Business stimulus and tax reliefs are always facing uncertainties. However, Employee Retention Credit (ERC) has over time proven to be a financial support beacon for small and mid-sized businesses. This refundable tax credit is a crucial financial lifeline for businesses looking to retain their workforce on a payroll. While ERC facilitates significant financial relief, a lot is at stake.

This insightful article will brief over the importance of Employee Retention Credit to businesses. Beyond the financial relief charm, we’ll explore the costly mistakes that can be detrimental to the benefits your business could receive.

What Is the Employee Retention Credit?


The ERC, alias Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), is a refundable payroll tax credit for employers, intended to support COVID-hobbled businesses retain their staff throughout the financial turbulence. However, the regulations around ETRC are thorny, and without a good grip on them. To overcome this maze, it’s necessary to nail the following primary ERC qualifications listed on

  1. Your business has undergone full or partial shutdown as a result of government orders
  2. Your business has had a reasonable reduction in gross receipts
  3. A decreased number of full-time employees
  4. The amount of qualified wages paid to employees

Each one of the above qualifying factors holds its own set of tricky details. For example, determining the significant decline in gross receipts requires a detailed analysis of each quarterly revenues in comparison with its equivalent quarter in 2019.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Before applying for ERTC, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that can lead to unsuccessful applications. These mistakes include:

Misunderstanding the Eligibility Criteria

Misunderstanding or misapplying the eligibility criteria is a prevalent misstep in many ERC applications. Don’t assume ineligibility depending on your business size or niche. The ERC reach goes beyond big corporations, to encompass businesses of all sizes and industries. Assuming eligibility without conducting the correct assessment can cost you significant gains in the balance.

The mainspring of ERC qualification is proving a decline in revenue receipts. Ensure you understand the calculation techniques and doorway to assess your business revenue decline. Also, not providing sufficient documentation to prove that government orders have impacted your business is detrimental. These orders can be full or partial shutdowns, capacity restrictions, or changes to routine business operations.

You should understand your business’ financial status and the ever- changing regulatory landscape to sail through these criteria. Use concrete facts to assess your eligibility without assumptions. You can determine your eligibility by:

  1. Thoroughly reviewing your financial dossiers to prove revenue decline.
  2. Substantiating government mandates impacting your business
  3. Paying close attention to the reciprocity of gross decline and government orders.

By overcoming the barriers of assumptions, your business can seize the ERC benefits irrespective of its size or sector.

Documentation Mistakes


The importance of keeping detailed records cannot be overemphasized. Proper documentation is the bedrock for successful ERC applications. It’s the sheathing that protects your claims as they serve as proof needed to prove your qualification and credit reports. Concise and well-structured documentation can change uncertainty to certainty to bolster your plight and secure benefits.

Necessary ERC Documentation

  1. Comprehensive financial records that detail revenue figures and your business’ financial health in the relevant quarters.
  2. Detailed employee payroll reports including the wages, hours worked, and other relevant bonuses or incentives.
  3. Government mandate documents to prove their impact on your business’ operations.
  4. Employee classification records including the roles and disposition they held in your company.
  5. Records of healthcare expenses and insurance payments records paid for the workers.

How to Ensure Correct Records

  1. Maintain a streamlined record system for keeping and classifying all the necessary documents.
  2. Update your documents often to reflect adjustments in operations, government mandates, or eligibility wages.
  3. Involve tax experts to ensure all the documents are in alignment with ERC rules and regulations.

Failure to Maximize Qualified Wages

Close evaluation of qualified wages is a true power of the ERC. Most businesses lose out on the benefits by unconsciously ignoring the qualified wage classifications. Qualified wages are more than regular pay. It extends to supplementary factors that enhance the ERC. Assuming these classifications can result in reduced credit amounts. Below are a few of the most overlooked qualified wages:

  • Healthcare costs and insurance premiums
  • Employee retention and performance bonuses
  • Severance pay

Incorrect Payroll Details


For successful ERC calculations, the payroll data must be correct. The pitfalls of using incorrect numbers can cast a shadow on your credit claims. You can ensure accuracy by:

  • Regularly scrutinizing payroll details and promptly rectifying inconsistencies.
  • Collaborating with finance, HR, and tax experts to ensure correct data entry and advice to optimize calculations.
  • Use integrated payroll software to reduce human errors.
  • Keep detailed documents to support your Ear claims.

Missed Deadlines

Meeting deadlines is a crucial factor that can help you harness ERC’s full potential. You can seize the benefits or face challenges depending on how much you understand and adhere to these temporal boundaries.

You must file your ERC claims within the termed timeframe by reporting all qualified wages and calculating the credit total correctly. In the event that you need to amend your previous claims, there’s a window for amendments and you should do so within this time. A few effects of missed deadlines include:

  • Delayed financial support
  • Slowed or inability to steer through business hardships properly
  • Uncorrected errors
  • Inaccurate credit reports

You can do the following in order to stay in compliance:

  • Have an ERC dedicated calendar highlighting ERC crucial deadlines.
  •  Effectively communicate with relevant teams to ensure they’re aware of the deadlines and comply accordingly.
  • Enlist ERC tax experts who’ll help you understand and adhere to the complex timelines.
  • Regularly review your ERC to check for any potential amendments that you should work on within the designated window.


For most business owners, Employee Retention Credit is a crucial lifesaver that helps them navigate the hardships in the present day. However, underneath its promises lies a backdrop of probable missteps in qualification, documentation, and missed deadlines. This article has covered the implications of ERC technicalities, it’s evident that you need a clear-sighted understanding, painstaking, and expert guidance to unlock ERC’s full benefits.