What Is ERTC Employee Retention Tax Credit

What Is Employee Retention Tax Credit

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) or (ERC) is an incentive provided by the government to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. It allows employers to improve their bottom line while also providing a much-needed financial boost for workers during uncertain times.

The goal of this article is to explain what is ERTC employee retention tax credit, and how it can benefit both employers and employees alike.

ERTC Explained video

Employee retention tax credits are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This policy provides eligible employers with up to 50 percent refundable payroll tax credits for wages paid between March 13th 2020 and January 1st 2021.

Businesses who qualify may be able use these funds as an offset against certain employment taxes they owe throughout the year or even receive a cash payment from the IRS if their qualified wages exceed the amount of employment taxes due.

What Is the Cares Act?

The CARES Act is a federal relief package that was created in response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes assistance programs, loans, and tax credits for individuals and businesses alike.

One of these provisions is the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which provides financial support to employers who keep their workers on payroll during this difficult time. This credit could be an invaluable resource to many businesses struggling with decreased demand due to shutdowns or other disruptions.

However, it’s important to note that not all employers are eligible for this benefit; there are certain criteria one must meet before they can qualify. Therefore, let’s take a deeper look into who does qualify for the employee retention tax credit.

Who Qualifies for the Employee Retention Tax Credit?

Let’s start by talking about eligible employees for the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

Then, we’ll discuss eligible businesses for the tax credit.

What Is Employee Retention Tax Credit

Eligible Employees

Employees who are eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit include those that have had their hours reduced or were laid off due to Covid-19 related circumstances.

Eligible employees must be employed during either 2020 or 2021 and cannot earn more than $10,000 in wages from any single employer per calendar quarter.

If an employee was rehired after being laid off they may still qualify for the credit so long as it is before December 31st, 2021.

With this tax credit employers can receive up to 70% of qualified wages paid to each employee regardless of whether they’re full time or part time – making it a great incentive to keep workers on staff while businesses get back on their feet.

Eligible Businesses

Eligible businesses for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) must have had their operations fully or partially suspended due to government orders related to Covid-19.

They also need to have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 20% compared with the same quarter from 2019.

This tax credit applies to all employers regardless of size, including non-profits, so long as they meet these requirements and were in operation on March 12th 2020.

Employers can receive up to $7000 per employee through this program, allowing them to keep staff employed even if business is slow.

How Is the Employee Retention Tax Credit Calculated?

To determine who qualifies for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), businesses must meet certain criteria. In most cases, companies that have seen a decrease in revenue of more than 20 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019 may be eligible. Additionally, employers with fewer than 500 employees are also typically qualified. It’s important to note that these eligibility requirements can vary depending on the size and industry of your business.

Once you’ve determined whether or not you qualify for ERTC, it’s time to calculate how much credit your company is due. This calculation is based on the total wages paid from March 13th through December 31st of 2020—or whatever period your business has been operating during this pandemic year.

The tax credit amount is 50% of each employee’s wages up to $10,000 per employee over that period. For example, if an employer pays a single employee $12,000 in eligible wages between those dates, they would only receive a maximum credit of $10,000 instead of $12,000 since that is the cap set by the IRS for 2021.

In addition to knowing which employees’ wages are considered ‘eligible,’ there are other factors to consider when calculating the Employee Retention Tax Credit such as self-employed individuals and independent contractors; both types of workers may also be entitled to this benefit provided their income meets specific qualifications outlined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

With all of these variables accounted for it’s essential that businesses understand exactly what goes into calculating their own ERTC amounts before moving forward so no credits go unaccounted for come tax season. From here we turn our attention to understanding what counts as eligible wages?

What Are Eligible Wages?

Let’s dive into the subtopics of ‘Qualified Employees’ and ‘Qualifying Wages’ to understand what Eligible Wages are.

We’ll discuss who qualifies as an employee and what wages are considered qualifying wages for the employee retention tax credit.

Qualified Employees

When it comes to the topic of ‘What are Eligible Wages?’, discussing ‘qualified employees’ is a must.

Qualified employees are those that meet certain criteria such as having worked for an employer for at least one year, working at least half-time each week during that period, and receiving wages below a specified amount set by the government.

This helps determine who can receive an employee retention tax credit, providing some financial relief during these trying times.

Knowing what qualifies you or your staff can save time, money and hassle in the long run!

Qualifying Wages

Now that we know who qualifies as an employee, let’s dive into what makes up a qualified wage.

Qualifying wages are generally those paid to the employee in cash or other non-cash benefits for services provided during the period of employment. This includes both regular and overtime pay, bonuses, commissions, tips, vacation payouts, severance payments, health insurance premiums and more.

Knowing which wages qualify can help you maximize your tax credit when filing returns. So it’s important to keep track of all eligible wages throughout the year!

How Can Employers Receive the Credit?

Have you ever wondered how employers can receive a tax credit for employee retention? Many businesses are eligible to apply and take advantage of this great opportunity.

Here’s what you need to know about the employee retention tax credit:

  1. Eligible employers must have seen their gross receipts decline compared to the same quarter in 2019 or 2020.
  2. Employers can claim up to $5,000 per employee from March 13th to December 31st of 2020.
  3. Qualifying wages that can be included in the calculation include health plan expenses, vacation pay, and bonuses paid before January 1st 2021.

