Do You Qualify for the Employee Retention Tax Credit?

Find out with our 3-minute Quick Tests.

The expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) provides welcome relief for businesses and organizations hardest-hit by the global pandemic. Optimizing the credit so that it has the best possible impact can be complex – especially if you have FFCRA or other wage-based credits.

Here’s what you need to know.

2020 ERTC qualifications

For 2020, the ERTC is capped at $5,000 per employee. You may qualify for the 2020 ERTC if:

  • Operations were fully or partially suspended by a government order, or
  • Gross receipts were less than 50% compared to the same quarter in 2019, or
  • You experienced a decline in gross receipts of 20% or more during the first two quarters of 2020 compared to the same two quarters in 2019


2021 ERTC qualifications

For 2021, the cap increases to up to $14,000 per employee ($7,000 per quarter for the first two quarters).

Here’s an overview of other 2021 changes:

  • The definition of operations suspended by government authority is expanded to include orders limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19.
  • Employee numbers increase to 500 or fewer (up from 100 or fewer) and more than 500 (up from more than 100).
  • If the business experienced a 20% reduction in gross receipts compared to the same calendar quarter in 2019 (Not 2020!) – you also have the option to compare the immediately preceding quarter to the corresponding quarter of 2019.
  • Qualified wages must be paid between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.
  • The maximum of qualified wages increases to $10,000 per employee per quarter with a 70% tax credit rate – for a maximum of $14,000 per employee for 2021.


NOTE: Obtaining a PPP loan does NOT disqualify you from the ERTC. And, credits for 2020 can be obtained retroactively – it’s not too late!

What happens next?

A member of our COVID-19 Advisory Team will review your Quick Test results and contact you with recommendations and next steps.

Timing is everything – true-up calculations are due just days after the quarter’s last payroll. Working with a qualified tax professional can give you the peace of mind you need to focus on the future. Take the Quick Test now.

Barnes Dennig COVID-19 Advisory Team

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