Claiming ERC for 2023: Unlocking Financial Opportunities for Small Businesses in 2024

Written by Bryce Allen
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In the dynamic landscape of 2023, small businesses face both challenges and opportunities, especially in navigating the intricate world of tax credits.

At Rooled, we recognize the crucial role that tax planning plays in ensuring financial health and growth. In this series, we delve into one of the pivotal credits of the year—the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

The Employee Retention Credit, enacted as part of the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, remains a powerful financial tool for businesses. Designed to support employers who continued paying employees during challenging times, the ERC offers a refundable tax credit for qualified wages.

As the IRS introduces new compliance measures and pauses on processing new claims, comprehending the nuances of the ERC becomes paramount for small businesses. At Rooled, we believe that informed decisions pave the way for financial success. Join us as we unravel the complexities of ERC eligibility, recent updates, and the strategic insights necessary for small businesses to thrive in 2023.

ERC Basics: Unveiling the Core Principles

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) stands as a pivotal component of the economic relief measures introduced to counter the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This refundable tax credit, embedded within the CARES Act, serves a critical purpose—to provide financial support to businesses that persevered in paying their employees despite the economic disruptions.

At its core, the ERC aims to empower employers who demonstrated resilience during the pandemic, offering a lifeline to sustain operations and retain valuable workforce talent. Recognizing the significance of this credit, Rooled is dedicated to guiding businesses through the intricacies of ERC eligibility and application.

To harness the benefits of the ERC in 2023, businesses must meet specific eligibility requirements. Qualified employers can claim the ERC on original or amended employment tax returns for qualified wages paid between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2021. Key eligibility factors include:

  • Operational Impact: A full or partial suspension of operations due to government orders limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings because of COVID-19 during 2020 or the first three quarters of 2021.
  • Gross Receipts Decline: Experiencing a significant decline in gross receipts during 2020 or a decline in the first three quarters of 2021.
  • Recovery Startup Business: Qualifying as a recovery startup business for the third or fourth quarters of 2021.

Navigating these criteria demands a keen understanding of your business’s unique circumstances, and Rooled is here to provide the guidance needed to unlock the full potential of the ERC. 

Key Benefits of ERC: Maximizing Financial Advantages

In navigating the economic landscape of 2023, businesses are strategically leveraging the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) for tangible financial gains. One of the primary advantages lies in its ability to significantly alleviate financial burdens. Through the ERC, eligible businesses can access a refundable tax credit for qualified wages, providing a direct injection of funds crucial for sustaining operations and supporting employee retention initiatives.

This credit translates into real, impactful financial relief. Businesses that sustained operations during government-ordered shutdowns or faced a decline in gross receipts can unlock substantial credits, offering a lifeline in challenging economic climates. At Rooled, we understand that every dollar matters, and the ERC stands as a powerful instrument in fortifying the financial health of businesses, both small and large.

The ERC’s influence extends beyond immediate financial relief; it strategically impacts payroll tax credits. Eligible employers can offset their payroll tax liabilities with the ERC, allowing for enhanced flexibility in allocating resources. This not only supports the bottom line but also fosters an environment conducive to continued growth and stability.

As businesses strive for financial resilience in 2023, the ERC emerges as a crucial ally. Rooled is committed to unraveling the intricate layers of ERC utilization, ensuring businesses maximize their financial advantages and solidify their position in the evolving economic landscape. 

2023 Updates and Changes: Navigating the Evolving Landscape

As businesses embark on their journey through 2023, a critical aspect of ERC utilization lies in understanding the updated regulations governing this essential tax credit. Notably, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented a pause on accepting new ERC applications until at least December 31, 2023. This proactive measure stems from the need to tighten restrictions, specifically targeting fraudulent claims that pose risks to the integrity of the program.

The pause on accepting applications serves as a safeguard against potential misuse of the ERC. The IRS, in response to misleading marketing campaigns, has intensified its scrutiny of ERC claims. This pause allows for enhanced compliance reviews and introduces new compliance measures to protect businesses from penalties or interest payments linked to inaccurate claims. Rooled underscores the significance of this pause, emphasizing the IRS’s commitment to maintaining the credibility of the ERC.

A pivotal change in the ERC landscape for 2023 is the introduction of a new deadline. Businesses aiming to claim the ERC for the 2023 fiscal year must adhere to the extended deadline of April 15, 2024. This deadline aligns with the postmark or filed date of any claim, providing businesses with a timeframe to navigate the complexities of ERC applications while ensuring compliance with the latest regulations.

Rooled’s Expertise: Ensuring Accurate and Qualified ERC Applications

Navigating the intricate details of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in 2023 demands not just knowledge but expertise. At Rooled, our seasoned professionals specialize in guiding businesses through the complex ERC landscape, ensuring that every application is not only accurate but also qualifies for the maximum benefits available.

