The Employee Retention Credit (or ERC) was launched by the federal government to provide financial relief to small businesses that kept employees on the payroll throughout the pandemic. The credit is available for the 2020 and the 2021 tax years, and eligible businesses may retroactively apply using IRS Form 941-X. Here's what you need to know, including the ERC deadlines in 2023 and beyond. Employee Retention Credit Deadlines The ERC is not available for tax years 2023 and beyond, but you can retroactively apply if you haven't yet taken advantage of this credit. Businesses could receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and $7,000 per employee per quarter in 2021. So it's definitely worth paying close attention to the deadlines to make sure you don't miss out on this opportunity to significantly lower your tax bill. Each tax year has its own specific deadline. This gives you time to focus on one application at a time, since each tax year requires its own form to support the different eligibility requirements. ERC Filing Deadlines ERC deadline for 2020 tax year The Employee Retention Credit deadline for the 2020 tax year is April 15, 2024. This applies to all three eligible quarters: Q2, Q3, and Q4. The first quarter doesn't count since COVID-19 mandates didn't begin in the U.S. until the end of the first quarter. ERC deadline for 2021 tax year The ERC deadline for all four quarters for the 2021 tax year is April 15, 2025. This gives you time to gather documentation for a robust application. But it's still smart to apply as soon as possible, especially since the IRS is reporting a backlog in reviewing applications. In other words, the sooner you apply, the sooner you're likely to get approved and receive your credit funds (or have them applied to an outstanding tax bill). Overview of ERC Eligibility Before applying for the Employee Retention Credit, make sure your business qualifies for 2020, 2021, or both. The basic eligibility criteria vary from year to year. For the 2020 tax year: No more than 100 employees A government mandate prevented operations, either in hours or service capacity, OR revenue was less than 50% of 2019 gross receipts For the 2021 tax year: Fewer than 500 employees A government mandate prevented operations, either in hours or service capacity, OR revenue was less than 80% of 2019 gross receipts Newer businesses may also qualify for the ERC as a recovery startup business. In order to qualify, your business must meet the following requirements: Began after February 15, 2020 Annual gross receipts under $1 million One or more W2 employees How to Apply for the ERC Lendio is here to assist small businesses with their ERC applications. We can help you to quickly streamline your application with a step-by-step guided form that removes all the guesswork from the process. In fact, to date, our tax partners have helped Lendio clients collect over $300 million from the ERC program. Ready to apply for the ERC? Let's get started.