Employee Retention Credit

A refundable payroll tax credit is available for 50% of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to (1) employers, including nonprofits, whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related shut-down order and (2) employers whose gross receipts declined by more than 50% when compared to the same quarter in the prior year. The credit is based on qualified wages paid to employees. For employers with an average number of full-time employees during 2019 greater than 100, qualified wages are wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to the COVID-19-related circumstances described earlier. For eligible employers with an average number of full-time employees during 2019 of 100 or less, all employee wages qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order. However, wages do not include those taken into account for purposes of the (1) payroll credits for required paid sick leave or required paid family leave under the FFCRA or (2) employer credit for paid family and medical leave (IRC Sec. 45S). In addition, no credit is available with respect to an employee for any period for which the employer is allowed a work opportunity credit under IRC Sec. 51 with respect to that employee. The credit applies to the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, paid to an eligible employee after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021. The Secretary of the Treasury is granted authority to advance payments to eligible employers and to waive applicable penalties for employers that do not deposit applicable payroll taxes in anticipation of receiving the credit. The credit is not available to employers receiving Small Business Interruption Loans (CARES Act Sec. 2301).