As IRS Announces Pause of ERC Payouts, Businesses May Resume Pursuit of Upfront Alternatives

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us treasury checksAcross the web on internet forums such as Reddit, business owners accustomed to telling ERC filing war stories are starting to worry that their checks might not be coming any time soon.

“I spoke with an agent today. She said they received an organization-wide email to stop processing ERC for the time being,” one user reported at the end of August. Some users replied to say that it wasn’t true. But it is.

On July 26, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said that the IRS had cleared its backlog of valid ERC claims and is now “intensifying compliance work and putting in place additional procedures to deal with fraud in the program.”

“The further we get from the pandemic, we believe the percentage of legitimate claims coming in is declining,” Werfel said.

The IRS later confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it had in fact slowed its processing of claims. There’s some truth in the assertion that the IRS had cleared out a major backlog before doing this.

In late June, for example, those same internet forums were abuzz with happy check recipients and a rush of optimism that the era of long processing wait times was coming to a close. The shift in sentiment had implications. For Finance ERC, a company that provides business owners with cash upfront in return for buying their future ERC receivables, the impact was immediate.

“[Early in] the summer we saw tremendous demand in our origination levels, April, May, and June, of companies coming to us with the mindset that the IRS was taking too long so they wanted to sell their ERC credit rather than wait,” said David Goldin, a Managing Member of Finance ERC. “And then we saw in our portfolio, which is large checks flowing in from the IRS all at once over the summer, and then we saw our demand for new customers fall off a cliff.”

The IRS cranking out checks had made people reconsider not wanting to wait.

“Psychologically, customers then would say, ‘why would I finance it, I’m going to be getting my check any day, my friend got his check, this one got his check…'”

But since then IRS checks slowed to a crawl, intentionally. And for all the talk about clearing the backlog, there were still 637,000 unprocessed 941-X forms (adjusted quarterly tax forms necessary for the credit) as of September 6th, not to mention that under current law, 2020 tax returns can be amended until April 2024, and 2021 returns can be amended until April 2025.

On September 14th, the IRS upped the ante of a delay to a total pause for new claims. “New claims for the employee retention credit, or ERC, won’t be processed until at least 2024,” the WSJ reported. The headline leaves little room for misinterpretation: IRS Shuts Door on New Pandemic Tax Credit Claims Until at Least 2024.

dollar eyeAll of which means that business owners are now back to the waiting game and potentially back to considering upfront solutions. For Finance ERC, the company saw interest suddenly pick up and then accelerate since the first WSJ story came out.

“So I’m not saying the day that article came out, but we’ve definitely seen a spike in demand,” Goldin said. “My thing would be that for anyone that was selling [ERC financing], to think about that again, or those that weren’t selling it and they’re feeling that the MCA market is struggling, it’s too competitive, this is a new opportunity.”

Goldin shared this prior to the news breaking that the delay of ERC payouts had completely paused. Presumably, it would only make businesses more interested in getting the financing.

As he previously told deBanked, Finance ERC’s product requires no payments, can be eligible for up to 4-6x of what they would otherwise qualify for with an MCA, and can get it at a fraction of the cost of an MCA. But offering it can’t be done as an afterthought, he explained, even if you’re a big company with a big merchant portfolio.

“…you send out one or two emails you might as well not even send them out at all,” Goldin said.” Unless you’re actually embracing the product in your ecosystem, you know, drip marketing, follow up, you literally have to have a separate team selling it or it won’t work. But the guys that have done it, I know a few MCA guys that have, they’ve crushed it on both filing and funding. They’ve set up a separate group, separate sales guys, and they’re really killing it.”

And so the previous frontier of financing the ERC could now also be the next frontier yet again because of what’s taking place. On one subreddit, now that the reality is setting in, the tone has shifted.

“Has anyone tried contacting their state representative about the delay in refund?” The user began. He then adds that he’s already been waiting a whole year.

Last modified: September 14, 2023
Sean Murray

Category: Employee Retention Tax Credit

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