Get Your ERC Refund Check - And Keep It After An Audit
Don't Be Fooled by Non-CPA Imitators
Don't Claim ERTC Without First Understanding the Facts
The government has authorized billions in economic stimulus through the Employee Retention Tax Credit program, but don't be fooled by the so-called "ERTC Experts" you see on TV, hear on the radio, and whose flyers stuff your mailbox.
While millions of businesses qualify for these refund checks - you must meet certain criteria. I'm not here to throw cold water on your hopes. Far from it.
But as a registered CPA Firm who specializes in ERTC, we are your safe harbor from these other "ERTC Experts" who have popped up in the past year.
We have helped thousands of employers claim over $500 million in refunds - legitimate, legal, audit-defensible tax credits!
(Pro Tip: Although called tax credits, this money is returned to you in the form of a refund check and it is often much larger than the payroll taxes you paid. Think of this as a rebate of wages paid, instead of a tax credit.)
Choose Your Own ERTC Adventure
Download our Newest eBook
Pre-Qualify Yourself Anonymously
Other online ERTC "calculators" are nothing more than lead generation forms disguised as a calculator. Classic bait-and-switch to get you on their list.
(Pro Tip: These other "calculators" are simply multiplying your # of employees by $26,000 and trimming a bit off to account for PPP. This information for you is entirely unhelpful and just puts you in the crosshairs of their sales team for the next two years.)
Our ERTC Qualification Tool:
Questions Frequently Asked
You're asking a CPA to explain something in more detail? That's dangerous.
Just download our Special Report. No email opt-in required. Just direct to the PDF.
In it we explain:
- How the ERTC Program came to be;
- How a business can qualify for these funds; and,
- What to watch out for with all the fraudsters offering this service.
Big picture answer: the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (signed March 11, 2021) authorizes up to $26,000 in refunds per employee, but that amount varies substantially based on no less than a dozen factors - timing of revenue declines, partially shutdown operations, timing of receipt of PPP loans & forgiveness, turnover of employees, etc etc.
We do have an ERTC Calculator that will provide you an estimate . . . and it's pretty dang good. We're withing 15% of the actual refund about 90% of the time. But there are some limitations to it, and we disclose to you what those are.
But before estimating your refund, first we have to understand how you qualify.
Other ERTC firms are pitching their "calculator", but it is nothing more than a lead generation form for their sales team.
Check out our new ERTC Pre-Qualification Tool to get a handle on how you qualify based on the two criteria, and then, we will share our Calculator with you if it makes sense.
Our ERTC Pre-Qualification Tool requires NO name, email or phone number. This isn't a trick to get you on a sales call list for the next year.
Let us help you to determine your qualifications, and if you want to work with us - great!
Since maximizing your Employee Retention Tax Credits is all we do, we've made this incredibly easy to start. In fact, we've streamlined this process and will only require about 15 minutes of your time - from start to finish.
- If you would like, go to our ERTC Pre-Qualification Tool so you can gain clarity on whether you may qualify. This step isn't 100% required; however, on your Discovery Call, we will ask these questions about your quarterly revenue for 2019, 2020 and 2021 - so if you've already entered these into the Tool, you have already jumped the line on everyone who didn't assess their own qualifying criteria.
- Now schedule your Discovery Call with our Onboarding Team. This call takes 10-15 minutes and its purpose is to answer your questions about ERTC, to determine whether we believe you are likely to qualify, and finalize the terms of our offer of engagement. This is where we will also cover some of the more complex aggregation rules that don't apply to most clients, but when they do . . . they are critical to get right.
To be clear, our Onboarding Team is not a commissioned sales team. We do not have a sales team.
We are a reputable CPA Firm. We do not cold call. We do not spam email. And we do not hard sell.
The informational content of our website and the interactions you have with our team will inform you of our culture and compentence, and we believe you should choose professional services without the pressure of a pushy salesperson.
- If you choose to engage us, we will send you an Engagement Letter to sign electronically via DropboxSign. We will also send an Intake Form, that is simply an Excel file for you to provide your quarterly revenue, owners' names and their relatives, disclose if you received Payroll Protection Program Loans (PPP) and a brief description on if/how you were impacted by governmental orders.
