The Employee Retention Tax Credit (“ERC”), passed as part of the CARES Act, has provided vital relief to countless struggling businesses affected by the pandemic. But the ERC program also has been plagued by fraud. Its implementation has spawned a cottage industry of promoters advertising easy-to-obtain and lucrative payroll tax credits to business owners whom they then trick or cajole into claiming up to hundreds of thousands in credits to which they are not entitled, resulting in billions of losses to the government. The IRS is not taking this lying down. This March, the IRS singled out ERC fraud in its 2023 “Dirty Dozen” list of abusive transactions. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel has signaled that civil and criminal enforcement of ERC fraud is one of its top priorities. And the IRS is encouraging individuals to report illicit or abusive ERC activities to the IRS Lead Development Center in the Office of Promoter Investigations. On top of this, the IRS recently issued guidance to practitioners, which doubled as a warning, on proceeding with caution when representing clients seeking to claim ERC credits.
This program will educate participants on the ERC program, explain the ways in which it has been abused, detail the government’s response to the problem, and educate practitioners on how best to protect their clients and themselves from ending up in the IRS’s crosshairs as part of its ERC fraud enforcement.