Claiming the Employee Retention Credit: A Comprehensive Guide to Deadlines, Scams, and the Importance of Qualified Advisors

As businesses continue to grapple with the financial aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, one beacon of relief remains within reach: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). This tax credit, designed to support businesses that have kept their workforce intact despite considerable pandemic-related challenges, is still up for grabs. However, claimants must heed specific deadlines, exercise vigilance against scams, and work closely with a trusted advisor for a successful application. 


You Still Have Time: Understanding the ERC Deadlines

While the opportunity to claim this credit is still open, it’s governed by some critical timelines. For wages paid in 2020, the application deadline for the ERC is April 15, 2024. As for wages paid in 2021, businesses have until April 15, 2025, to make their claim. Although these dates may seem distant, it’s important to note that successful claims require thorough preparation and timely action.


Beware ERC Scams: Spotting the Red Flags

Unfortunately, the heightened interest in the ERC has become a breeding ground for aggressive marketing campaigns and potentially fraudulent activities. Misleading claims, unsolicited calls or advertisements, and promoters promising immediate eligibility assessments can all be red flags. Even more alarming are solicitations that demand significant upfront fees or base their charges on a percentage of the potential ERC refund. 

Remember, these fraudulent promoters might misrepresent eligibility requirements and omit essential details. If a credit is incorrectly claimed, it could lead to penalties, interest, and an unexpected repayment burden for your business. Therefore, staying alert to such scams and being wary of any offer that seems too good to be true is essential. 


The Role of a Qualified Advisor: Ensuring a Successful ERC Claim

When navigating the complexities of the ERC, there’s no substitute for the guidance of a qualified and trusted advisor. These professionals can accurately assess your eligibility, help you understand the specific requirements of the ERC, and guide you through the intricacies of the application process. They can also prevent potential pitfalls, such as claiming the ERC for wages reported as payroll costs if you’ve already received loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Working with a competent advisor can protect your business from avoidable errors and potential penalties, making it necessary to claim your ERC successfully. 


Wrapping it up: Navigating the ERC Wisely

There’s no doubt that the ERC can offer substantial financial relief for businesses that weathered the storm of the pandemic. However, it is not a windfall to be claimed without due diligence. Navigating the process wisely and cautiously while working with a trusted advisor can help businesses maximize this opportunity. 

Remember, while the promise of financial aid might be appealing, falling prey to scams or making avoidable errors could cost your business dearly. As you go through the ERC application process, stay informed, remain vigilant, and always consult your trusted advisor to ensure you make the best decisions for your business. 


If you’d like help navigating the ERC process or have questions on how it could affect your business, our advisors are ready to discuss it with you. Reach out to us today.