Our Legal Team will review your file to determine your qualifying dates and reach out to you if we have any questions, or if we see an opportunity for a larger refund if we can gather more information.
- Once we determine your qualifying dates, then we will ask for your payroll journal, Form 941's, and PPP Forgiveness Application. Unlike other ERTC firms, we do not ask for this information until we know which periods you qualify. We don't believe in wasting your time, pulling together documents that we will not ultimately need anyway.
- We have three separate accounting teams (Alpha, Beta, Omega) that independently execute the tax credit calculations on each client file. This duplication of efforts ensures any errors are corrected before we prepare your amended tax returns.
- Lastly, we deliver your Form 941-X's for you to sign and mail to the IRS. We sign your filing as the "Paid Preparer" so that we work directly with the IRS agent if they have any questions. You will receive a separate refund check for each quarter that you filed. We now (as of February 2023) expect those checks in 3-4 months (although it is not uncommon to take longer, especially for large checks).
- We get paid when you get paid - no upfront deposits! Once you receive your refund checks, we'll invoice you. And once paid, we will deliver your ERTC Determination Memo and ERTC/PPP Allocation Workpapers to support an IRS audit.
We charge between 12% and 20% of the tax credits you receive (which comes back to you as a refund check unless you owe back taxes).
Why the range?
Each client is different but # of employees, length of qualifying period, reason for qualification, and receipt of PPP funds all figures into how complex the calculation and how large the refund. Generally, the larger the refund, the lower the percentage.
Unlike some other firms, we charge nothing upfront. We invoice you when the US Treasury issues your checks and you pay your invoice once those checks clear your bank.
For non-profits, our rate is a flat 8%. We appreciate our for-profit clients understanding that this rate is below-market and only available to non-profits.
(If you previously visited this webpage and found a different answer here, our opinion on this has changed drastically since having almost two years of experience behind us now - in seeing what clients are getting back from the Payroll Services who have chosen to jump into this ERTC specialty.)
Your Payroll Service does an excellent job of executing the fundamentals of paying your employees, paying your employment taxes and filing your quarterly reports.
However, we have yet to find a Payroll Service that allocates PPP and ERTC as precisely as we do . . . by employee, by day, by hour.
This is especially troubling considering how these companies are positioned as experts in all things payroll . . . and yet they were not built for this level of data analysis. We have consistently seen these services (and I'm even talking about the big ones like AD*, Payche*, He*rtland) under-claiming these credits and charging a hefty fee all the same. But an even bigger deal . . .
Most Payroll Services are asking clients to sign an indemnification waiver before submitting a Form 941-X because the Payroll Service can take no responsibility for the accuracy of the ERTC credits you are claiming. And even more troubling, they are allowing you to claim ERTC by checking a box and attesting that you had a full or partial suspension of opertations.
This is NOT okay!
I invite you to read our Special Report and pay particular attention to our discussion on developing contemporaneous documentation to support your tax position in the event of an IRS audit. That's a mouthful, I know, but the IRS will have a field day auditing all of these clients who filed their Form 941-X through their payroll company. All they have to ask is "How did you qualify?", and they'll be recovering ill-gotten refunds and penalties and interest by the BILLIONS!
But not to only highlight the negative, there are certainly exceptions to that rule . . .
And there have been plenty of Payroll Services that we’ve worked with who are happy to provide the payroll registers that we need to perform the allocations. And they are happy to file the Amended Form 941-X when they act as a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) and file all their clients' payroll taxes on a single Schedule R
I'll once again shamelessly plug our newest Special Report: The Six Lies ERC Firms Are Using to Bilk Taxpayers.
First, let me say that we are a registered CPA Firm. We report to a State Board of Accountancy and abide by a Code of Ethics.
The ERC "specialists" you see on the TV, hear on the radio, and stuff your mailbox with flyers . . . they are not registered CPA Firms.
If this was as simple as executing math, then I would agree that we're all probably the same.
