COVID-19-Related Tax Credits: How to Claim the Credits FAQs

 

This FAQ is not included in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, and therefore may not be relied upon as legal authority. This means that the information cannot be used to support a legal argument in a court case.

37. How does an Eligible Employer claim the refundable tax credits for qualified leave wages (plus any allocable qualified health plan expenses and the amount of the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax)?

Eligible Employers will report their total qualified leave wages and the related credits for each quarter on their federal employment tax returns, usually Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Form 941 is used to report income and social security and Medicare taxes withheld by the employer from employee wages, as well as the employer’s portion of social security and Medicare tax.

In anticipation of receiving the credits, Eligible Employers can fund qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) by accessing federal employment taxes, including withheld taxes, that are required to be deposited with the IRS or by requesting an advance from the IRS.

For more information on ways Eligible Employers can access funds for the credit before filing the Form 941, see How can an Eligible Employer that is required to pay qualified leave wages fund the payment of these wages if the Eligible Employer does not have sufficient federal employment taxes set aside for deposit to cover those payments? Can the employer get an advance of the credits?

38. Can an Eligible Employer required to pay qualified leave wages fund these payments before receiving the credits by reducing its federal employment tax deposits?

An Eligible Employer may fund the qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) by accessing federal employment taxes, including those that the Eligible Employer already withheld, that are set aside for deposit with the IRS, for other wage payments made during the same quarter as the qualified leave wages.

That is, an Eligible Employer that pays qualified leave wages to its employees in a calendar quarter before it is required to deposit federal employment taxes with the IRS for that quarter may reduce the amount of federal employment taxes it deposits for that quarter by the amount of the qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) paid in that calendar quarter. The Eligible Employer must account for the reduction in deposits on the Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for the quarter.

Example: An Eligible Employer paid $5,000 in qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages (and allocable health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in federal employment taxes, including taxes withheld from all of its employees, for wage payments made during the same quarter as the $5,000 in qualified leave wages. The Eligible Employer may keep up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes the Eligible Employer was going to deposit, and it will not owe a penalty for keeping the $5,000. The Eligible Employer is then only required to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its required deposit date. The Eligible Employer will later account for the $5,000 it retained when it files Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for the quarter.

For more information about relief under the FFCRA from failure to deposit penalties for failure to timely deposit certain federal employment taxes, see Notice 2020-22 PDF and May an Eligible Employer reduce its federal employment tax deposit by the qualified leave wages that it has paid without incurring a failure to deposit penalty?

39. Is an Eligible Employer that reduces its federal employment tax deposits to fund qualified leave wages that it has paid subject to penalty for failing to deposit federal employment taxes?

No, provided the Eligible Employer does not claim an advance for the same portion of the anticipated credits it relied upon to reduce its deposits. That is, without being subject to a penalty for failing to deposit federal employment taxes under section 6656 of the Internal Revenue Code, an Eligible Employer that has paid qualified leave wages to its employees in a calendar quarter before it is required to deposit federal employment taxes with the IRS may reduce the amount of the federal employment tax deposit by the amount of the qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses plus the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) paid by the employer in that calendar quarter, as long as the employer does not also seek an advance credit for the same amount. The total amount of any reduction in any required deposit may not exceed the total amount of qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) in the calendar quarter, minus any amount of qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) that had been previously used (1) to reduce a prior required deposit in the calendar quarter and obtain the relief provided by this notice or (2) to seek payment of an advance credit.

For more information about relief under the FFCRA from failure to deposit penalties for failure to timely deposit certain federal employment taxes, see Notice 2020-22 PDF, and May an Eligible Employer reduce its federal employment tax deposit by the qualified leave wages that it has paid without incurring a failure to deposit penalty?

40. How can an Eligible Employer that is required to pay qualified leave wages fund the payment of these wages if the Eligible Employer does not have sufficient federal employment taxes set aside for deposit to cover those payments? Can the employer get an advance of the credits?

Yes. Because quarterly returns are not filed until after qualified leave wages are required to be paid, some Eligible Employers may not have sufficient federal employment taxes set aside for deposit to the IRS to fund their required qualified leave wages. Accordingly, the IRS has a procedure for obtaining an advance of the refundable credits.

The Eligible Employer should first reduce its remaining federal employment tax deposits for wages paid in the same quarter to zero. If the permitted reduction in deposits does not equal the qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages), the Eligible Employer can file a Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, to claim an advance credit for the remaining qualified leave wages (and any allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) it has paid for the quarter for which it did not have sufficient federal employment tax deposits.

If an Eligible Employer fully reduces its required deposits of federal employment taxes otherwise due on wages paid in the same calendar quarter to its employees in anticipation of receiving the credits, and it has not paid qualified leave wages (and any allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) in excess of this amount, it should not file the Form 7200. If it files the Form 7200, it will need to reconcile this advance credit and its deposits with the qualified leave wages on Form 941 (or other applicable federal employment tax return such as Form 944 or Form CT-1), and it may have an underpayment of federal employment taxes for the quarter.

Example: An Eligible Employer paid $10,000 in qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in federal employment taxes, including taxes withheld from all of its employees, on wage payments made during the same quarter. The Eligible Employer can keep the entire $8,000 of taxes that the Eligible Employer was otherwise required to deposit without penalties as a portion of the credits it is otherwise entitled to claim on the Form 941. The Eligible Employer may file a request for an advance credit for the remaining $2,000 by completing Form 7200.

