IRS orders Immediate Stop to New Employee Retention Credit Processing
Amid rising concerns about a flood of improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims, the Internal Revenue Service announced an immediate moratorium through at least the end of the year on processing new claims for the pandemic-era relief program to protect honest small business owners from scams.
IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel ordered the immediate moratorium to run through at least Dec. 31 following growing concerns inside the tax agency, from tax professionals as well as media reports that a substantial share of new claims from the aging program are ineligible and increasingly putting businesses at financial risk by being pressured and scammed by aggressive promoters and marketing.
The IRS continues to work previously filed claims and renewed a reminder that increased fraud concerns means processing times will be longer.
Payouts for these claims will continue during the moratorium period but at a slower pace due to the detailed compliance reviews. With the stricter compliance reviews in place during this period, existing ERC claims will go from a standard processing goal of 90 days to 180 days – and much longer if the claim faces further review or audit. The IRS may also seek additional documentation from the taxpayer to ensure it is a legitimate claim.
This enhanced compliance review of existing claims submitted before the moratorium is critical to protect against fraud but also to protect the businesses from facing penalties or interest payments stemming from bad claims pushed by promoters.
Taxpayers are encouraged to review IRS guidance and tools for helping determine ERC eligibility, including frequently asked questions and a new question and answer guide released today to help businesses understand if they are actually eligible for the credit.
The IRS is developing new initiatives to help businesses who found themselves victims of aggressive promoters. In addition, the IRS is finalizing details that will be available soon for a special withdrawal option for those who have filed an ERC claim but the claim has not been processed. As part of the wider compliance effort, the IRS is working with the Justice Department to address fraud in the ERC program as well as promoters who have been ignoring the rules and pushing businesses to apply.
Questions related to the ERC program can be directed to your accounting professional.