Navigating government rules and regulations can often feel like trying to find your way through a maze. The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is no exception.
While the ERC has proven helpful for businesses affected by the pandemic, it has undergone several changes over time, making it a bit confusing to keep track of where things stand today.
For instance, businesses that file quarterly employment tax returns have the opportunity to submit Form 941-X, which allows them to claim the ERC for previous quarters in 2020 and 2021. This provides a way for businesses to recoup the financial losses incurred during those challenging periods.
Below, we explore the general purpose of Form 941-X, highlight important filing deadlines, and address common questions surrounding the ERC. Understanding the intricacies of the ERC and its associated application form is crucial for businesses looking to maximize their tax benefits and ensure compliance with the ever-evolving regulations.
What Is The Employee Retention Credit?
The ERC is a valuable tax credit introduced by the US government to provide financial relief to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially implemented as part of the CARES Act in 2020, the ERC has since undergone amendments and extensions to further support struggling businesses.
The ERC offers significant benefits to eligible businesses. It provides a refundable tax credit against employment taxes, allowing businesses to offset a portion of the qualified wages they paid to their employees. This credit helps alleviate the financial burden caused by the pandemic and encourages businesses to retain their employees, promoting stability and continuity in the workforce.
Understanding the changes to the ERC between 2020 and 2021 is crucial for businesses looking to make the most of this credit. To gain a comprehensive overview of the amendments and updates, you can refer to our ERC 2020 vs 2021 comparison. It outlines the key differences and provides valuable insights into maximizing the benefits of the ERC.
When applying for the ERC, it is essential to use the correct forms. The Employee Retention Credit Application Form, such as Form 941-X for businesses filing quarterly employment tax returns, ensures accurate reporting and facilitates the smooth processing of the credit. Filing the correct forms in a timely manner is critical to avoid any delays or complications in receiving the deserved financial relief.
Can I Still Apply For Employee Retention Credit?
While the ERC was set to expire on October 1, 2021, you may still take advantage of the tax relief if you’re business qualifies. So, if you didn’t apply for the credit earlier, you could still apply for ERC retroactive claims. In addition, the IRS has set deadlines for filing which extend until 2025.
Here are the filing deadlines you should keep in mind:
- For all quarters in 2020 (Q1-4): ERC claims must be filed by April 15, 2024.
- For all quarters in 2021 (Q1-4): ERC claims must be filed by April 15, 2025.
Subsequent amendments have also introduced some changes to the ERC for the third and fourth quarters of 2021. These changes include:
- Eligibility for employers who paid qualifying salaries between June 30, 2021, and January 1, 2022.
- Inclusion of “recovery startups” in the list of qualified employers.
- Modifications to the qualifying salaries for “severely financially troubled employers.”
Although these changes accommodate even more beneficiaries, it’s worth noting the credit maximums remain unchanged for calendar quarters in 2021.
If you have doubts about your eligibility for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), we suggest scheduling a complimentary 10-minute consultation call with Omega Accounting, the highly regarded ERC service recognized by Merchant Maverick. Omega Accounting specializes in assisting businesses in successfully claiming their COVID support funds provided by the CARES Act.
What Is Form 941-X?
To claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) retroactively, eligible companies are required to file Form 941-X, also known as the Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund. This form has undergone significant changes to accommodate the correction of COVID-19-related employment tax credits previously reported on Form 941. It allows businesses to rectify errors and claim the ERC within the specified deadlines set by the IRS.
Form 941-X serves multiple purposes, primarily aimed at correcting errors on previously filed Form 941. Some of the corrections that can be made using this form include:
- Wages, tips, and other compensation
- Income tax withheld from wages, tips, and other compensation
- Taxable social security wages
- Taxable social security tips
- Taxable Medicare wages and tips
- Taxable wages and tips subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding
- Deferred amount of the employer share of social security tax
- Deferred amount of the employee share of social security tax
- Qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities
If you identify an error on a previously filed Form 941, you must correct it using Form 941-X. It is important to note that each Form 941 being corrected requires a separate Form 941-X to be filed. The IRS advises businesses to file Form 941-X separately and not together with Form 941.
However, if you failed to file Form 941 because you mistakenly treated your employees as nonemployees, you may need to file Form 941-X with Form 941. Please refer to the IRS instructions in such circumstances.
If you didn’t file a Form 941 for one or more quarters, Form 941-X should not be used. Instead, you should file Form 941 for each of those quarters individually.
How Do I File Form 941-X for Employee Retention Credit?
Filing Form 941-X may seem like a daunting task, but breaking it down into simple steps can help you navigate the process smoothly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing Form 941-X:
Step 1: Obtain the form. Visit the official IRS website (irs.gov) and search for Form 941-X. Download the latest version of the form, along with the accompanying instructions.
Step 2: Gather the necessary information. Collect all the relevant information required to complete Form 941-X, such as your business details, tax identification number, and the specific quarters you’re correcting.
Step 3: Complete the form accurately. Carefully follow the instructions provided with Form 941-X to ensure accurate completion. Fill in the appropriate boxes and sections, providing correct details for each correction being made.
Step 4: Include supporting documentation. Attach any necessary supporting documentation, such as amended payroll records or revised calculations, to substantiate the corrections you’re making.
Step 5: Double-check and review. Before submitting Form 941-X, thoroughly review all the information provided. Ensure that all numbers and details are accurate and consistent.
Step 6: Submit the form. Send the completed Form 941-X, along with any supporting documentation, to the IRS according to the instructions provided. Be sure to retain a copy of the form for your records.
By following these steps, you can confidently file Form 941-X to claim the Employee Retention Credit. Remember, if you encounter any difficulties or have specific questions, it’s advisable to consult with a tax professional or reach out to the IRS for guidance.
Amendments to the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) have brought about significant changes, expanding the eligibility criteria and extending the period for applying for valuable tax credits. With the introduction of the IRS Form 941-X, businesses can now retroactively apply for the ERC and claim their entitled benefits.
It is crucial for employers and businesses to stay updated on the latest regulations and deadlines related to the ERC. Note down the important filing deadlines provided by the IRS and ensure all forms, including Form 941-X, are accurately completed before submission. Taking these steps will help avoid potential complications and ensure a smooth process.
The ERC offers a valuable opportunity for businesses to alleviate the financial burden caused by the pandemic and secure necessary funds for their operations. By staying informed, being proactive, and leveraging the resources available, eligible companies can maximize their benefits through the ERC and contribute to their long-term success.
Should any concerns or questions arise during the application process, it is highly recommended to reach out to the IRS directly or consult with a tax professional who can provide expert guidance.