• The new Publication 5419 provides an overview of the three new refundable employer tax credits
  • The IRS is to continue to expand FAQ sets to address employer concerns

The Internal Revenue Service continues to develop guidance about the three refundable tax credits established to aid employers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, agency officials said June 2.

Employers may refer to the new Publication 5419, “New Employer Tax Credits: The Employee Retention Credit,” as an overview of the tax credits, said Janine Cook, deputy chief counsel in the IRS office of Exempt Organizations and Employment Tax.

The two-page document, issued May 27 by the IRS, provides a flow-chart that may help employers determine whether they are eligible to claim the employee retention credit, which was established by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

The publication also defines qualified wages that may count toward the credit, Cook said at the annual American Payroll Association Congress, which was held online because of the coronavirus crisis.

A second chart outlines the qualified sick leave wage and family leave wage amounts that may be applied toward the paid sick leave and paid family leave credits established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The IRS is to continue to expand its sets of frequently asked questions regarding the tax credits to address concerns expressed by individual employers and organizations, Cook said. Nearly 170 FAQs have been released, she said.

Many of the questions recently received by the IRS were sent by employers that are resuming regular operations in phases and are unsure whether operations meet the standard for partial suspension, as operations must be fully or partially suspended in order to claim the employee retention credit, Cook said. The employee retention credit FAQs provide guidance for determining whether business operations have been fully or partially suspended, and employers with concerns should refer to that guidance until more information is released, she said.