Understanding these conditions is key when applying for an employee retention tax credit – but it’s only half the story! To learn more about claiming this valuable benefit, let’s explore how employers can make use of it.

How Can Employers Claim the Credit?

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a credit that employers can receive for retaining their employees during the pandemic. It’s available to eligible employers who keep their staff on payroll, regardless of whether they are able to provide services due to COVID-19 related closures and restrictions.

The credit covers up to 50% of wages paid by an employer in 2020 or 2021, with qualified wages capped at $10,000 per employee each year. In order to claim the ERTC, employers must meet certain eligibility criteria and complete Form 941. They must also have experienced one of two specific conditions: 1) Their operations were fully or partially suspended due to government orders related to COVID-19; 2) A significant decline in gross receipts when compared quarter-over-quarter from 2019.

Businesses claiming the tax credit cannot receive assistance through other relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Employers should be aware that there are limits on how much they can claim – only those with fewer than 500 full time equivalent employees qualify for the full amount. Those who employ more than 500 FTEs may still be eligible but will need to adjust their calculations accordingly.

With this information in mind, business owners can determine if they’re eligible for the credit and begin taking steps towards filing a claim. From here, we turn our attention towards understanding how long the credit is available for…

How Long Is the Credit Available?

Retention tax credits are a great way to help employers retain their employees and keep them engaged with their work. As such, it’s no surprise that many businesses have jumped on the opportunity for these types of credits. However, there is an important question at hand: how long can businesses take advantage of this credit?

The good news is that the retention tax credit has no expiration date – it remains available until December 31, 2021. This means that businesses have plenty of time to benefit from this valuable source of financial assistance.

Here are some key points about the employee retention tax credit:

  • The employer must be eligible for the full amount of the credit during each calendar quarter in which they claim it (generally 50% of up to $10,000 in wages per employee).
  • Eligible employers include those whose operations were partially or fully suspended due to COVID-19 government orders or who experienced significant revenue loss due to COVID-19 business disruptions.
  • Employers may also qualify if they experience a significant decline in gross receipts compared to a prior year quarter.
  • Generally speaking, only wages paid after March 12, 2020 are eligible for the credit.

With its extended availability beyond 2020, the employee retention tax credit offers an invaluable resource for businesses seeking support throughout the ongoing pandemic crisis.

As such, understanding all requirements associated with claiming and utilizing this form of relief is essential so that employers can maximize its potential benefits while taking proactive steps towards maintaining strong workforce stability and engagement.

To ensure proper compliance and eligibility when filing claims related to this type of corporate aid program, employers should pay close attention to what records need to be kept and submitted along with any application forms required by relevant taxing authorities.

What Records Must Employers Keep?

When it comes to employee retention tax credits, employers must ensure that they are keeping track of the relevant records. This includes maintaining accurate payroll and personnel records for each eligible employee, filing applicable forms with the IRS on time, and providing all necessary documentation in a timely manner.

Details about wages paid and credit claimed should be kept up-to-date throughout the year. Keeping good records is essential when claiming any type of tax credit or deduction as well as important from a legal standpoint.

To maximize their savings potential under this provision, employers should also make sure they understand how the entire process works—including eligibility requirements and how to calculate their potential benefit amount. They should also become familiar with other provisions included within the Employee Retention Credit so they can take full advantage of all its features.

Knowing what incentives are available will help them determine if utilizing the tax credit could prove beneficial for their business.

Overall, understanding both recordkeeping requirements and incentive options related to an employer’s participation in the Employee Retention Credit program can help drive maximum cost savings while ensuring compliance with IRS regulations. As such, taking some time to educate oneself on these topics may ultimately pay off down the road. From there, employers can move on to exploring what other incentives may be available to them.

What Other Incentives Are Available to Employers?

Employers looking to retain their employees have options beyond the employee retention tax credit. Other incentives available include providing bonuses or wage increases, offering flexible scheduling and telecommuting opportunities, and creating career development programs.

Bonuses are one of the most popular methods employers use to incentivize their staff members and keep them happy in their roles. Bonuses can be used as a reward for good performance or simply as an additional financial incentive for hard work.

Wage increases are also attractive to employees; they provide more money now while giving workers hope that there will be even more money down the road if they continue to perform well.

Flexible scheduling and telecommuting opportunities can help alleviate stress levels among employees who may otherwise feel trapped in monotonous daily routines. By allowing people greater control over when, where, and how they do their jobs, it makes them feel valued by their employers.

Career development programs allow businesses to invest in their workforce’s professional growth, enabling skilled individuals to stay with a company longer than if these types of initiatives were not offered. Employers should consider implementing various forms of compensation that meet both the needs of their business and those of its valuable team members.


Employers have an opportunity to take advantage of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, which is a valuable incentive for businesses during this difficult time.

Businesses must be mindful and understand the eligibility requirements as well as how to properly claim the credit in order to make sure they are taking full advantage of it.

Through utilization of the CARES Act provisions such as this one, employers can provide much needed relief while also helping their own bottom line.

As we continue to navigate through these challenging times, I encourage employers to explore all options available to them under the CARES Act in order to protect their business and employees.