With the world as we know it changing every day, we have been trying to stay on top of what's happening to help our clients and ourselves. We want to use this changing knowledge to protect our finances, our employees, to know if are eligible for assistance, and how to help our clients navigate through these strange times. Today we are going to be talking about Employee Retention Credit.
Hello, Summerville! We are so excited to see our beautiful town get back to some sense of normal. Everything about our daily and professional lives continues to change, but we are relieved to see that individuals and businesses continue to move forward. One of our main focuses these past two months has been how the current pandemic is affecting our finances. There has been a lot of help thanks to tax day being pushed back, the stimulus relief fund, and the CARES act. Each has seen its ups and downs for individuals and small businesses, bringing a mixture of relief and frustration.
Most of the financial help that we hear about day to day is that for personal finances, but businesses of all sizes have needed just as much help through these difficult times. Many have been required to operate at 50% capacity due to safety protocol during the pandemic while others have been completely shut down after they were deemed nonessential. With the signing of the stimulus relief package and the CARES act, businesses of all sizes were put into consideration. Small business loans and other forms of relief were immediately put into action, although their first big wave was not received well nor handled well.
Just like you as an individual, businesses have been on top of filing and working towards a way to help their companies survive so their employees have a place to come back to when this is all over. Most employers who were able to apply for any kind of assistance did so in March, but there are still opportunities and things to apply for if your company hasn't already. In this blog, we are going to be talking about one of these forms of assistance that is still available to businesses, and that is employee retention credit.
WHAT IS IT?
You may or may not be familiar with this term or what kind of help it provides. This is a business relief provision that encourages employers to keep employees on the payroll, even if they're not working. It helps provide relief to unemployment offices to limit the number of people applying for unemployment. It was also created to help guarantee that employers will have returning employees once they can open up again. Thanks to the creation of the employee retention credit, the government will reward your company for keeping your employees on your payroll and for deciding to choose this assistance. It is refundable tax credit taken against certain employment taxes that can equal up to fifty percent of an employee's wages that you, as an employer, are still providing. The tax credit is fifty percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee that has continued to be paid by the employer. This means that your company can be awarded a $5000 tax credit per qualifying employee. This was created as a business relief provision. The money your company will be receiving is a refundable payroll tax credit for qualified wages that will be paid or have been paid to your employees between March 13th of this year until December 31st of 2020.
You and your company are eligible if you have been directly affected by COVID-19. If you have been forced to work at half capacity due to safety precautions, or you have been forced to shut down entirely because you are a nonessential business, you are eligible. No matter the size of your company, you are still eligible. Your company is eligible for this tax credit if your gross receipts for this current quarter are less than what they were in the same quarter this time last year. You are NOT eligible for this tax credit if you are a governmental employer, or if you are self-employed or a small business that has taken small business loans or other small business loans created to help with issues caused by the pandemic.
WHAT TO KNOW
Once you have decided to pick this type of relief, you can begin claiming it right away by reducing your payroll taxes sent to the IRS. If it ends up that your tax credits exceed your payroll taxes, you can ask for a refund directly from the IRS. If your company has over 100 employees, the only wages that can be obtained are of those who were full time and are not working right now. If you have under 100 employees, you can claim all of your employee's wages regardless if they are working or not. Wages up to $10,000 can be claimed, and this does include how much your company pays towards health insurance for each employee. Since you can claim 50% of this $10,000, the max credit you can receive is $5,000 per employee. The tax credit will be repaid to you after subtracting your share of your employee's social security taxes, and it will be treated like you overpaid your taxes, and it will be returned to you.
In comparison, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was also created to offer similar benefits to businesses. You can't apply for both or receive benefits from both, you have to pick one or the other. When deciding which is best for you and your employees, always pick the aid that will help you and your employees the most, not one or the other. Since the applications for the PPP were suspended on April 17th of this year, this will now dictate your choice of what is available to you and your company. As the country slowly begins to reopen, pay close attention to how this will affect your business. You may be able to go back to work at full capacity, and you may not. There could potentially be more aid coming, we will just have to wait and see what the coming weeks will bring. If you and your company have been unable to receive any kind of benefits, keep your eyes open for this opportunity.
These have been difficult and confusing times. You aren't wrong in feeling overwhelmed and confused. We where are here to support you, Summerville. You are not alone in your fight. Also don't forget, if you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
During one of the worst times in recent history, scams should be the last thing we should be worrying about. But, the truth of the matter is that new scams surrounding the stimulus checks and government bailout programs for small businesses are starting to come to life daily, and are more powerful than ever before.
Almost all of us have been anxiously awaiting the financial relief checks since the approval of the COVID-19 Relief Bill was passed. When will they get here? Who will receive them? How much will you get? On top of all these questions its a sad fact to share that during this terrifying time when we should all be standing together, stronger parties are trying to take advantage of those who have been the most affected by this devastating pandemic. Following in the footsteps of our recent blog about social security scams, we wanted to do a followup blog on the very real reality and the possibility of scams and frauds appearing right now. They could look like the relief checks, the key to getting your check quicker, small business loans, loans to help out larger companies, and even promising the cure for the pandemic all in exchange for your personal information.
