On December 6, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2021-65, providing much-needed guidance to employers regarding the early termination of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Per the Infrastructure Act, the ERC is only applicable to wages paid before October 1, 2021 (except in circumstances involving “recovery startup businesses”),¹ rather than the initial December 31, 2021 cutoff. In fairness, this retroactive termination required retroactive relief for employers who had already acted with the original duration of the credit in mind.
The relief measures in Notice 2021-65 are applicable “to employers that paid wages after September 30, 2021, and received an advance payment of the Employee Retention Credit for those wages or reduced employment tax deposits in anticipation of the credit for the fourth quarter of 2021 but are now ineligible for the credit due to the change in the law.”² First, employers that received advanced ERC payments for the 2021 fourth quarter “will avoid failure to pay penalties if they repay those amounts by the due date of their applicable employment tax returns.”³ Second, employers that reduced deposits on or before December 20, 2021, for wages paid in the final quarter of 2021 in anticipation of the ERC will avoid failure to deposit penalties with respect to such retained deposits if all of the following are met:
For those employers (again, excluding “recovery startup businesses”) that reduced deposits after December 20, 2021, failure to deposit penalties will not be reduced.
Notice 2021-65 is welcome relief and practical guidance for employers affected by the early sunset of the ERC. The Notice indicates that the IRS will consider employers’ requests for reasonable cause relief if they are not otherwise eligible for relief under the Notice 2021-65 provisions. So, if you’ve already reduced your deposits and have questions and concerns, Notice 2021-65 may provide you with the answers and relief that you need. Frost Law is here to help you make sense of it all and ensure you don’t incur unnecessary penalties. For any questions concerning the ERC, Frost Law can assist with giving guidance on what actions you can take. Give us a call at (410) 497-5947 or schedule a free initial consultation with our brief contact form.