Employers’ Deadlines to Apply for the Employee Retention Credit

The ERC deadlines have become a major topic among employers recently. In this article, we go over the dates employers need to know and the causes of confusion.
Photo of Hourglass Representing the Deadlines to Claim the ERC for 2020 and 2021

The recent emergence of dubious third-party tax advisors for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), coined “ERC Mills,” has muddled many employers’ understanding of the program’s deadlines. What is most concerning is the number of inaccurate statements being published or advertised. The majority of misstatements are rooted in a common misinterpretation of the IRS’s guidelines for employer quarterly and annual federal tax returns, but there are some that are more predacious like “the ERTC deadline is March 12, 2023.” The IRS touched on this issue in IR-2022-183, published on October 19, 2022.

In this short article, we separate fact from fiction and provide some much-needed clarification for the IRS guidelines pertaining to the ERC’s deadlines.

The Real ERC Deadlines

There are only two dates employers need to know. For all quarters in 2020, the deadline to file an amendment to an employer’s quarterly or annual federal tax return — specifically an IRS Form 941-X (also referred to as an “Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return” or “Claim for Refund”), 943-X, or 944-X — is April 15, 2024. For all quarters in 2021, the deadline is April 15, 2025.

Note: Separate amendments need to be filed for every quarter that the ERC is claimed. For example, if an employer qualifies for the ERC in Q4 of 2020, and Q1-Q3 of 2021, they will need to file a separate 941-X for all four quarters.

Cause for Confusion

Page 6 of the IRS’s Instructions for Form 941-X state the following as it pertains to the 941-X deadline:

Generally, you may correct overreported taxes on a previously filed Form 941 if you file Form 941-X within 3 years of the date Form 941 was filed or 2 years from the date you paid the tax reported on Form 941, whichever is later. You may correct underreported taxes on a previously filed Form 941 if you file Form 941-X within 3 years of the date the Form 941 was filed. We call each of these time frames a “period of limitations.” For purposes of the period of limitations, Forms 941 for a calendar year are considered filed on April 15 of the succeeding year if filed before that date.

The last sentence is easy to miss, “for the purposes of the period of limitations, Forms 941 for a calendar year are considered filed on April 15 of the succeeding year if filed before that date.” This instruction is derived from Section 6513(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. In layman’s terms, this instruction means that all quarterly federal tax returns for a given year are treated as if they were filed on April 15 of the following year. So, assuming employers filed their 941’s on or before April 30, July 31, October 31, and December 31 of 2020, all four 941s are treated as if they were filed on April 15, 2021 — setting the period of limitations to April 15, 2024. For 2021, employers’ 941s are treated as if they were filed on April 15, 2022, setting the period of limitations to April 15, 2025.

Note: The IRS’s Instructions for Form 943-X and Instructions for Form 944-X provide the same instructions as Form 941-X so the deadlines do not change. For the period of the ERC program that falls between March 13, 2020, and March 31, 2020, the IRS instructs employers to report any corrections in Q2 of 2020.

Conclusion

The ERC is a tremendous opportunity for those that qualify, but employers should exercise caution when deciding on a tax advisor to consult and file their ERC claim. Keep in mind that the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) extended the IRS’s statute of limitations from three years to five years for assessing employers’ ERC claims.

Find Out If You’re Eligible for the ERC

You may be eligible for a payroll tax refund of up to $26,000.00 per employee in 2020 or 2021. This is money you’ve earned, brought to you by the company you trust. Submit an ERC application online to find out if you’re eligible or schedule an ERC consultation to learn more.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. 1st Capital Financial and its affiliates assume no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

Avatar for The 1st Capital Team, Author and Contributor for The 1st Capital Courier
The 1st Capital Team
Editorial Staff
The 1st Capital Team is comprised of seasoned small business experts and content marketing professionals adept at gathering the best and most accurate information and resources available for its readers.

Related Articles

Learn everything you need to know about IRS ERC audits, prevention, and preparation in this comprehensive guide.
If your business is still waiting on IRS processing, ERC funding may be a solution. Here are ten ways you can put your ERC refund to use now.
The IRS has announced a moratorium on ERC processing until 2024. Learn about what this means for ERC claimants, preparers, and promoters.
Learn about the benefits, eligibility criteria, application process, and other considerations for ERC Bridge Financing in this guide.
We're proud to announce that we've expanded our popular ERC Filing Service, added ERC Advance Loans, and launched new ERC Partner Programs.
Employers' size can make a huge difference in the overall value of their ERC claims. Check out this article to learn why that is and how the rules might apply to your business.
The ERC expired in September of 2021, but qualifying businesses can still claim it retroactively. Learn about the eligibility requirements and process for qualifying.
Get a clearer understanding of what’s fact, what’s fiction, and how you might benefit as an employer from the ERC program.
Discover everything you need to know about the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) program as an employer in 2023.

Your Financing Consultation is Confirmed

You will be receiving an email confirmation shortly.

Your ERC Consultation is Confirmed

You will be receiving an email confirmation shortly.

Join the Fold

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Your ERC Partner Application has been received!

A team member will contact you within 1 to 2 business days. Welcome to the 1st Capital family.