Waking up every day to the news right now is difficult. The unknowns are overwhelming and the lines to get toilet paper are still ridiculous. In this time that has brought so many of us together, it is almost impossible to think that yet another attack could be upon us. While many are still working or now working from home, the hauntingly large numbers of those who are now facing unemployment due to the coronavirus are staggering. This is leaving thousands upon thousands of people without a paycheck, unable to provide for their families or even pay their simple bills. Businesses, even if they are still operating on a very small level or have been forced to close or made the conscious decision to close, are also losing money by the day. When the news came that the stimulus package had been approved and relief checks would soon be on their way, a collective sigh of relief was felt among all of us. New small business loans and other relief options for companies are now in place as well. We all will slowly be getting back on our feet, in very small steps one way or another. But, while we wait for these checks, scammers could be and are now rearing their very ugly heads saying that they have your funds and to receive them you must supply them with very personal and private information. Let us stop you right now, and say that is NOT how the stimulus checks will be handled.
You, the American citizen, don't have to do anything or file any kind of paperwork or to receive your stimulus check. The economic impact payment will automatically be deposited into your bank account that was connected to your 2018 and 2019 tax returns. Even if you have received your tax returns in the past as a paper check, the IRS will still deposit the funds into the account they have on file for you automatically. They will also calculate the amount you need based on your income over your 2018 and 2019 tax returns and your personal need. You won't have to do any calculations or send in any kind of paperwork. The IRS will not be contacting you in any way. The IRS did just announce that they will be releasing a brand new website that will allow you to see the status of your stimulus check when it will arrive, and it will also allow you to check the bank account or it is headed to. If there is a problem with the bank account number, you will need to change that right away on the IRS website. The IRS is making updates to their website almost daily, so if you have any questions make sure you visit their website.
We hate that these scams and schemes are very real right now. Since they are, we wanted to make sure that you are on high alert. All of these warnings also apply to small businesses and companies receiving financial support during this time. Please take comfort in the fact that the Department of Justice is forming a legal and integrative response to deal with these frauds. The US Attorney General's office has also developed a special task force along with appointed COVID-19 fraud coordinators to help deal with this situation. Here in the Lowcountry and throughout the state of South Carolina, our District US Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr has also stated that his office and the department of justice are making this type of fraud a priority.
Scary times can become scarier. But, we are here to help all of you through it. Stay alert, stay safe, and stay home. We will get through this Summerville, we know it!
There are warnings on how to prepare for the coronavirus in your personal life, for your family, in your home. But what about how to prepare for your company and guiding your employees? How will the virus impact your company and what is the best way to deal with it as a business owner? What is the best way to work with your employees to help them through the current state of affairs?
The coronavirus - or COVID-19 - has been no stranger from any news platform, social media platform, or any conversation you have. With cases hitting the United States at a growing rate, it's common for big-box stores like Sams Club and Costco to start selling out of paper towels, toilet paper, water, and canned goods. We have seen the virus starting to shut down universities, grade schools, nursing homes, and local businesses. It is also starting to impact our imports, changing how people are traveling, and all the while there is a rising fear of what this could mean for our country and as us as individuals.
Business owners and companies are going to have to deal with new things and issues they've never had before. Managers, human resources, bosses, and project managers will be dealing with anxiety, panic, fear, worry, and doubt from employees. What then? It's time to create a focus of keeping them calm, pushing business to keep operating as normal, and being an understanding leader. All the while you'll need to keep the possibility of shutting down out of necessity, safety, or practicality in the back of your mind. This could mean the loss of income, production, employees, and employee's wages and benefits. Outside the worry of catching the virus, quality of life-based on monetary needs will start weighing on you and your employees. What's going to happen next and what is the best way to handle it?
Legal, emotional, and practical worries are making their way to the forefront for many managers. The CDC and a handful of other government organizations have released all kinds of material on how to prepare, clean, and deal with daily business operations. Take advantage of these resources, they are there to help and calm you through this unknown period. When it comes to working with your employees and steering your company through this unknown period, there will be many things to consider. Read carefully through this list and see how it can help or continue to help your company.
One of the hardest parts of this situation is to separating fear from fact. If your employee is nervous to travel because someone "might" be sick next to them at some point in their travels, this might be fear put on by the media - not because it is an actuality. Also, please be aware that acting differently towards someone in your company, or anywhere, who you feel might be more likely to pass on the virus because of race or where they come from is a nasty form of discrimination and can be grounds for a lawsuit. Overreaction from anyone because of how someone looks and where they come from, will lead to some very sticky issues and situations. We do suggest that before you do make any of these choices to keep your company running smoothly, that you receive counsel from medical professionals, the CDC or proper law advisers.
Panic and fear can destroy a healthy situation, a strong company, and the employees within it. As a leader of your company, set a good example. Be prepared, but don't be afraid. Stay educated on the topic, follow the CDC procedure, and keep up with the statistics of the situation. The media can quickly take something and blow it out of proportion. In this situation, keep your employees calm, and have a plan for what might be ahead. Respect their wishes, and work together to keep healthy and safe.
If you have any questions, are looking for more guidance, or just need a little bit of comfort follow the links below to learn more.
The Pathways Team