Comprehensive Analysis on Claiming the Employee Retention Credit for Recovery Startup Businesses

Employee Retention Credit

Employee Retention Credit

As an esteemed United States Tax Attorney with extensive expertise in the domain of U.S. tax credits, IRS regulations, Treasury Tax Codes, and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), my professional journey has endowed me with profound insights into the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). This document is meticulously crafted to elucidate the tax codes, regulations, and legislative underpinnings relevant to Recovery Startup Businesses seeking to claim the ERC. With the intricacies of recent developments and regulatory changes in mind, this analysis aims to furnish businesses with a detailed, authoritative guide to navigating this aspect of the ERC, underscored by a nuanced understanding of pertinent IRS sections, Congressional laws, and Treasury Tax Codes.

Legislative Context

The ERC, originally instituted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020, has undergone several amendments and expansions, notably through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These legislative actions have broadened the scope of the ERC, introducing provisions specifically tailored to support Recovery Startup Businesses during the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Defining Recovery Startup Businesses

Recovery Startup Businesses are defined under the American Rescue Plan Act as companies that commenced operations after February 15, 2020, and meet certain criteria related to annual gross receipts. This designation allows newer businesses, which may not meet the traditional ERC eligibility criteria based on significant declines in revenue or full/partial suspensions due to government orders, to benefit from the ERC.

Relevant Tax Codes and Regulations

  • Section 3134 of the Internal Revenue Code: Enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, this section introduces the concept of Recovery Startup Businesses and outlines the criteria and limitations for claiming the ERC by these entities.
  • IRS Notice 2021-20 and IRS Notice 2021-49: These notices provide comprehensive guidance on the ERC, including detailed information on how Recovery Startup Businesses can qualify and claim the credit. They are essential resources for understanding the application of Section 3134 in practice.

Criteria for Recovery Startup Businesses

To qualify as a Recovery Startup Business under Section 3134, a business must:

1. Have Begun Operations After February 15, 2020: This criterion aims to identify businesses that were established just before or during the pandemic and are therefore unlikely to have financial records demonstrating a significant decline in revenue.

2. Earn Annual Gross Receipts of Less Than $1 Million: This threshold ensures that the provision targets small to medium-sized startups facing the brunt of economic challenges due to the pandemic.

Claiming the ERC as a Recovery Startup Business

Recovery Startup Businesses are entitled to claim the ERC up to a cap of $50,000 per quarter, regardless of the number of employees. This provision offers a lifeline to nascent enterprises that have been operational during the challenging economic climate engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic. To claim the credit, businesses must:

1. Accurately Determine Eligibility: Ensure that the business meets the specific criteria set forth for Recovery Startup Businesses, including the commencement of operations after February 15, 2020, and adherence to the gross receipts threshold.

2. Calculate the Credit: Recovery Startup Businesses should calculate the credit based on qualified wages paid to employees, up to the specified cap of $50,000 per quarter.

3. Compliance and Documentation: Maintain comprehensive records of payroll, gross receipts, and the date of business commencement to substantiate the claim. Proper documentation will be crucial in the event of an IRS audit or review.


For Recovery Startup Businesses navigating the complexities of the ERC, a thorough understanding of the relevant legislative and regulatory framework is indispensable. This document has endeavoured to demystify the process, providing a detailed exposition of the requirements and procedures for claiming the ERC. Given the intricate nature of tax laws and the potential for significant financial benefit, Recovery Startup Businesses are advised to seek the counsel of experienced tax professionals. This approach will ensure not only compliance with the prevailing regulations but also the maximization of benefits available under the ERC, thereby contributing to the financial resilience of these emerging enterprises during these unprecedented times.

Call to Action:

Starting a new business and wondering about ERTC benefits? Contact us at or visit to learn how we can help your startup navigate ERTC opportunities.


The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Consult a tax professional to understand how the ERTC can benefit your Recovery Startup Business specifically.


1. What qualifies a business as a Recovery Startup Business under the ERTC?

A Recovery Startup Business is defined as a company that began operation after February 15, 2020, and typically has average annual gross receipts of $1 million or less.

2. How can Recovery Startup Businesses benefit from the ERTC?

These businesses can claim the ERTC against employer Social Security taxes based on qualified wages paid to employees, even if they do not meet the decline in gross receipts or full or partial suspension criteria.

3. What is the maximum credit available for Recovery Startup Businesses under the ERTC?

Recovery Startup Businesses can claim a maximum credit of $50,000 per quarter.

4. Are there specific conditions that Recovery Startup Businesses must meet to claim the ERTC?

Aside from being a business started after February 15, 2020, with gross receipts of $1 million or less, the business must not otherwise qualify for the ERTC based on other criteria like revenue decline or government order suspensions.

5. What are qualified wages for Recovery Startup Businesses under the ERTC?

Qualified wages are those paid to employees during an eligible quarter and include health benefits. The definition may vary based on the number of full-time employees.

6. Can Recovery Startup Businesses claim the ERTC for all quarters in 2021?

Yes, eligible Recovery Startup Businesses can claim the ERTC for any quarter in 2021 where they meet the qualifications.

7. What documentation should Recovery Startup Businesses maintain to support their ERTC claim?

Businesses should keep accurate payroll records, documentation of start date, and gross receipts to support their eligibility and claim under the ERTC.

8. How does a Recovery Startup Business apply for the ERTC?

Businesses can claim the ERTC by reporting their total qualified wages and related health insurance costs on their federal employment tax returns, typically using Form 941.

9. What if a Recovery Startup Business becomes eligible for the ERTC based on other criteria later?

If a business later qualifies for the ERTC under other criteria like a significant decline in gross receipts, they can still claim under those rules, potentially increasing their credit amount.

10. Are non-profit organizations considered Recovery Startup Businesses for the ERTC?

Yes, non-profit organizations that started operations after February 15, 2020, and meet other specific criteria can qualify as Recovery Startup Businesses under the ERTC.

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