Employee Retention Credit for Employers

Eligible employers may claim a credit against Social Security taxes for each calendar quarter equal to 50% of qualified wages up to $10,000 per employee. If the credit for the quarter exceeds the employer’s Social Security tax liability, the excess is refunded.

Eligible employers operating a business during 2020 must have experienced either:

  • A partial or full suspension of the operation of their trade or business during the calendar quarter due to governmental orders that limited commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19
  • A significant decline in gross receipts from 2019

A significant decline begins with the quarter in which the gross receipts for the quarter were less than 50% of those in the same quarter in the prior calendar year. The decline ends with the quarter in which gross receipts are greater than 80% of the gross receipts for the same quarter in the prior calendar year.

Qualified wages for employers with 100 or fewer employees qualify for the entire credit. For employers with more than 100 employees, the wages eligible for the credit are the wages paid to employees who aren’t providing services due to circumstances described above.

Employers who take advantage of the payroll protection loan—Section 1102 of the act—aren’t eligible. Also, qualified wages don’t include amounts paid for the sick leave credit or The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) credit enacted by HR 6201.