Our commitment to excellence goes beyond mere compliance; we are dedicated to unlocking the full potential of the ERC for our clients. With a deep understanding of the updated 2023 regulations, we meticulously review and prepare applications, leveraging our expertise to maximize financial advantages while safeguarding against potential pitfalls. 

Rooled stands as your trusted partner in ERC applications, ensuring that your business not only meets regulatory requirements but also optimizes its position in claiming this vital tax credit.

Claiming Process: Navigating the ERC Journey

Embarking on the journey to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in 2023 necessitates a clear understanding of the claiming process. At Rooled, we guide businesses through this intricate path with a step-by-step approach. Begin by assessing your eligibility against the specific criteria outlined for 2023. Identify the qualifying periods, ensuring your business aligns with the operational impact, gross receipts decline, or recovery startup status.

Next, meticulously gather the necessary documentation to substantiate your claim. This includes records of government orders impacting your operations, financial statements reflecting gross receipts, and any additional evidence validating your eligibility.

Success in ERC claims hinges on comprehensive documentation. Our experts at Rooled understand the nuances of what the IRS demands for a successful claim. As the IRS resumes accepting applications, it is crucial to anticipate heightened scrutiny. The IRS’s commitment to combating fraudulent claims may lead to increased strictness in reviewing applications. Therefore, meticulous attention to detail is paramount in compiling accurate and well-supported documentation.

For a successful claim, businesses must be prepared to provide clear evidence of the impact on operations, the decline in gross receipts, or recovery startup status during the specified periods. Rooled’s commitment is to ensure that our clients not only meet but exceed these documentation requirements, positioning them for a successful ERC claim in this evolving regulatory landscape.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid: Navigating ERC Challenges

As businesses delve into the process of claiming the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in 2023, it is imperative to be mindful of common pitfalls that may pose challenges along the way. At Rooled, we recognize the importance of proactive navigation, offering insights to help businesses sidestep potential hurdles and ensure a smooth ERC claiming experience.

Identification of Potential Challenges:

  1. Incomplete Documentation: One prevalent pitfall involves incomplete or inadequate documentation. Insufficient proof of the impact on operations, gross receipts decline, or recovery startup status can lead to delayed or rejected claims.
  2. Misinterpretation of Eligibility Criteria: The intricate eligibility criteria for 2023 demand careful consideration. Misinterpretation may result in inaccurate claims, jeopardizing the overall success of the ERC application.
  3. Inadequate Understanding of Regulatory Updates: The evolving ERC landscape requires businesses to stay informed about the latest regulatory updates. Failure to grasp the nuances may lead to non-compliance and missed opportunities.

Tips to Navigate Common Pitfalls:

  1. Thorough Documentation Review: Prioritize a meticulous review of all supporting documentation. Ensure that it aligns seamlessly with the specified criteria, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  2. Expert Guidance: Leverage the expertise of professionals well-versed in ERC regulations. Rooled’s seasoned team offers guidance to navigate complex eligibility criteria and documentation requirements.
  3. Continuous Monitoring of Regulatory Changes: Stay vigilant about ongoing updates in ERC regulations. Regularly monitor IRS communications to remain informed and adapt your claiming strategy accordingly.

Empowering Businesses for 2024: Unlocking the ERC Advantage

In navigating the intricate terrain of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) for the fiscal year 2023, businesses embark on a journey that transcends mere compliance—it’s a strategic investment in financial resilience. The significance of the ERC lies not only in its potential financial advantages but also in its role as a catalyst for businesses seeking to thrive in an evolving fiscal landscape.

As we navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape, the pause in ERC applications serves as a reminder of the IRS’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of this valuable credit. This pause underscores the need for businesses to approach ERC claiming with a heightened focus on accuracy and compliance. At Rooled, we stand as your ally, offering a beacon of expertise to guide you through the nuances of ERC claiming, ensuring that every application is not only qualified but maximally advantageous.

Now, more than ever, businesses must recognize the ERC as a strategic tool for financial optimization. The extended deadline of April 15, 2024, provides a window of opportunity to strategically position your business for success. As we navigate this journey together, Rooled encourages businesses to explore and leverage the ERC to its full potential. Let this credit be a cornerstone in your financial strategy, unlocking opportunities for growth, resilience, and sustained success in 2024 and beyond.

About the Author

Bryce Allen

Bryce Allen is the Director of Tax at Rooled, Inc., in his 16th year of public accounting firm experience. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting at San Jose State University. R&D tax credit guidance is a key area of Bryce's expertise.