The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) was introduced to protect jobs and keep businesses afloat during the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the nascent nature of this relief credit has resulted in several myths clouding its very intent and purpose.
The ERTC is a component of the CARES Act, enacted in the thick of the pandemic’s ravaging spree in early 2020. This tax credit was designed to incentivize small businesses to retain their workforce, despite the economic downturn registering an unprecedented nosedive.
Let’s unleash some hard-hitting truths around ERTC qualification:
Many businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs erroneously believe that one cannot receive both PPP and ERTC benefits. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
The CARES Act has made it abundantly clear that businesses can qualify for and receive funds from both PPP and ERTC, perk up their revenues, and stay afloat through the pandemic.
Another proprietary myth that continues to float around is the supposed conflict between PPP Debt Forgiveness and ERTC eligibility. Here’s the deal –
A government-mandated shutdown, as far as ERTC eligibility is concerned, refers to specific closures or caps on businesses ordered by the government.
What happens when the government orders partial restrictions instead of a total shutdown? Does it qualify your business for the ERTC? The answer, in simple terms, is yes. But only if the partial restrictions extend beyond a ‘nominal’ portion of the business.
The process of claiming the ERTC isn’t as simple as raising a hand and getting a check. It requires an in-depth documentation of a business’s eligibility. This is purely to shepherd businesses safely through the looming IRS audits.
Remember, the documentation needs to be as detailed and comprehensive as possible because in case of an audit, documented proof will be your best defense.
Failing to provide adequate documentation, unfortunately, is more common than you’d expect. The repercussions? You may have to pay back the credit, with interest, and might also incur penalties.
A frequently uttered rhetoric in the small business circle is: “If my supplier shuts down due to the pandemic, does it make me eligible for the ERTC?” Yes, but the criteria are strict.
The CARES Act offers relief to small businesses through two primary channels: the PPP and the ERTC. While the PPP is a loan, the ERTC offers businesses tax credits that, unlike loans, don’t need to be repaid.
It is recommended for small businesses to partner with a tax professional or an experienced accountant to navigate the nitty-gritty of both the ERTC and PPP eligibility and benefits. Do not risk jeopardizing your business’s survival because of avoidable mistakes or oversights.
ERTC has made its way onto the IRS’ annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ list, warning people and businesses about the prevalent malpractices and fraudulent claims. The IRS has stepped up enforcement action, making it clear that these are not simple misdemeanors, but punishable offenses.
In its pursuit to protect taxpayers from scams and schemes, the IRS has ramped up its vigilance, and set in place guidelines to ensure that conscientious taxpaying businesses stay informed, beware of third-party promoters, and understand how to claim the ERTC properly.
Many businesses misunderstand ERTC qualification – assuming profit drops are the yardstick for ERTC eligibility. However, it is the reduction in revenue that counts. The ERTC qualification threshold is a revenue drop of just 20%!
The ERTC is not profit-driven but revenue-driven. Contrary to popular belief, businesses can qualify for the ERTC regardless of their profit or loss margins.
In the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, the ERTC saw several updates designed to expand eligibility and increase the credit amount. An important addition is the inclusion of businesses that took PPP loans in the list of ERTC-eligible businesses.
Experts project that the ERTC will continue to play a pivotal role until at least calendar quarter 2, 2023, to help businesses rebound from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yes. Businesses with a revenue drop of 20% or more qualify for ERTC, regardless of their profit margins.
While not a mandate, hiring a tax professional to navigate ERTC and PPP is highly recommended.
Absolutely! Inadequate or inaccurate documentation can trigger an IRS audit, which could lead to the repayment of the credit with interest and added penalties.
The 2021 ERTC update expanded its scope to include businesses with PPP loans, thereby helping them strengthen their revenue cycle and secure their financial continuity.
Fraudulent ERTC claims can result in substantial fines, penalties, and even criminal investigations.
In summary, the ERTC continues to be a valuable tool for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the misconceptions and misunderstandings, debunking the myths and understanding the qualification criteria is paramount to maximize the benefits of this critical tax credit.
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