May An Eligible Employer That Files Quarterly Federal Employment Tax Returns Take Into Account Qualified Wages Paid In A Past Calendar Quarter In Which The Eligible Employer May Have Been Entitled To Claim The Credit, But Elected Not To Do So? – #57 ERC IRS Notice 2021-20

Question #57:
May an eligible employer that files quarterly federal employment tax returns take into account qualified wages paid in a past calendar quarter in which the eligible employer may have been entitled to claim the credit, but elected not to do so?

Found under the J. Claiming the Employee Retention Credit section of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) IRS Notice 2021-20 with updated guidance to help business owners follow the current ERC rules. 

The answer to question #57, May an eligible employer that files quarterly federal employment tax returns take into account qualified wages paid in a past calendar quarter in which the eligible employer may have been entitled to claim the credit, but elected not to do so?, can be found below.

ERC IRS Notice 2021-20 Question #57:

J. Claiming the Employee Retention Credit

May an eligible employer that files quarterly federal employment tax returns take into account qualified wages paid in a past calendar quarter in which the eligible employer may have been entitled to claim the credit, but elected not to do so?

Yes. An eligible employer may file a claim for refund or make an interest-free adjustment by filing Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, for a past calendar quarter to claim the employee retention credit to which it was entitled on qualified wages paid in that past calendar quarter, following the rules and procedures for making those claims or adjustments.

An eligible employer that received a PPP loan and did not claim the employee retention credit may file a Form 941-X for the relevant calendar quarters in which the employer paid qualified wages, but only for qualified wages for which no deemed election was made. See Q/A–49.

A special fourth quarter rule, provided by section 206(e)(2) of the Relief Act, is also available for any qualified wages paid in the second or third quarters of 2020 that were reported as payroll costs on a PPP Loan Forgiveness Application if the loan amount was not forgiven by reason of a decision under section 7A(g) of the Small Business Act.

Example 1: Employer D is an eligible employer and paid qualified wages during the second quarter of 2020 but did not claim an employee retention credit on its second quarter 2020 Form 941. Employer D did not receive a PPP loan. If Employer D subsequently decides to claim the credit to which it is entitled for the second quarter of 2020, Employer D should file a Form 941-X for the previously filed second quarter 2020 Form 941 within the appropriate timeframe to make an interest-free adjustment or claim a refund. Employer D should not use a subsequent Form 941 to claim an employee retention credit for qualified wages paid in the second quarter of 2020.

Example 2: Employer E received a PPP loan of $200,000. Employer E is an eligible employer and paid $250,000 of qualified wages that would qualify for the employee retention credit during the second quarter of 2020. Employer E submitted a PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and reported the $250,000 of qualified wages as payroll costs in support of forgiveness of the entire PPP loan. Employer E received a decision under section 7A(g) of the Small Business Act in the first quarter of 2021 for forgiveness of the entire PPP loan amount of $200,000.

Employer E is not deemed to have made an election with respect to the excess $50,000 of qualified wages that are included in the payroll costs reported on the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application. Accordingly, Employer E may take into account the $50,000 of qualified wages for purposes of the employee retention credit. If Employer E decides to take the $50,000 into account to claim the credit to which it is entitled for 2020, Employer E should file a Form 941-X for the previously filed second quarter 2020 Form 941 within the appropriate timeframe to make an interest-free adjustment or claim a refund for the second quarter, as appropriate. Under these facts, Employer E should not use a subsequent Form 941 to claim an employee retention credit for qualified wages paid in the second quarter of 2020.

Example 3: Same facts as Example 2, except that Employer E’s PPP loan is not forgiven by reason of a decision under section 7A(g) of the Small Business Act. If Employer E decides to claim the credit to which it is entitled for 2020 with regard to the $250,000 of qualified wages, Employer E may file a Form 941-X for the previously filed second quarter Form 941 within the appropriate timeframe to make an interest-free adjustment or claim a refund for the second quarter in 2020. Alternatively, Employer E may use the special fourth quarter rule with respect to the $200,000 of qualified wages included in the payroll costs reported on the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application since the PPP loan was not forgiven, but not with respect to the excess $50,000 of qualified wages even though those amounts were included in the payroll costs reported on the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application.

For more information about the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) IRS Notice 2021-20, visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Department of the Treasury, official IRS.gov tax website.

Conclusion and Summary on May an eligible employer that files quarterly federal employment tax returns take into account qualified wages paid in a past calendar quarter in which the eligible employer may have been entitled to claim the credit, but elected not to do so? – #57 ERC IRS Notice 2021-20

The answer to Question #57: “May an eligible employer that files quarterly federal employment tax returns take into account qualified wages paid in a past calendar quarter in which the eligible employer may have been entitled to claim the credit, but elected not to do so?” was answered in detail above. It was found under section “J. Claiming the Employee Retention Credit” in IRS Notice 2021-20. 

Leave a comment below if you have further questions on the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) or for clarifications on May an eligible employer that files quarterly federal employment tax returns take into account qualified wages paid in a past calendar quarter in which the eligible employer may have been entitled to claim the credit, but elected not to do so?

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Cover Image Credit: Irs.gov / IRS Notice 2021-20 / Disaster Loan Advisors.

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