Are wages used for employee retention credit deductible?

The ERC, a refundable credit, is not included in gross income, but is subject to expense relief rules, which generally require the reduction of deductible wage expenses by the amount of the ERC received. These FAQs are not included in the Internal Revenue Bulletin and therefore cannot be relied upon as a legal authority. This means that the information cannot be used to support a legal argument in a court case. An employer that receives a tax credit for qualified wages, including the attributable expenses of the qualified health plan, does not include the credit in gross income for federal income tax purposes.

Neither the part of the credit that reduces employment taxes applicable to the employer nor the refundable part of the credit are included in the employer's gross income. The client employer is responsible for avoiding a “double benefit” with respect to the employee retention credit and the credit under section 45S of the Internal Revenue Code. The client employer cannot use the wages that were used to claim the employee retention credit and declared by the third-party payer on behalf of the client employer to request the $45 credit on their income tax return. Any eligible employer can choose not to apply the employee retention credit for any calendar quarter by not requesting the credit on the employer's payroll tax return.

The credit is fully refundable because the eligible employer can receive a refund if the amount of the credit exceeds certain federal employment taxes owed by the eligible employer. Refund tax credits can be higher than the payroll taxes paid and higher than what the company can receive in PPP loans. FAQ 86 states that employers who receive a tax credit for eligible wages and health care expenses do not include the credit in their gross income for federal income tax. The best way to ensure that you receive all the credits you're eligible for is to contact a professional familiar with ERC tax returns.

If an eligible employer uses an uncertified PEO to declare and pay its federal payroll taxes, the PEO must declare the employee retention credit on an aggregated Form 941 and separately declare the employee retention credit attributable to employers for whom it submits the added Form 941 in the attached Annex R. The ERC expense denial uses § 280C, which covers refunds of tax credits and their relationship to expenses. This includes obtaining information regarding the customer's credit requests under section 45S of the Internal Revenue Code and the FFCRA, as well as whether the customer has received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan authorized under the CARES Act. Applying for the employee retention credit is easy and requires only a few simple steps to receive your refund.

The customer, the employer and the third party payer will each be responsible for the payroll taxes due as a result of any improper request for employee retention credits that are unduly requested in accordance with their liability under the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations applicable to payroll taxes declared in the payroll tax return filed by the third party payer in which the credit was requested. The employee retention credit is equivalent to 50 percent of the qualifying wages (including qualifying health plan expenses) that an eligible employer pays in a calendar quarter. If a third-party payer (CPEO, PEO, or a 3504 agent) applies for the employee retention credit on behalf of the customer's employer, they must collect from the customer all the information necessary to accurately apply for the employee retention credit on behalf of their customer. The credit is allowed against employer participation in social security taxes under section 3111 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) and the portion of taxes imposed on railroad employers under section 3221 (a) of the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) that corresponds to social security taxes under section 3111 (a) of the Code.

An eligible employer can file their own Form 7200, on the prepayment of employer credits due to COVID-19, to apply for early credit. Employers that qualify for the ERC are those that have experienced partial or total closures of their businesses due to government orders during the pandemic. In addition, an eligible employer can file a request for reimbursement and make an interest-free adjustment for a previous quarter to claim the employee retention credit to which they were entitled in a previous quarter, following the rules and procedures for making such requests or adjustments. .

Dustin Hafferkamp
Dustin Hafferkamp

Incurable pop culture enthusiast. Unapologetic pop culture practitioner. Hardcore travel advocate. Certified tv enthusiast. Lifelong food junkie.

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