Navigating ERC for New Business Started in 2020 [Including Recovery Startups]

erc for new business started in 2020
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Launching a new business is exciting, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One such challenge for businesses that started in 2020 was navigating the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, relief came in the form of programs like the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

The ERC was designed to help struggling businesses keep their employees on payroll during these tough times. This tax credit was particularly advantageous for new businesses and small enterprises.

For entrepreneurs who launched their venture in 2020, the ERC became an invaluable resource to maximize financial benefits.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of claiming and maxing out your benefits; we’re talking eligibility, how to calculate, and claim processes.

Understanding ERC for New Business Started in 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic gave birth to numerous relief measures, among them being the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). The ERC’s role is twofold – it offers a financial cushion to businesses during these trying times and promotes job retention.

So how does this tax credit work? And more importantly, what are its implications for startups that launched in 2020?

This provision came into existence as part of the CARES Act in 2020 but was later expanded through legislative amendments in both the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2023.

The Purpose and Benefits of ERC for Startups

When COVID-19 struck, Congress sprung into action with various relief programs like the ERC. Its mission? To ease companies’ financial burdens due to reduced business activities or lockdowns while discouraging layoffs. For new businesses that began operations during the pandemic, this scheme was particularly beneficial.

Newly established firms often have less cash reserves compared to their seasoned counterparts, which makes securing additional funding during crises such as pandemics quite challenging. But thanks to the Employee Retention Credit, they were given an opportunity to not only to survive but to thrive amidst the economic turmoil.

  • Gross Receipts Eligibility Criteria: Existing entities needed a significant decline in gross receipts, i.e., at least a 50% reduction compared against the same quarter in the previous year or at least a 20% drop from Q1 2021 onwards.
  • Recovery Startup Provision: A clause added under the American Rescue Plan, effective from July, extends ERTC eligibility specifically targeting recovery startups, i.e., those launched after February 15th, experiencing annual gross receipts not exceeding $1 million.

Even with all the challenges thrown our way by public health rules and government orders, we’re committed to keeping our team together. So don’t worry if you’re a new business that can’t show major revenue loss or suspension – you still qualify.

Key Takeaway:

Understanding the power of the ERC can really shift things for startups born in these tough COVID-19 times. It’s not just about hanging on, but flourishing even when economic conditions are rough. This tax credit is like a safety net, helping to lighten financial burdens and promoting job keeping.

Eligibility Criteria: ERC for New Business Started in 2020

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a beacon of hope for businesses weathering the COVID-19 storm. For startup business owners who launched their ventures in 2020, it is crucial to understand the eligibility requirements for this credit.

Experiencing a Significant Decline in Gross Receipts

New businesses must show a noteworthy dip in gross takings, particularly less than 80% when compared to the same quarter of the past year, so as to be qualified for the ERC. While this may seem challenging for startups without historical data, the IRS provides guidance on alternative methods and allows for comparisons with initial months of operation.

Suspension Due to Government Orders

In addition to experiencing a decline in gross receipts, new businesses may be eligible for the ERC if their operations were fully or partially suspended due to government orders during certain periods of the pandemic. These government orders typically involve restrictions on commerce, travel, or group meetings to address COVID-19 concerns.

If your business was directly affected by government orders related to COVID-19 outbreaks and safety measures, resulting in a suspension of operations, you can still qualify for the ERC. Unlike established companies, you do not need to provide comparative revenue data.

Are You A Recovery Startup Business?

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for businesses, particularly those started in 2020. However, the American Rescue Plan Act offers some relief through the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). If you opened your business during this challenging period, you might be eligible to receive this credit and be classified as a “recovery startup business”.

How do Recovery Startup Businesses qualify for the Employee Retention Credit?

To qualify as a recovery startup business under the ERC guidelines, there are specific criteria that must be met. For instance, if you launched a food delivery venture on April 1st of 2020 with three employees and earned $500K across both tax years of 2020 and 2021 combined, then your enterprise would fall into this category.

All in all, to be eligible as a Recovery Startup Business under ERC rules:

  • Your business must have been established after February 15th, 2020.
  • You should have an annual revenue of less than $1 million.

That’s it! There are no other stipulations or complex criteria involved. If your startup meets these two conditions, then congratulations – you qualify!

While qualifying may seem straightforward enough on paper, navigating through governmental processes can often be daunting, especially when trying to understand how credits like ERC work or calculating what amount would apply for a new business.

Luckily, resources exist online that provide detailed guidance on how exactly these calculations need to be done based on factors such as the average number of employees and wage rates, among others. This article, for instance, provides comprehensive information about calculating ERC accurately. Make sure you leverage all available resources while applying so as not to miss out on any benefits due to oversight or lack of understanding.

What Can Recovery Startup Businesses Do To Get The Most Money Back?

To optimize your reimbursement from the Employee Retention Credit, take these steps before submitting your application:

  • Monitor your gross receipts to ensure they stay below the $1 million threshold for both 2020 and 2021.
    File for the ERC specifically after Q3 and Q4 of 2021 to maximize your credit claims.
  • Make the most of employee wages during Q3 (July-September) and Q4 (October-December) of 2021 by reaching the maximum limit of $10,000 in wages per employee per quarter.
  • Remember that owners, spouses, and other family members (parents, siblings, children, etc.) may not qualify as eligible employees for the credit.

By following these suggestions, you can increase your chances of receiving the highest possible amount through ERC for new business started in 2020.

Key Takeaway:

Hang on tight to your ERC lifebuoy. For startups launched in 2020, it’s vital to grasp eligibility rules. If you can demonstrate a considerable dip in gross receipts or confirm that government orders halted operations – you’re in. ‘Recovery startup’ isn’t just jargon; it’s specifically for businesses born post February 15th, 2020.

