California Attorneys, Lawyers, and Law Firms Employee Retention Credit in CA (revised 2024)

Cover Image Credit: / Lacheev / Disaster Loan Advisors.

California lawyers, law firms, attorneys and legal professionals in CA that were economically harmed during the pandemic will qualify for the employee retention tax credit. With California Courts shutdown and then limited, legal businesses suffered during 2020 and 2021 in CA.

In California, there are currently 90,120 California Lawyers employed according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is a 3.1% change from the previous year. The average California Attorney salary is $176,610 in annual wages in CA.

The State Bar of California regulates and licenses attorneys and lawyers in CA.

Other California Attorney statistics from the American Bar Association (ABA) estimate 170,306 Lawyers certified in CA.

All the State of California legal occupations employ about 145,660 legal professionals that earn an average of $137,110 per year in CA wages.

Did your California CPA, accountant, tax expert, or financial planner tell you that your California law practice does not qualify for the employee retention credit in CA? They may be completely wrong. Don’t rely on the information provided by California professionals who may be unaware of all the detailed IRS guidelines that qualify for the ERC in California.

Key ERC Credit Takeaways You Will Learn:

  • ERC Benefits for Legal Firms: California law firms can claim Employee Retention Credits.
  • Understanding ERC Eligibility: Determine if your legal practice qualifies for ERC.
  • Calculating the Credit: Learn how to calculate potential ERC benefits for your firm.
  • ERC Claim Process: Understand the steps to apply for the Employee Retention Credit.
  • Maximizing ERC Claims: Tips for California legal firms to maximize ERC benefits.

See Important 2024 Employee Retention Tax Credit Deadline Information at the Bottom of This Article.

California Employee Retention Tax Credit for Lawyers and Attorneys in CA

California attorneys, law offices, lawyers, and other specialized legal professionals in CA are eligible to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). They can receive up to 50% of their qualified wages paid between March 12th, 2020, and December 31st, 2020, in the form of a refundable tax credit from the IRS.

California legal businesses that were established before February 15th, 2020, can receive a refundable tax credit amounting to 70% of qualified salaries and wages paid between January 1st, 2021, and September 30th, 2021. For CA law firms created or acquired after that date (referred to as a Recovery Start up), they are eligible for employee wage reimbursement up until December 31st, 2021.

The employee retention credit may be retroactively claimed for 2020 and 2021, through 2023, 2024, and 2025 for your legal practice or firm in California.

CA Employee Retention Credit, How it Works in California

With the California requirements and amount of the ERTC tax credits continually changing with the ERC program, CA attorneys, lawyers, and law firm principals and partners may find it difficult to understand if they qualify and how much they can claim. 

To maximize the benefits from this California employee retention tax credit, you must understand which quarters are eligible as well as which employees, wages, and payments meet the criteria for receiving the tax credit.

California Employee Retention Credit Eligibility Requirements for Law Firms, Attorneys, and Lawyers in CA

California legal firms can take advantage of employee retention credit in several ways.

For a California law office to be eligible for the program, it must have gone through an entire or partial closure because of COVID-19 government regulations or any other kind of government-mandated shut down during certain periods in either 2020 or 2021 as a result of this global pandemic.

A California law firm must demonstrate that it has had either a 2020 quarter with gross receipts at least 50% lower than the same quarter in 2019, or in 2021, quarters with 20% fewer gross receipts compared to the corresponding quarters of 2019. Each three-month period of 2020 and 2021 should be compared to its equivalent month period in 2019.

In California, did your law firm experience any of these?

Full or Partial Shutdowns in CA

If your legal office was fully or partially shut down for even a few days due to COVID-19, it would qualify your California law firm for the ERC tax credit.

California Shuttered Courts 

Maybe your CA office is not in the county where the courtrooms are, and the local government courtrooms and legal buildings were closed mostly. In this case, you were not able to proactively pursue cases. Therefore, the opposing party or company being sued had zero incentive to settle. This is a valid example for you to qualify to receive the tax credit in California.

