Small Business Tax Credits
By: Tax Hotline
Winter 2021 (Vol. 38, No. 4)
Many businesses that have been severely impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) will qualify for two new employer tax credits – the Credit for Sick and Family Leave and the Employee Retention Credit.
Internal Revenue Code Section 45S provides a tax credit for employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees. Eligible employers may claim the credit, which is equal to a percentage of wages they pay to qualifying employees while they’re on family and medical leave.
The credit applies to small businesses that paid an employee who is unable to work due to caring for someone with coronavirus, or caring for a child because the child’s school or child care provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus.
Eligible employers are entitled to receive a credit in the full amount of the required sick leave and family leave, plus related health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The refundable credit is applied against certain employment taxes on wages paid to all employees. Eligible employers can reduce federal employment tax deposits in anticipation of the credit. They can also request an advance of the paid sick and family leave credits for any amounts not covered by the reduction in deposits.
For tax year 2020, eligible employers can claim the Employee Retention Credit, a refundable tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in qualified wages (including health plan expenses), paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021. Eligible employers are those businesses with operations that have been partially or fully suspended due to governmental orders due to COVID-19, or businesses that have a significant decline in gross receipts compared to 2019.
The law now also allows employers who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to claim the ERC for qualified wages that are not treated as payroll costs in obtaining forgiveness of the PPP loan.