The COVID-19 crisis has led to government-imposed lockdowns throughout the world. It has significantly slowed down economic growth and led to massive job cuts. Despite the revenue losses experienced across all industries, companies are still required to fulfill their tax obligations.
The federal government has enacted The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to protect individual taxpayers and businesses from the devastating financial effects of the crisis.
State governments haven’t been left behind. In California, for instance, the state government has pledged to provide assistance to small businesses during the epidemic.
The advantages of these federal and state coronavirus-related tax relief policies include:
- Additional time for handling tax-related matters
- Quicker tax refunds
- Temporary changes in tax audit policies to ensure quicker tax determination
Here’s an overview of the business tax credits that have been implemented to support companies amid the COVID-19 threat.
Employee Retention Credit
The CARES Act introduced the employee retention credit (ERC) that allows eligible employers to claim a tax credit against employment taxes for every calendar quarter for amounts equal to 50% of qualified wages per worker. This applies to a maximum of $10,000 in wages per employee per year. Generally, the ERC is limited to the employment taxes that are imposed on the wages. Any excess is regarded as a refundable overpayment.
Paid Sick Leave Refundable Credit
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) requires eligible businesses to provide their workers with paid sick leave in case they are unable to work. Employees who are afflicted by the coronavirus are entitled to a two-week (80-hour) paid sick leave at their regular salary.
Eligible employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit that equals the paid sick leave. The tax credit also includes the employers’ share of Medicare tax that is imposed on those wages.
Paid Family Leave Tax Credit
Employees who are unable to work because they need to take care of a child whose place of care or school is closed are entitled to paid medical and family leave equivalent to two-thirds of their regular pay.
Eligible employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit that is equal to the paid medical or family leave. Besides, the tax credit includes the employers’ share of Medicare tax that is imposed on those wages as well as the cost of maintaining health insurance covers for the employees during the leave period. An eligible employer is defined as one who:
- Was undertaking business during the 2020 calendar year
- Concerning any other calendar quarter, the business activity got partially suspended due to government orders such as mandatory COVID-19 lockdowns that caused significant loss of income
Delay in The Payment of Payroll Taxes
The CARES Act allows self-employed individuals and employers to delay depositing their portion of social security tax and the 50% tax levied on self-employment income. However, 50% of the delayed payment ought to get deposited to the IRS next year, and the other 50% by the end of 2021. Businesses that are taking loans provided by the Small Business Act don’t qualify for this benefit.
Acceleration of AMT Tax Credits
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) revoked the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT). Nonetheless, it still allows for refundable AMT credits. This applies for taxable years 2018 to 2021. Under the CARES Act, businesses can accelerate the recovery of the AMT credits. This includes requesting a tentative reimbursement of such amounts before or on 31st December 2020.
As you can see, there are many business tax credits that can help keep your company afloat during the current COVID-19 pandemic. For more details about the refundable tax credits that you qualify for and how to make successful claims, contact the team at Incetax.