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Treasury, IRS provide gross receipts safe harbor for employers claiming the Employee Retention Credit

AAFCPAs would like to make clients aware that the Treasury and the IRS recently issued a safe harbor allowing employers to exclude certain items from their gross receipts solely for determining eligibility for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

These amounts are:

  • The amount of the forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan;
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grants under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act; and
  • Restaurant Revitalization Grants under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

An employer elects to apply the safe harbor by excluding these amounts solely for determining whether it is an eligible employer for a calendar quarter for purposes of claiming the ERC on its employment tax return.

Revenue Procedure 2021-33 requires employers to apply the safe harbor consistently for determining eligibility for the ERC. The employer must exclude the amounts from their gross receipts for each calendar quarter in which gross receipts are relevant to determining eligibility to claim the ERC. The employer claiming the credit must also apply the safe harbor to all employers treated as a single employer under the aggregation rules.

An employer is not required to apply this safe harbor, and the safe harbor does not permit the exclusion of these amounts from gross receipts for any other federal tax purpose.

Employers claim the ERC on their employment tax return, generally Form 941, Employers Quarterly Federal Tax Return, or adjusted employment tax return, generally Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund.

Revenue Procedure 2021-33, updates and amplifies guidance provided in Notice 2021-20, which addressed the ERC as it applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021, Notice 2021-23, which addressed the ERC as it applies to qualified wages paid after December 31, 2020 and before July 1, 2021, and Notice 2021-49, which addressed the ERC as it applies to qualified wages paid after June 30, 2021 and before January 1, 2022.

AAFCPAs continues to closely monitor legislation related to the employee retention credit and will provide additional information as needed.

If you have any questions, please contact Brittany Besler, MBA, CPA, Esq. at 774.512.9001, bbesler@nullaafcpa.com; or your AAFCPAs Tax Partner.