ERC Overview

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is among the largest benefits for small business ever. It is a refundable tax credit (not a loan or grant) created to reward employers who retained employees during COVID’s worst impacts in 2020 and early 2021 via payroll tax refunds from the IRS. Very early, E&A saw the value ERC had for its clients and chose to make ERC a core competency.

Businesses can receive ERC refunds up to $5,000 per employee for all of 2020 and up to $7,000 per employee per quarter in 2021. Only Q1 and Q2 of 2021 qualify in St. Louis and most other areas. Companies can file for either or both years. Claims are typically worth over $100,000 for even a six-employee eligible business.

Unfortunately, ERC is widely misunderstood and, therefore, grossly under-utilized. ERC claims remain possible until April of 2025, with an interim deadline in April 2024 for 2020 claims. ERC is in addition to PPP loans; is completely confidential; and is not restricted in its use!

“By submitting amended returns for 2020 and 2021, E&A is helping our business get back over $1,000,000. That’s great for us.”


Claiming ERC can be complex and confusing, but it’s too valuable to ignore.  E&A makes the path forward clear. Please review the information here and contact us through the “Let’s Start Your ERC” page, by email, or by phone.  We’ll address your needs personally and professionally, not with an assembly line, to obtain ERC funds for your business, not-for-profit organization, private school, or church, if eligible.

By December 31, 2023, E&A had filed ERC claims for almost $50 million, of which clients already received $24 million without a single ERC claim being denied or audited by the IRS. Individual claims filed range from $20,000 to over $4 million.  Typically, clients receive $250,000 to $1,500,000. Our ideal client has at least 20 employees.

Qualifying for ERC

ERC is not limited to any particular industry. The only businesses automatically disqualified are those related to, or fully-funded by, the government. Any private business or nonprofit may qualify. For 2020, entities up to 100 full-time employees are eligible for the largest credits. Congress increased the maximum to 500 employees for 2021. In some special circumstances, larger employers can qualify, too.

Three separate ways exist to qualify for ERC, and you only need to qualify one way. COVID must have adversely impacted your business by one or more of the following:

  1. Your organization experienced a meaningful partial/full suspension of its operations due to COVID-related government orders with one or more of the following impacts: 
    • Normal business operations were interrupted.
    • Limited operating capacity or an inability to access its equipment.
    • Restricted access to vendors/customers. Reduced hours of operation and/or limited staffing. (e.g. staff under quarantine)
    • Services offered to customers were limited or reduced.
    • Travel restrictions to attend training, business meetings, or conferences.
    • Curtailed marketing, recruitment, etc., activities
  2. A decline in quarterly gross receipts/revenue of 50% in 2020, or 20% in 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2019.
  3. Significant interruptions with supply chains (rare).

Having received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds does not disqualify you. However, you cannot double-count wages used for PPP forgiveness as qualified ERC wages.

Examples of organizations and their probability of success with ERC are:

High Probability: private schools, daycare, retirement homes, NFPs, hospitality and recreation, banks, elective medical/dental practices, salons, urban/suburban retail stores; legal practices requiring court access.

Possible: rural retail stores; home health companies; architects; auto repair; companies requiring travel; investment advisors; vendors to directly impacted companies; some skilled trades; users of itinerant workers.

Unlikely: IT-related, contract/real estate/IP attorneys, traditional farm operations.

E&A provides ERC services in all U.S. states and territories, and has filed client claims in over 15 states worth almost $50 million. E&A is pleased to serve any organization with a legitimate claim. We emphasize helping non-profits, charities, and tax-exempt organizations, such as private schools, hospitals, museums, food kitchens, and churches. Other good candidates include restaurants, construction, hospitality, and healthcare businesses. Client ERC claims include:

  • $14 million for St. Louis area private schools, and another $11 million for schools from Florida to Hawaii.  
  • $7+ million for a group of 12 separate animal feed dealers across the U.S.
  • $3.0+ million for restaurant owners/operators in St. Louis, Florida, and elsewhere.
  • $4.0 million for St. Louis area retail stores.
  • $500,000+ for day care centers in St. Charles, MO.

What Do I Need to Do?

Filing valid ERC claims maximizing the ERC and avoiding mistakes (that can cost part or all of the refund) requires being up-to-date on ERC-related legislation. Preparing and filing amended payroll tax returns using inexperienced or cookie-cutter providers can result in a reduced tax refund, rejected claims, needing to revise/refile claims, and prolonging an already too long process.

Once you’re ready to file your ERC claim, we help you to:

  1. Determine the number of full-time and part-time employees by quarter.
  2. Identify things done differently due to COVID government orders and the impact on your business.
  3. Gather quarterly payroll records/registers and payroll tax returns for 2020 and 2021 from your payroll processor/department.
  4. Determine total revenue by quarter for 2019 through 2021.
  5. Sign documents and make copies for your files; E&A does the rest.

Those who don’t investigate opportunities lose. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

“The best defense is to be right!”


What Does E&A Do for Me During the Claim Filing Process?

