers to claim a tax credit equal to 50% of qualified wages, up to $10,000 per employee. However, with subsequent legislation and updates, the credit has changed.
For 2023, the Consolidated Appropriations Act extended the ERC through December 31, 2023, with modifications to the credit calculation. Eligible employers can now claim a tax credit equal to 70% of qualified wages, up to $10,000 per employee, per quarter. This means that the maximum credit an employer can claim for each eligible employee per quarter is $7,000.
How to Qualify for Claiming Employee Retention Tax Credit?
The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC) has provided much-needed relief to businesses during times of economic hardship. To ensure you meet the requirements for claiming credit, it's important to understand the eligibility criteria. Here's a breakdown of what you need to qualify for the Employee Retention Tax Credit:
Significant Decline in Gross Receipts: To be eligible for the ERC, businesses must demonstrate a significant decline in gross receipts compared to a corresponding quarter in the previous year. Initially, the threshold for significant decline was set at 50%, but for 2021, it has been lowered to 20%. This means that if your gross receipts for a quarter in 2021 are 20% or less than the gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019, you may qualify for the credit.
Partial or Full Suspension of Operations: Alternatively, businesses can qualify for the ERC if they were partially or fully suspended due to a government order during any calendar quarter. The suspension must have limited the employer's operations and prevented them from conducting their normal business activities. Keep documentation of the government orders or notifications that led to the suspension of your business operations.
The Employee Retention Credit program, once again, is no longer available to employers. Some businesses, however, may be able to claim the credit retroactively.
How? Businesses can check back in time to see if wages earned between March 13, 2020, and the end of the program are eligible.
Most companies can claim the wage credit until September 30, 2021. However, some enterprises (i.e., recovery startups with annual gross receipts of up to $1 million) can claim the wage credit until December 31, 2021.
The deadlines for applying for ERTC retroactively have been extended to 2024 and 2025, respectively. Here's a basic rundown of the new deadlines:
- April 15, 2024: File amended returns for Quarters 2, 3, and 4 of 2020
- April 15, 2025: File amended returns for Quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 of 2021
What documents do I need for Claiming Employee Retention Tax Credit?
When claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit, it is essential to gather and maintain the necessary documentation. Here are some key documents you may need:
- Records of Qualified Wages: Maintain records that clearly show the qualified wages paid to employees during the eligible periods. This includes payroll records, employee tax forms (such as Forms W-2 and W-3), and any relevant supporting documentation.
- Documentation for Significant Decline in Gross Receipts: Keep records that demonstrate the decline in gross receipts for the applicable quarters. This may include financial statements, sales records, bank statements, or any other relevant documentation.
- Government Orders and Notifications: If your business was partially or fully suspended due to a government order, retain copies of the relevant orders, notifications, or other official documentation.
- Employment Tax Forms: Ensure you have accurate and up-to-date employment tax forms, such as Form 941, to report and claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
Remember, it is crucial to consult with a tax professional or refer to official IRS guidelines for a comprehensive list of required documents specific to your business and circumstances.
The Employee Retention Credit has been extended through 2023, providing eligible employers with a valuable opportunity to claim tax credits. The credit can help offset a portion of qualified wages paid to employees, supporting businesses in retaining their workforce during challenging times. To claim credit, businesses must meet specific eligibility requirements, maintain proper documentation, and file the necessary forms accurately and timely. As always, consulting with a tax professional or referring to official IRS guidance is highly recommended to ensure compliance and maximize the benefits of the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
At NSKT Global, we understand the importance of navigating complex tax regulations and maximizing available tax credits for businesses. As a leading provider of tax and financial services, we specialize in helping businesses optimize their tax strategies and ensure compliance with changing regulations. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through the process of claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit, providing personalized assistance tailored to your specific needs.