ERC Qualifications Help

erc qualifications help

ERC Qualifications Help

You’re knee-deep in the ERC maze, but don’t fret! This guide’s here to help you understand and maximize your benefits.

If COVID-19’s caused a dip in receipts or disrupted operations, you might be eligible for tax credits. Let’s unravel the complexities of ERC qualifications together, and see what difference they can make to your business’s financial health.

Read on to decode these crucial elements and ensure you’re not missing out on potential benefits.


Let’s dive into the overview of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a significant financial relief measure you might be eligible for if your business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This credit is available to many organizations, including hospitals, 501(c)s, colleges, and universities. If your organization fits the bill, you can claim the ERC for quarterly periods in 2020 and/or 2021.

Your eligibility for the Employee Retention Credit hinges on several factors. For instance, you could qualify if you’ve seen a notable drop in gross receipts. We’ll delve into the specific percentage requirements for this in a later section. Alternatively, if a government order impacting commerce, travel, or group meetings resulted in a full or partial suspension of your operations, you could be eligible for ERC. It’s important to note that the credit, in this case, applies only to the period of each quarter when business activity was halted, not the full quarter.

For Q3 and Q4 of 2021, there are two additional designations that could make you eligible for the ERC: Severely Financially Distressed Employer and Recovery Startup Business. If your organization falls into either of these categories, you might be able to claim the credit.

A Substantial Decrease in Total Revenue – 2020 and 2021

In light of the pandemic, if you’ve seen a significant drop in your organization’s gross receipts during 2020 or 2021, you could qualify for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). The ERC is a tax relief measure designed to support employers who’ve experienced financial setbacks due to COVID-19.

If your business saw a decline of at least 50% iIn total revenue for. a quarter in 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019, you may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit for that quarter. However, the bar was set lower in 2021. A 20% decline iIn total revenue for. a quarter in 2021, compared to the same quarter in 2019, could make you eligible.

You also have the option to use the alternate quarter election rule, which allows you to compare the prior quarter’s gross receipts to the same quarter in 2019, to determine your eligibility. For example, a 22% decline in Q1 2021 vs Q1 2019 would qualify you for the ERC in both Q1 and Q2 2021.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • In 2020, a 50% decline iIn total revenue for. a quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2019, makes you eligible for the ERC.
  • In 2021, a 20% decline iIn total revenue for. a quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2019, qualifies you for the Employee Retention Credit.
  • You can use the alternate quarter election rule to determine your eligibility.
  • A significant decline in one quarter can validate ERC claims for multiple quarters.
  • If you don’t qualify based on gross receipts, other qualifications may apply.

It’s vital to understand these guidelines to maximize your tax benefits.

A Full or Partial Suspension of Operations

If your business had to entirely or partly suspend operations due to government orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re likely eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). This qualification applies even if your organization didn’t experience marked reduction in overall sales.

A full suspension of operations is relatively easy to validate. It involves a complete halt to your business activities due to a governmental order. However, recognizing a partial suspension can be more complex and requires a careful review of several factors. These can include whether your organization operates multiple facilities or experienced varying degrees of suspension across different quarters in 2020 and 2021.

To qualify under the partial suspension criteria, your organization must have experienced at least a 10% disruption in essential or non-essential revenue-generating operations during an eligible quarter. This means if a government order led to a significant interruption in your normal business flow, you could be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit, even if you didn’t completely shut down.

Remember, the ERC only applies to the period of each quarter when business activity was suspended. This implies that you’ll need to identify the exact periods when your operations were affected by government orders.

To determine your eligibility, you may need to engage in a detailed analysis of your operations during the pandemic. It’s essential to document your findings accurately, as this will form the basis of your ERC claim.

Lastly, be aware that the ERC can provide significant tax benefits for your organization, so it’s worth taking the time to understand these qualifications.

Designation as a Severely Financially Distressed Employer

You might be eligible for a special ERC designation as a Severely Financially Distressed Employer if your organization’s gross receipts have dropped by at least 90% compared to the same quarter in 2019. This designation is specific to the third quarter of 2021 and can provide substantial benefits to your organization.

To clarify, here are some key points about this designation:

  • It’s only applicable for Q3 of 2021.
  • Your organization must have experienced a 90% decline in gross receipts compared to the same quarter in 2019.
  • With this designation, all wages paid during Q3 2021 can be included in your ERC claim.
  • This is a special designation, separate from the standard qualifications for ERC.
  • It provides a significant boost to your potential ERC benefits.

If you meet this criterion, it’s essential to take advantage of this opportunity. The primary benefit of this designation is that it allows you to include all wages paid during Q3 2021 in your ERC claim, not just those paid to employees who didn’t provide services. This could significantly increase your total ERC.

Remember that you must substantiate your claim with proper documentation. You’ll need to demonstrate the drastic drop in your gross receipts and provide detailed payroll records. It’s also important to ensure that you adhere strictly to the IRS guidelines in making your claim to avoid any potential issues down the line.

Seeking professional advice can be helpful, especially if your organization’s financial situation is complex.

Designation as a Recovery Startup Business

Let’s dive into another special ERC designation – becoming a Recovery Startup Business. This designation is applicable for the third and fourth quarters of 2021 and provides another avenue for your business to qualify for the Employee Retention Credit, even if your operations haven’t been partially or fully suspended or you haven’t experienced a substantial decrease in total revenue.

To qualify as a Recovery Startup Business, you’ll need to meet a few criteria. First, your business operations must have begun after February 15, 2020. This acknowledges the unique challenges faced by startups launched amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Second, your average annual gross receipts shouldn’t exceed $1 million. This ensures the benefits of the ERC are targeted towards smaller, newly established businesses that may lack the financial reserves of more established enterprises.

Lastly, your organization shouldn’t qualify for the ERC based on a decline in gross receipts or suspension of operations. This designation is designed to help businesses that wouldn’t otherwise qualify under the standard ERC rules.

If you meet these qualifications, you’re eligible to receive up to $50,000 per each applicable quarter of 2021. This financial support can provide a much-needed boost to your startup, helping you navigate the challenges of the recovery period.

Becoming a Recovery Startup Business can be a lifeline during these uncertain economic times. Make sure to carefully evaluate your eligibility and take advantage of this opportunity if you qualify. Leveraging the benefits of the ERC could make a significant difference in your startup’s survival and growth.


Navigating ERC qualifications doesn’t have to be daunting. Remember, a decline in gross receipts, disruption of operations, or being a severely financially distressed or recovery startup business can make you eligible.

By understanding these factors, you can maximize your tax benefits and bolster your organization’s financial health. Don’t overlook this opportunity – it can make a substantial difference for your business.

You’re not alone in this journey; we’re here to help you untangle the complexities.