41. If the qualified leave wages (and any allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) exceed the Eligible Employer’s share of social security tax owed for a quarter, how does the Eligible Employer get a refund of the excess credits? Does this affect what the Eligible Employer puts on its Form 941?

The amount of qualified leave wages (and any allocable qualified health plan expenses and the Eligible Employer’s share of the Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) in excess of the social security tax the Eligible Employer owes for the quarter is refundable. If the amount of the credits exceeds the employer portion of social security tax, then the excess is treated as an overpayment and refunded to the employer under sections 6402(a) or 6413(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Consistent with its treatment as an overpayment, the excess will be applied to offset any remaining tax liability on the Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, and the amount of any remaining excess will be reflected as an overpayment on the Form 941. Like other overpayments of federal taxes, the overpayment will be subject to offset under section 6402(a) of the Code prior to being refunded to the employer.

42. How does an Eligible Employer obtain Form 7200 and where should it send its completed form to receive the advance credit? Is there a minimum advance amount that can be claimed on a Form 7200? (Updated July 2, 2020)

An Eligible Employer may obtain the Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19 online and may fax its completed form to 855-248-0552. After July 2, the minimum advance amount that can be claimed on a Form 7200 is $25. A Form 7200 requesting an advance of less than $25 will not be processed. Taxpayers can claim credits of less than $25 on the Form 941.

42a. Who can sign a Form 7200? Should a taxpayer submit additional documents to confirm that a person is authorized to sign a Form 7200? (Updated July 9, 2020)

The instructions for Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, provide information on who may properly sign a Form 7200 for each type of entity.  For corporations, the instructions provide that the president, vice president, or other principal officer who is duly authorized may sign a Form 7200. For partnerships (including an LLC treated as a partnership) or unincorporated organizations, a responsible and duly authorized partner, member, or officer having knowledge of the entity’s affairs may sign a Form 7200.  For a single-member LLC treated as a disregarded entity for federal income tax purposes, the instructions provide that the owner or a principal officer who is duly authorized may sign the Form.  For trusts or estates, the instructions provide that the fiduciary may sign the Form 7200.  Additionally, the instructions provide that a Form 7200 may be signed by a duly authorized agent of the taxpayer if a valid power of attorney has been filed.

In many circumstances, whether the person signing the Form 7200 is duly authorized or has knowledge of the partnership’s or unincorporated organization’s affairs is not apparent on the Form 7200.  To help expedite and ensure proper processing of Forms 7200, if a taxpayer has duly authorized an officer, partner, or member to sign Form 7200 (and that person is not otherwise explicitly permitted to sign the Form 7200 by nature of their job title), the taxpayer should submit a copy the Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, authorizing the person to sign the Form 7200 with the Form 7200.

42b. When should the name and EIN of a third-party payer be included on Form 7200? (added September 25, 2020)

Employers who file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, to claim an advance payment of credits are required to include on the form the name and EIN of the third-party payer they use to file their employment tax returns (such as the Form 941) if the third-party payer uses its own EIN on the employment tax returns. This will ensure advance payment of the credits received by the common law employer is properly reconciled to the employment tax return filed by the third-party payer for the calendar quarter for which the advance payment of the credits is received.

To help expedite and ensure proper processing of Form 7200 and reconciliation of advance payment of the credits to the employment tax return for the calendar quarter, only those third-party payers who will file an employment tax return on behalf of an employer using the third-party payer’s name and EIN should be listed on the Form 7200. Typically, CPEOs, PEOs, and other 3504 agents fall into this category of third-party payers.  

If a third-party payer will file the employment tax return on an employer’s behalf using the employer’s name and EIN and not the name and EIN of the third-party payer, the employer should not include the name and EIN of the third-party payer on the Form 7200. Typically, reporting agents and payroll service providers fall into this category of third-party payers. 

42c. If a common law employer uses a third-party payer for only a portion of its workforce, should the employer list the third-party payer on the Form 7200? (added September 25, 2020)

In some cases, a common law employer may use the services of a third-party payer (such as a CPEO, PEO, or other section 3504 agent) to pay wages for only a portion of its workforce. In those circumstances, the third-party payer files an employment tax return (such as the Form 941) for wages it paid to employees under its name and EIN, and the common law employer files an employment tax return for wages it paid directly to employees under its own name and EIN.

If the common law employer is claiming advance payments of credits for both wages paid directly to employees that will be reported on its own employment tax return and wages paid to other employees by a third-party payer that will be reported on the third-party payer’s employment tax return, two separate Forms 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, should be filed: one for the wages paid by the common law employer with the name and EIN of the employer, and one for the wages paid by the third-party payer with the name and EIN of both the common law employer and the third-party payer.

To help expedite and ensure proper processing of Form 7200 and reconciliation of advance payment of the credits to the employment tax return when an employer uses a third-party payer such as a CPEO, PEO, or other section 3504 agent for only a portion of their workforce, a common law employer should include the name and EIN of the third-party payer only on the Form 7200 for advance payment of the credits for wages paid by the third-party payer and reported on the third-party payer’s employment tax return. The common law employer should not include the name and EIN of the third-party payer on the Form 7200 for advance payments of the credits claimed for wages paid by the common law employer and reported on the common law employer’s employment tax return.

43. What if an Eligible Employer does not initially pay an employee qualified leave wages when the employee is entitled to those wages, but pays those wages at a later date?

An Eligible Employer can claim the credits once it has paid the employee for the period of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, as long as the qualified leave wages relate to leave taken during the period beginning on April 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.

 

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