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IRS launches Employee Retention Credit

The Treasury Department and IRS today began implementing the Employee Retention Credit included in the coronavirus economic package signed into law last week.

The program provides a fully refundable tax credit for 50 percent of wages, up to $10,000, for each employee kept on the payroll by businesses that have taken a financial hit because of the pandemic.

Businesses qualify if they have been fully or partially shuttered by government order, or if their gross receipts are below 50 percent of what they took in during a comparable quarter in 2019. They are no longer eligible once their gross receipts rise above 80 percent of the comparable quarter.

The IRS published guidelines today for businesses that want to apply for the credit, which is applied against the employers’ share of payroll taxes.

The agency also issued a notice to shield employers from penalties they may have incurred for failing to deposit employment taxes when tapping a tax credit Congress created to help them cover wages for sick leave and family leave.

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