Limitations on Jury Trials in California

Due to the shutdown in court operations, the number of jury trials is greatly reduced. This means that even if your legal office is not in the area of the closed courtrooms, you can still be eligible for the tax credit.

No In-Person California Depositions

The inability to conduct in-person depositions has also led to decreased civil court proceedings. Therefore, you may qualify for the tax credit if your law firm has been affected by this limitation.

No In-Person Client Meetings in CA

In some cases, due to the pandemic, CA attorneys were not able to meet with their clients in person. This was an obstacle for California attorneys in defending their cases. If your CA legal office dealt with this situation and had a decrease in revenue due to it, you may be eligible for the ERC tax credit.

Some California law firms may have had to reduce their clients’ services due to COVID-19, such as not offering in-person legal consultations due to travel restrictions or self-quarantine requirements. If that is the case for you, your legal consultation may be eligible for the ERC tax credit in California.

Accurately calculating the California employee retention credit for your firm requires attention to detail, especially when it comes to determining your total gross wages paid during a quarter. Without accurately calculating this figure, you won’t be able to receive the full benefit of this tax credit. Therefore, having a comprehensive understanding of how best to calculate these figures is essential.

Although the process of applying for the California ERTC has changed a bit, there’s still time to claim your ERC tax refund. Remember that this window won’t be open forever – it’ll shut in 2023, 2024, and 2025 based on 2020-2021 quarter evaluations. Don’t worry about running out of funds either. These refunds are calculated using each business’ qualifications and financials. The only way you can miss out is by not filing prior to the given deadlines for your practice in California.

Conclusion and Summary for California Attorneys, Lawyers, and Law Firms Employee Retention Credit in CA

To ensure your California Law Firm is in compliance with the Employee Retention Credit, it’s critical to keep all original records, including paystubs, W-2s, and other documents related to legal employee wages. Additionally, any government shutdown executive orders or restrictions in California should be documented.

By understanding the rules of the employee retention credit, law firms, attorneys, and lawyers in California can make sure they’re getting all the financial relief tax benefits due to them. The ERTC provides an opportunity for legal businesses affected by COVID-19 in California to recoup some financial losses.

Disaster Loan Advisors™ can assist your law business with the complex and confusing Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) program, without you having to sacrifice an excessive percentage of your hard-earned ERC refund. 

DLA doesn’t charge a percent like many companies do. Our flat fee structure is fair and reasonable based on the amount of work involved. Keep More of Your Refund™ 

Depending on eligibility, legal professionals and law firm principals and partners can receive up to $26,000 per employee based on the number of W2 employees you had on the payroll in 2020 and 2021.

The ERC / ERTC Program is a valuable IRS tax credit you can claim for your California law practice.

Schedule Your Free California Employee Retention Credit Consultation to see what amount of employee retention credit tax refund you qualify for your legal practice in California.

ERC Deadline Urgency in 2024

April 15, 2024 Deadline for the 2020 ERC Tax Year

The deadline is coming up for the final opportunity to retroactively claim your business Employee Retention Credit for the past 2020 tax year. With the April 15, 2024 deadline fast approaching, we urge you; don’t let this final chance pass!

While not all businesses will qualify, as it depends on multiple factors per IRS Rules and Guidelines, you might be leaving significant financial relief on the table from prior COVID impact to your business during the past 2020 and 2021 business operation years.

Last year, in September 2023, the IRS temporarily paused processing ERC Claims for the remainder of last year. We at Disaster Loan Advisors (DLA) predicted this over one year ago when we made this ERC video warning business owners. See the ten-minute mark of the video for details. 


Even though the IRS has temporarily paused processing, you will still want to check eligibility and file now (if you qualify) because once the IRS will resume processing, ERC tax credit claims are processed in the order they are received.

If you haven’t previously filed for the ERC Credit, it is worth scheduling a phone call to at least explore your possible eligibility from both the past 2020 and 2021 business tax years. Contact us today for a deep-dive analysis to determine if your business qualifies one or more quarters from the 2020 and / or 2021 tax years.

Mark Monroe