The ABCs of Calculating ERC for New Business Started in 2020

The first thing to understand is that calculating the ERC revolves around one key figure: 50% of qualified wages paid to employees. This means if you’re paying eligible employees during COVID-19-related closures or slowdowns, there’s likely some tax credit waiting for you.

To start crunching numbers, identify all qualifying wage payments made within relevant quarters. Remember – this isn’t just regular salaries; certain health plan expenses also count.

Impact of Qualified Wages on Your ERC

Your total amount of qualified wages directly affects your potential tax credit. Say an employee earns $10,000 over several months and meets eligibility criteria due to pandemic-related disruptions at work – half their income ($5,000) could be part of your calculated ERC value.

Note that only specific types of remuneration fall under the ‘qualified’ category according to IRS guidelines. So while doing computations, make sure they align strictly with Form 941 – IRS.

Fulfilling Eligibility Criteria for Employees

In order for an employee’s earnings to qualify from an ERTC perspective, two primary conditions need fulfillment: 

  1. They should have been unable to fulfill their duties because operations were either fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19 precautions.
  2. When gross receipts decline by more than 50 percent compared to the same quarter the previous year.

An important consideration here is determining what constitutes full or partial suspension due to Covid-related reasons, which might differ on a case-by-case basis, making consultation with professionals imperative before proceeding any further into the calculation process.

Filing Quarterly Employment Tax Returns: Using Form 941

The main route businesses take towards claiming their ERC is via Form 941, which is used primarily for filing quarterly employment tax returns. Getting acquainted with this form will be key if you plan on claiming the ERC as a new entrepreneur.

There are special lines just for employee retention credits. Here, you’ll report important amounts like qualified wages and health plan expenses tied to those wages. But remember, getting it right is crucial. Any mistakes could slow down the process or even lead to penalties during IRS audits.

Key Takeaway:

If you’ve launched a new business in 2023 amidst the pandemic, the IRS’s Employee Retention Credit (ERC) program could be your silver lining. Eligibility hinges on specific criteria and claims can be made through quarterly or annual tax returns using Form 941 or Form 941-X respectively. But tread carefully – mistakes can lead to delays or penalties.

How Do Government Restrictions Impact ERC for New Business Started in 2020?

The far-reaching effects of government restrictions on business activities in 2020 cannot be ignored. These include shutdown orders, capacity reduction mandates, stay-at-home instructions, and health-related rules aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

To qualify for the ERC under these circumstances, you must meet specific conditions outlined by the IRS. One such condition is providing evidence that your business was fully or partially suspended due to government orders related to COVID-19 during any calendar quarter in 2020.

This does not necessarily mean complete closure; even limited suspensions, such as reduced operating hours or offering only curbside pickup, may make you eligible for this credit.

Examining Revenue Reductions That Qualify You for the ERC

In addition to government restrictions, another important factor in determining eligibility for the ERC is a decline in revenue caused by the pandemic. This specifically refers to gross receipts compared to a similar period before the concept of “social distancing” became known, starting from when your company began operations in 2020

If your gross takings went down by over 20% in a three-month period when compared to either Q1/Q4 (if your company was operational during those times) or the same quarter of the preceding year (according to new rules), you may be able to request ERC advantages. It is important to note that both periods must reflect actual operational impact, not just the variability of the start-up phase.

Quick Guide to Calculating and Claiming Your ERC Benefits

To figure out how much your new business could benefit, you’ll need to add up the wages paid and healthcare costs. Check out this for more info.

Key Takeaway:

Getting a grip on the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can be a game-changer, especially for businesses that started in 2020. If government restrictions slowed you down or if your gross receipts fell by over 20% in any quarter, then there’s a good chance you could qualify for this financial lift. But remember, it’s crucial to nail those calculations of wages and healthcare costs right.


The benefits of ERC for new business started in 2020 can still be a lifesaver in 2023.

To claim the ERC, it’s important to determine if you’re eligible. This can be a bit tricky, as you must have experienced significant drops in gross receipts or been partially or fully suspended due to government orders during the pandemic.

Calculating the ERC is also complex. You’ll need to understand qualified wages and how they impact the amount of credit you can potentially receive.

Filing the necessary forms is another hurdle, but with guidance on using Form 941 and Form 941-X, you can navigate the process of claiming this valuable credit.

Government restrictions and revenue reductions may seem like roadblocks, but don’t let them deter you from pursuing the ERC. It could potentially help sustain your startup through continued rough waters.

At ERC Today, we aim to make these processes simpler for businesses like yours that were brave enough to start up amidst challenging times. We provide guidance and insights into qualifying for the Employee Retention Credit (ERTC) as part of COVID-19 relief measures.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding ERC for New Business Started in 2020

Am I eligible for ERC if I start a business in 2020?

Yes, you are potentially eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) even if your business was started in 2020. The key eligibility requirement is that your operations were either fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19-related government orders, or you experienced a significant decline in gross receipts compared to the same quarter in 2019. 

As a new business without a comparable period, you would be evaluated based on whether your operations were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

How do I retroactively claim ERC for 2020?

To retroactively claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) for 2020, you must amend your federal employment tax returns. This is done by filing Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund. 

You’ll need to provide details about your eligible employees and qualified wages paid during the applicable quarters in 2020. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional or use services like ERC Today that specialize in these claims to ensure accuracy and maximize your credit potential.

What is the ERTC for startups in 2020?

The Employee Retention Credit (ERTC) is a refundable tax credit designed to encourage businesses, including startups, to keep employees on their payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, eligible employers could claim this credit against 50% of qualified wages up to $10,000 that they paid to employees after March 12th and before January 1st, 2021. This means a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee was available for companies facing economic hardship due to COVID-19.

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