erc and ppp

Can You Get Employee Retention Credit If You Get PPP?

erc and ppp

Can You Get Employee Retention Credit If You Get PPP?

Navigating the complex landscape of financial assistance during challenging economic times can be daunting. You may have heard about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), but are unsure if you can benefit from both.

While PPP and ERC were initially set up as mutually exclusive, recent changes now allow businesses to take advantage of both – with some caveats. Understanding how these programs differ, how they intersect, and learning to maximize their benefits could provide significant financial relief for your business.

We’ll also guide you on how to apply for ERC if you’ve already taken a PPP loan. Remember, navigating tax laws and financial policies requires precision; hence a detailed comprehension is crucial for making informed decisions which we aim to facilitate through this article.

Employee Retention Credit and PPP?

Yes, you can snag the Employee Retention Credit even if you’ve bagged a PPP loan, but it’s like trying to eat your cake and have it too – you can’t count the same wages paid with the forgiven PPP funds towards your ERC. This is due to stipulations set forth in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which specifically disallows ‘double dipping’ or using both programs to cover identical expenditures.

For instance, suppose your business utilized $50,000 from your PPP loan to cover employee salaries and you anticipate receiving full forgiveness for this amount. Under these circumstances, those compensated wages cannot be included in calculating your ERC entitlement.

Navigating these financial waters might seem daunting, but understanding the underlying principles can simplify matters. Essentially, while both programs aim at supporting businesses during economic downturns by subsidizing payroll costs – they are fundamentally distinct in their operational mechanisms and eligibility requirements.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides forgivable loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19 so they can maintain their workforce during this challenging period. On the other hand, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a fully refundable tax credit designed for businesses that kept employees on their payroll despite experiencing significant disruptions due to pandemic-induced orders.

So yes, being a recipient of a PPP loan doesn’t automatically disqualify you from claiming an ERC retroactive back to 2020. However, certain conditions need adhering – particularly regarding wage allocations between both incentives; ensuring compliance requires diligent documentation and accurate record keeping.

By straddling these boundaries adeptly yet cautiously – managing finances astutely becomes less taxing.

How to Maximize the PPP and ERC

Navigating both the PPP and ERC can be quite a challenge, but with careful planning and smart decisions, it’s possible to take full advantage of these financial aids. The key is understanding how each program works and how they intersect.

If you included non-payroll costs in your PPP loan forgiveness application, strive to demonstrate that at least 60% of the total loan was spent on payroll. This strategy makes you eligible for full forgiveness. Conversely, if no qualifying non-payroll costs are itemized on your application, you must substantiate that 100% of the loan amount was allocated to payroll to secure complete forgiveness.

When engaging with a tax professional, provide thorough explanations about how government orders have affected your business operations. Your detailed insights will enable them to optimize the amount for which you qualify under both schemes.

Remember not to double-dip by using the same payroll expenses for both PPP loan and ERC claims; this could result in denial or penalties. Delineate clearly between the total payroll costs utilized for the PPP loan from those listed with the ERC.

It’s advisable to work with a seasoned tax professional rather than filing yourself. Although there are associated fees, these experts possess deep knowledge about these programs that surpasses what most business owners have independently. Additionally, they’ll ensure accurate credit filing – an invaluable service if an audit were ever conducted.

By carefully managing these details and working closely with a knowledgeable tax professional, you’re better positioned to maximize benefits from both PPP and ERC while adhering strictly to all guidelines laid out by financial authorities.

Difference between PPP and ERC

While both the PPP and ERC offer financial relief for businesses impacted by the pandemic, they differ significantly in their structure, timing, costs, and repayment requirements. Let’s break down these differences to provide you a better understanding of how each program functions.

  1. Type of Funding: The PPP is designed as a forgivable loan that can be fully waived if used on qualifying expenses like payroll or rent. If some funds are used for non-qualifying purposes, that portion must be repaid with a fixed interest rate of 1% over two or five years. On the contrary, the ERC is an outright tax credit that doesn’t need to be repaid.
  2. Funding Time: Typically, once approved for a PPP loan, you could receive funds directly deposited within ten days. Conversely, ERC requires filing Form 941-X and waiting for IRS review before distribution; this could take anywhere from three to six months.
  3. Costs: Applying for the PPP loan doesn’t cost anything upfront but may require repayments if not used on qualifying expenses. For ERC there’s no governmental fee either; your only potential expense might come from hiring professional assistance to prepare and file your tax forms.
  4. Repayment Requirements: With PPP loans, any part of the loan used for non-qualifying reasons has to be repaid with interest; however, ERC being a tax credit comes without such obligations.

Understanding these distinctions helps you make informed decisions about which program best suits your business needs while navigating through these challenging times brought upon by the pandemic.

How to Apply for ERC if You Got PPP Loans

Securing a PPP loan doesn’t necessarily disqualify your business from also tapping into the benefits of ERC. You may be able to claim both, but remember that you can’t use the same wages to apply for both programs. The key is to work with a tax professional or CPA who can guide you through the complexities of these programs and their interplay.

If you’ve taken a PPP loan, gather all necessary documents such as the date when the loan was granted and the amount borrowed. This information will be critical in determining how much ERC you are eligible for. Remember, though, that any wages covered by your PPP loan cannot also count towards your Employee Retention Credit.

You’ll also need to collect payroll information for each quarter in 2020 and 2021. This should include gross compensation paid to employees during these periods. Keep in mind that only certain types of wages qualify for this credit so it’s important to understand what counts as eligible remuneration.

Your sales revenue from 2019 to 2020 is another crucial piece of data needed for applying for ERCs. It’s used to calculate eligibility based on net income, losses, and number of full-time employees – although this criterion does not apply if you have fewer than 100 employees.

The process may seem daunting but with accurate record-keeping and expert guidance, navigating through it can become more manageable. Take note: while balancing PPP loans with ERC applications requires careful planning and strategic decision-making, it could lead to significant financial benefits for your business amidst uncertain times.


In conclusion, you can indeed get the Employee Retention Credit even if you’ve already received a PPP loan. However, it’s crucial to strategically plan in order to maximize both benefits.

Understanding the differences between PPP and ERC is fundamental. Applying for ERC after obtaining your PPP demands careful navigation of tax laws and financial policies.

Stay informed and seek professional advice to make financially sound decisions for your business.

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