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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, contains a tax credit to encourage companies to continue paying employees if the business has been closed, or there has been a significant decline in sales due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This tax credit is available to a business of any size, although the rules for a business with no more than 100 employees are more flexible. Importantly, the credit is refundable and can be monetized quickly after the payroll is paid.

This provision allows a 50% refundable tax credit for wages paid to employees of businesses that have been closed due to governmental order or that have encountered a significant decline in gross receipts. The tax credit is capped at $5,000 for each employee, so there would be no credit allowed after the first $10,000 in wages eligible for the credit have been paid. The eligibility rules vary depending on the number of workers. The credit may be applied to a company that conducts a trade or business for wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2021, if the requirements are satisfied.

Read the full GT Alert, “Employee Retention Tax Credit for Employers under the CARES Act