How the Employee Retention Credit Impacts Your Business Taxes: A Guide for Business Owners

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit designed to provide financial assistance to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This credit can be a valuable resource for business owners who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat during these difficult times. However, the ERC can also impact your business taxes in various ways. In this blog post, we will provide a guide for business owners on how the ERC impacts their business taxes.

Understanding the ERC

Before we dive into the tax implications of the ERC, it’s important to understand what this credit is and how it works. Employers who kept their staff members through the pandemic are entitled to the ERC, a refundable tax credit. Up to $10,000 per employee each quarter is allowed as a credit, which works out to 70% of qualified salaries paid.

Businesses that had a major drop in revenue or those that were completely or partially shut down in response to a government order qualify as “distressed” and are therefore required to provide workers with unemployment benefits. To claim the credit, eligible employers must report qualified wages and health plan expenses on their quarterly employment tax returns, including Form 941.

Tax Implications of the ERC

Now that we have a basic understanding of the ERC, let’s dive into how it impacts your business taxes.

Reduction of Payroll Taxes

One of the biggest impacts of the ERC on your business taxes is the reduction of payroll taxes. The ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that if the credit exceeds your payroll taxes, the excess will be refunded to you. This can significantly reduce your payroll tax liability and provide valuable cash flow for your business.

Increase in Taxable Income

The ERC can also impact your taxable income. Since the ERC is a tax credit, it reduces your tax liability dollar for dollar. However, the wages used to calculate the ERC are still considered taxable income. This means that your taxable income may be higher than it would have been without the ERC.

Impact on Tax Deductions

The ERC can also impact your tax deductions. Specifically, businesses that claim the ERC cannot also claim a tax deduction for the same wages used to calculate the credit. This is known as the “double-dipping” rule and is designed to prevent businesses from receiving a double benefit for the same expenses.

Impact on Other Tax Credits

Finally, the ERC can impact other tax credits that your business may be eligible for. Specifically, businesses cannot claim both the ERC and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for the same employee. The WOTC is a tax credit for businesses that hire individuals from certain targeted groups who face barriers to employment. Businesses must choose which credit to claim for each employee, but they cannot claim both.

Tips for Managing the Tax Implications of the ERC

Now that we have explored the various tax implications of the ERC, let’s discuss some tips for managing these implications.

Keep Accurate Records

It’s essential to keep accurate records of the wages paid to employees that are eligible for the ERC. This will help you accurately calculate the credit and report it on your quarterly employment tax returns. Accurate records can also help you avoid any issues with the IRS if you are audited.

Consult with a Tax Professional

As with any tax issue, it’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional to ensure that you are taking advantage of all the available tax benefits and minimizing your tax liability.

Understand the Impact on Your Cash Flow

While the ERC can provide valuable cash flow for your business, it’s essential to understand the impact it may have on your taxable income and other tax credits. Make sure you are taking these factors into account when planning your cash flow.


In conclusion, the Employee Retention Credit is a valuable tax credit for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It can provide significant financial relief by offsetting employment taxes, allowing businesses to keep more of their revenue and maintain their workforce. Business owners should carefully review the eligibility requirements and calculate their potential credit amount to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Additionally, it’s important to stay informed about changes to the ERC and other tax credits, as new legislation may impact eligibility and credit amounts. Consulting a trusted team of finance and tax experts can help ensure that your business is maximizing its tax benefits and staying compliant with tax laws and regulations.

Overall, the ERC is a powerful tool for businesses looking to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. By understanding how it works and its impact on business taxes, business owners can make informed decisions and take advantage of this valuable opportunity to save money and support their employees.


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