Eighteen months ago we could demonstrate how we recovered larger refunds than other firms because of how precisely we allocate ERTC and PPP by employee, by day, by hour. We have a team of four data scientists and all they do is break down payroll journals to the Nth degree.
That was how we differentiated ourselves from the other firms. And we still could. We could still make the case for how we legally recover a larger refund than the others. But this point of differentiation has been overshadowed because you now have a far greater risk than leaving a few extra dollars on the table.
Instead, over-selling of the qualifying criteria termed a "full or partial suspension of operations" has introduced a far greater risk to the tens of thousands of taxpayers who are unwittingly claiming credits that they do not qualify for (or that they are unable to support with evidence).
Our competitive advantage now is not that we will help you to legally claim larger refunds because of how we do the math . . . but rather, our competitive advantage is that "We Are Your Safe Harbor" for determining that you legally qualify in the first place.
Not to steal all the thunder from our Special Report, but checking a box on a webform and attesting that you had supply chain disruptions, trouble hiring and retaining workers, and employees didn't come to work because they were sick . . . these are NOT qualifying reasons.
And just because you check a box and receive a huge refund check . . . that is not a standard of success.
That is not how our tax system works. When you claim a credit, a refund is issued. You have not "won" or "had your claim validated" until the IRS has audited your credit claims. And when you can't produce thorough documentation, you'll be paying back all your refunds + interest + penalties.
And lastly, these firms are selling this on the phone to say they will provide audit protection and they will write you a check to make you whole in the event of the IRS recovering those funds and charging you interest and penalties.
Wrong! Read the fine print of their contract. They are only responsible up to the amount of the fees you paid them.
So now, not only will we help you to legally claim more credits, but we are also your safe harbor to help you avoid penalties and interest.
I know that' some heavy stuff, but seriously . . . grab your copy, no email opt-in required, direct PDF link:
Special Report: The Six Lies ERC Firms Are Using to Bilk Taxpayers
Why Choose JWC?
You won't find us preparing income taxes, compiling financial statements or providing attestation services of any kind.
And that is exactly why CPA firms across the country send their clients to us.
They know we are experts in ERTC and they don't worry about us stealing their clients away for all the other services they provide so well.
When you engage us, rest assured that you've hired the best CPA Firm to lock in this one-time opportunity to claim your unclaimed stimulus money.
Questions That Should Be Asked
But they aren't because . . . how would you know to ask?
While technically "true", this should come with a HUGE warning label.
There are a ton of ERTC companies (some are just marketing outfits) telling business owners they will qualify if they have any supply chain issues. Frankly, they are telling people that they qualify for almost anything pandemic related.
I've even had a prospect tell us they were qualified by another firm because they had trouble hiring people due to all the unemployment checks.
Bottom Line: the partial suspension of operations (even due to supply chain constraints) must be as the result of a government mandate. There are plenty of businesses where a case can be made, but that is exactly what needs to occur . . . a case must be made.
This is where we lean on tax attorneys to assess all the federal, state and local mandates to determine how those mandates results in a "more than nominal" impact which resulted in a partial suspension of operations.
Even if you did not have supply chain issues, you may still qualify based on the reduction of revenue.
And we are definitely not saying that "Supply Chain" cannot be a valid reason. All I'm saying is that you had better be prepared with contemporaneous documentation to support that determination because this will be a point of emphasis when the IRS audits these refunds.
Not to brag, but we pioneered this industry. When others were figuring out how the credits were calculated at their most basic level . . . we were already writing the algorithms to optimize these credits by employee . . . by day.
If you received PPP funds, the precision with which we allocate these funds is critical to ensure there is no "double-dipping" while also maximizing every dollar that is legally owed to you.
Here's an example of why this matters:
Since we allocated wages by employee by day, we may use PPP funds to pay an employee in the morning, and use their afternoon pay as qualifying wages for ERTC. This means that for many clients, we allocate 100% of their PPP funds without having to reduce the maximum allowable credits for each employee (that's up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 or $7,000 per employee per quarter in 2021).