Too many ERC providers try to file as many ERC claims as possible and hope they win the IRS “audit lottery.” That is not E&A! And, unlike E&A, many firms started up overnight and lack the required expertise, context, and/or integrity to file accurate ERCs. E&A has over 25 years of experience in state and federal employment-based tax programs.

E&A’s experienced ERC professionals guide you through your entire ERC claim process, identify the steps needed to optimize your ERC in accordance with the law, and thoroughly document your claim so you can apply with confidence.

E&A’s process is well-documented, cautious, and prudent to achieve optimal results. It includes developing, bullet-proofing, and documenting via affidavit the justification for the claim; and providing options for courses of action. Businesses provide documentation now to avoid delays later, and so E&A can also contemporaneously and persuasively supports and fully documents how the business qualifies. E&A has never had a claim denied or audited by the IRS.

We assist you all along the way, from collecting the information to mailing the claim (via certified mail) to the IRS. As a professional, value-added provider E&A also:

  • Provides a Welcome Package email identifying the information we’ll need you to gather for your ERC claim.
  • Assigns a dedicated ERC expert to assist you at every turn.
  • Researches applicable government orders via our national database.
  • Develops and bullet-proofs suspension of operations rationale, as appropriate.
  • Recommends client-specific courses of action.
  • Creates, signs, and files Form 941-X for each applicable quarter.
  • Provides audit protection and/or fee refunds, if necessary.

Watch Out for IRS Delays

Expect significant delays in IRS processing of tax filings, including forms necessary to claim ERC. It’s important to act promptly to ensure your business receives its ERC as soon as possible. 

The Welcome Package also includes E&A’s engagement letter for your signature and an important client questionnaire.

Once documents are completed and sent to E&A, our team:

  • Calculates the revenue test.
  • Determines your organization’s eligibility.
  • Determines the eligible employees.
  • Determines the credit for each employee by quarter.
  • Computes the total credit by quarter.
  • Prepares IRS Forms 941-X and an affidavit summarizing your facts and circumstances for your review and signature.
  • Mails final documents to the IRS via certified mail with return receipt requested.

E&A does NOT charge an upfront fee; our fee is due only after you receive your funds. We ask you to notify E&A when you receive the funds or other IRS communication.

Timing Is Important

“Many owners don’t understand they qualify for these tax credits and can apply for them after-the-fact up to April 2024 (for 2020) or April 2025 (for 2021) deadlines.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) -You have questions; we have answers!

With many years of extensive tax, payroll, and specialized tax credit experience, E&A is the right trusted advisor for your ERC claims. Its team built an appropriately cautious process that provides excellent service and specialized expertise to give you the peace of mind you deserve. E&A’s team offers responsible guidance on IRS guidelines and careful due diligence to identify, substantiate, document, and file ERC claims with minimal disruption for your business.

The deadline to file a claim for 2020 ERC is April 15, 2024. The deadline for a 2021 claim is April 15, 2025.

Proposed Changes

Significant changes in ERC due dates exist in proposed legislation on January 16, 2024, accelerating the due dates by 75 days for 2020 claims and over a year for 2021–all just 2 weeks before the new January 31, 2024, due date. As of February 13, 2024, the House of Representatives has passed it, but the Senate has not, nor has the President signed it, so it is not yet law.

However, the original due date of April 15, 2024, for 2020 claims is rapidly approaching. So, time is of the essence.

Using experienced and reputable ERC providers is far more likely to result in a successful claim, avoid rejected claims, avoid revising/refiling claims, and avoid undue IRS scrutiny. Plus, tax professionals benefit from experience working with many clients instead of handling just one claim. ERC specialists create a persuasive narrative of why you qualify, review all 3 eligibility tests, and assemble required documents supporting your ERC claim. E&A has never had an ERC claim denied by the IRS.

Yes! You only need to qualify under one of three separate tests. Reduction in revenue is only one of those tests. Businesses can qualify under different tests for different quarters and can be eligible for one quarter and not another.

Yes! You may still qualify if funds from PPP loans allocated to payroll expenses are appropriately accounted for in the ERC calculations.

If you are not a non-profit, yes. The IRS requires reducing the payroll deduction on your 2020 and/or 2021 income tax returns via amending those tax returns.

The IRS reviews ERC claims for accuracy and typically takes 6-9 months (sometimes longer) to process and issue separate checks for each quarter claimed. Checks are mailed to the client’s address.

The IRS’s backlog is over 20% of the roughly 4 million ERC claims filed since early 2021 and it’s still struggling to keep up. Neither the “scary” notices, nor the moratorium, create any concern when using a reputable firm, like E&A. The IRS expected ERC fraud to be as high as it was with PPP – which hasn’t occurred because the programs are so different.

However, from start, E&A has exercised far more due diligence, accepted far more responsibility for ERC claim accuracy, and screened clients far more carefully to be sure claims we file are legitimate. As a result, the IRS has not challenged even one claim E&A has handled.

“The best defense is to be right!”