One of many COVID-era policies adopted to incentivize employers to keep employees on the payroll during uncertain and trying times of the pandemic was the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC or ERTC). The ERC was made available during most of 2020 and the first three quarters of 2021 for eligible employers. The standards for ERC changed between 2020 and 2021, making the credit nominally "easier" to claim during 2021. That said, eligibility for the credit remained subject to meeting one of two primary tests (generally requiring a reduction in gross receipts or a suspension of operations due to a COVID-era government order).
Since claiming the ERC generally involves amending payroll tax returns, eligible business may still be able to claim the credits. However, the IRS has shined a bright light on the potential for abuse in claiming these credits. The number of businesses "promoting" filing for ERCs has increased and the IRS is responding with frequent and clear warnings that taxpayers cannot and should not file a claim for an ERC without thoughtful investigation of the organization's eligibility.
In fact, ERC has been spotlighted in the IRS's "Dirty Dozen" campaign – a annually updated list of 12 potentially abusive tax scams and schemes.