Employee Retention Credit Calculator

image of employee calculating erc

Employee Retention Credit Calculator

You could be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a CARES Act provision designed to aid businesses. Don’t be daunted by the process. This guide will help you understand how to qualify, calculate, and claim your ERC.

We’ll delve into employee and wage qualifications, filing timings, and more.

Let’s simplify the ERC and bolster your business.

How Does the ERC Calculation Work?

You’ll need to understand how the Employee Retention Credit works to accurately calculate and maximize your potential credit. The ERC is a refundable payroll tax credit aimed at alleviating the financial burden on small businesses that retained their workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify for the ERC, your business must pass an economic hardship test. This involves demonstrating that your business experienced a substantial decline in gross receipts or had to suspend a considerable portion of its operations due to a government order. Figuring out if you meet these requirements can be complex, but if you do, you’re eligible to claim a tax credit for a percentage of the wages you paid in 2020 and 2021.

The amount of the credit you can claim depends on the number of employees you’ve and the wages you paid. If you’d fewer than 500 employees, you could claim a credit of up to 70% of the qualified wages paid, capped at $10,000 per employee per quarter in 2021. The rules differ slightly for 2020, with the credit rate being 50% of qualified wages, capped at $10,000 per employee for the entire year.

How to Calculate the Employee Retention Credit

It’s crucial to understand the math behind this vital tax incentive to make the most out of it. The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) calculation isn’t a daunting task when you break it down. In 2020, you could claim a credit for 50% of the first $10,000 in qualified wages you paid each employee. In 2021, this percentage increased to 70% of the first $10,000 in qualified wages per quarter. Hence, the maximum ERC amount you can claim per employee is $26,000 between 2020 and 2021.

Now, let’s tackle what qualifies as ‘qualified wages.’ If you employed less than 100 people on average in 2019, all wages paid to your employees in 2020 are eligible. If you’d more than 100 employees, only wages paid to employees not providing services qualify. In 2021, the threshold increased to 500 employees, based on your 2019 staff count.

Don’t forget about your group health plan expenses. These can be added to your qualified wages, including both your contributions as an employer and any pre-tax salary reductions from employees.

Once you’ve your qualified wages, multiply by the appropriate percentage (50% for 2020, 70% for 2021) to get your ERC. If you’re diligent in understanding eligibility, calculating qualified wages, and applying the right percentages, you’ll be able to maximize this valuable tax credit.

Always consult with a tax professional if you’re unsure – it’s worth the effort to get it right!

How to Calculate the ERC as a Recovery Startup Business

As a recovery startup business, you’re probably wondering how to crunch the numbers and figure out your potential tax credit.

Even though your business was established during the pandemic, you can still qualify for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) as a recovery startup. So, let’s dive into the details for a better understanding.

First, ensure you meet the criteria: your business started after February 15, 2020, your average annual gross receipts are less than $1 million, and you fail both versions of the economic hardship test in at least the third quarter of 2021.

Next, calculate your ERC for 70% of the first $10,000 in qualified wages paid to each employee in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. However, take note of the $50,000 quarterly limit, meaning you can only claim a total of $100,000 for those two quarters.

When it comes to qualified wages, remember that they include all earnings subject to FICA and health plan expenses paid by the employer. They must have been received from January 1 to September 30, 2021. Each employee’s wages are capped at $10,000 per quarter.

Lastly, don’t forget to file your ERC timely to ensure eligibility. Use the 941-X form to file an amended 941 or refundable claim. Pay attention to the quarterly deadlines which for Q3 is October 31, 2024.

ERC Calculation Examples

To solidify your understanding of the Employee Retention Credit, let’s explore some specific calculation examples.

These scenarios will illustrate how a small employer in 2020, a large employer in 2021, and a recovery startup business might navigate the ERC process. Each example will shed light on different aspects of the calculation, giving you a comprehensive view of how the ERC operates in varied contexts.

Small Employer in 2020

You’re in luck, since your restaurant operated with less than 100 employees in 2019, you can claim the ERC for all your employees’ wages in 2020.

This includes both those who worked and those who didn’t due to the dine-in services shutdown.

The ERC rate for 2020 is 50% of the first $10,000 in qualified wages per employee.

Your ten employees, each earning $40,000 annually, certainly met this wage limit.

Therefore, you’re able to claim $5,000 per employee – a total ERC of $50,000 for 2020.

Remember, it’s essential to have your claim accurately filed and documented.

Consult with a tax professional to ensure you’re maximizing your credit and meeting all necessary requirements.

Large Employer in 2021

Transitioning from small employers to larger enterprises, let’s delve into calculating the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) as a large employer in 2021.

As a large employer with over 500 employees in 2019, your eligible wages for the ERC calculation are those paid to employees who didn’t provide services. Recall from our example, you’d 200 employees who didn’t work from January to June 2021. Given the decline in your gross receipts during those months, you’re eligible to claim 70% of the first $10,000 in qualified wages for each non-working employee, per quarter.

Here are key points to remember:

  • Only wages paid to non-working employees qualify
  • You can claim 70% of the first $10,000 in wages per employee per quarter
  • The total ERC can reach a substantial sum, providing significant relief during challenging times.

Recovery Startup Business

As a new business owner, it’s crucial to understand how being classified as a recovery startup impacts your potential tax credits. Given your unique situation – starting a landscaping business with 10 employees in 2020, and having less than $1 million in average annual gross receipts – you fall under the recovery startup category.

You’re able to claim a tax credit for 70% of their first $10,000 in qualified wages for the third and fourth quarters of 2021. While you might think you can claim $70,000 per quarter, your credit amount as a recovery startup business can’t exceed $50,000 in a single quarter.

This means you can claim only $100,000 for the 2021 calendar year. Understanding these limitations will allow you to plan effectively and maximize your credits.

How to Calculate ERC Credit with PPP Loans

When calculating your ERC credit with PPP, it’s crucial to remember that only those qualifying wages not covered by PPP funds are eligible for the ERC. This comes into play due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which allowed employers who received PPP to be eligible for the ERC. However, this comes with the stipulation that the ERC can only be claimed for wages not covered by the PPP loan.

Understanding and navigating this can be complex, so here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Employee count: The number of employees you’ve impacts your ERC eligibility. In 2020, you must have employed no more than 100 people. This number increased to 500 in 2021.
  • FICA wages: You must have paid qualifying FICA wages to your employees. This can include health insurance premiums covered by the employer.
  • Non-PPP wages: The ERC can only be claimed for wages that weren’t covered by the PPP loan.

This is where careful record-keeping becomes essential. You’ll need to accurately track which wages were paid with PPP funds and which were not. It’s a complex process, but by staying organized and maintaining accurate records, you can maximize your potential benefits from both the PPP and the ERC.

Always consult with a tax professional or attorney to ensure you’re navigating these processes correctly and efficiently. Being proactive and informed is the key to making the most of these relief programs.


In conclusion, the ERC can be a significant lifeline for your business amidst these challenging times. By understanding eligibility, correctly calculating your credit, and timely filing, you can maximize your benefits.

Our Employee Retention Credit Calculator can simplify this process, helping you retain your employees while sustaining your business.

Remember, every bit counts. Use these tools and steps to navigate with confidence and secure the financial support you need.

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