So if you want to know whether the ERTC firm pitching you is truly maximizing your refund, that is the question you need to press them on.
If they are asking for a quarterly summary of payroll . . . then there is no way they can allocate this precisely by day by employee.
Unless they are getting a payroll report showing every employee and the breakout of every paycheck, then you're not working with an "expert".
Short answer: Affiliate partners.
Long Answer: From the beginning, our focus has been on (1) designing a client experience that is a joy for our clients and (2) designing an ERTC calculation/methodology that would legally maximize tax refunds.
It seems that everyone's else first priority was building marketing assets and signing on new clients . . . without a clue of how to serve them.
But that's okay.
Luckily for their clients, they found us and their clients are getting the same quality of service that we offer our own clients.
We've given permission for other "ERTC Experts" to utilize our FAQ's as long as we are the ones doing the work on the backend. I don't want my educational material to lead unsuspecting clients to another firm that isn't executing with the precision that we do.
So check out some of our General FAQ's. Do a Google search for them. You'll find them verbatim on over 1,000 websites.
And then come back here to get started and know you're getting the best fee by coming straight to the source.
We most certainly have our own tax attorneys to assist us, but this question comes up when a client wants to qualify based on a partial suspension of operations and they cannot provide us a clear understanding of which government mandates restricted their operations.
While some ERTC firms boast of having attorneys on staff to write memos for their clients, we are fundamentally opposed to that concept.
Instead, we recommend that you engage an attorney independently. We are happy to refer you to attorneys that we know who will do a fine job.
However, we believe there should be a clear separation between the attorney's opinion letter and our firm who is calculating your credits.
Since our fees are based on a percentage of the refunds that you receive . . . and since the size of those refunds are based on the time period that you qualify . . . we do not want there to be even an appearance of a conflict of interest.
If the IRS comes to audit, we want your truth to be that you engaged an independent, third party firm to assess your eligibility and provide an opinion letter . . . and you brought that letter to us, an independent CPA firm.
What more could the IRS expect of you as a taxpayer? With that level of diligence, we can all sleep easy at night.
And to be clear, we do not require (or even recommend) these letters for every client. Less than 2% of our clients have needed these letters and this is really just a function of us being very conservative in our own judgment.
When other firms talk about being "aggressive" with these refunds, that's a position we just won't tolerate.
There's no need for that. Just apply the facts to your situation, execute the math precisely, and sleep easy knowing everything is above board.
It was true when we started and as far as we know, we're still the only ones. (Although I'm happy to be proven wrong.)
Every other CPA firm offers other services like income taxes, audits, reviews, bookkeeping, and payroll. We've been lucky to form incredible partnerships with many CPA firms who send us their clients - not even wanting a referral fee. They just want to know their client is being taken care of by the best.
Other non-CPA firms are offering ERTC services but they have historically only worked with other tax credits like the R&D credits.
These firms don't answer to a State accounting board with ethics rules. And it is apparent in many of their marketing messages, automated text messages and pushy sales calls wanting a signed engagement letter before you've even talked to anyone.
(If you previously visited our website, this answer has been updated.)
Previously, we were working with an institutional hedge fund that was advancing cash for these credits.
However, as of December 2022, that all changed now that the IRS is doing one heck of a job of processing these returns.
Most clients see at least one refund check in 3-4 months, and many report receiving all checks by then. Since clients are now getting paid so quickly, their appetite for paying fees of 13-18% for their money just a few months quicker, is not appealling.
Easy to Start. Even Easier to Finish.
The tax code is complicated enough for CPA's - no need to complicate this process for you as well. That's why we've created The 15 Minute Refund™.
Simply register here and we'll shoot you an email on how you can move forward at your own pace. Either with a phone call to answer your questions, or a self-direct qualification path so you don't feel trapped by a phone call.
If you choose to move forward, every new engagement begins with a call with our Onboarding Team.
This is NOT a sales team. No one is commissioned. Their role is to help you pre-qualify before we begin collecting documents. (We hate asking for documents for periods that we don't need.)
We'll answer your questions, get you an engagement letter, and your role in this entire process is almost done . . . .