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IRS Guidance on Employee Retention Credit

The Employee Retention Credit created under Section 2302 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Since the adoption of the CARES Act, employers have expressed concern that if one employer acquires another employer that previously received a PPP loan, the acquirer’s entire aggregated group may no longer be eligible to claim the Employee Retention Credit.

On November 16, 2020, the IRS added two new FAQs to their website addressing this Employee Retention Credit issue. Initially, the only way an employer that received a CARES Act Loan (e.g., PPP) would be eligible for an employee retention credit is if they paid the loan back by May 18, 2020, regardless of whether the loan is subsequently forgiven or paid back after May 18, 2020.

However, an employer acquiring an entity may remain eligible for the Employee Retention Credit after the May 18th deadline if certain conditions are met. Take the following example to understand the conditions. Company A is the Acquiring Employer in the transaction, while Company B is the Target Employer who has received PPP funds. For Employee Retention Credit eligibility conditions to apply, Company A’s acquisition of Company B’s stock or other equity interest must result in Company B becoming a member of the Aggregated Employer Group under the aggregation rules. Now, for the Acquiring Employer to remain eligible for the Employee Retention Credit, prior to the closing date of the transaction, the Target Employer must have:

  • fully satisfied the PPP loan; or
  • submitted a forgiveness application to the PPP lender and established an interest-bearing escrow account.

If one of the conditions are met, the Aggregated Employer Group, after the closing date, will not be treated as having received a PPP loan, provided that the Acquiring Employer – including any member of the Acquiring Employer’s pre-transaction Aggregated Employer Group – had not received a PPP loan before the closing date and no member of the Aggregated Employer Group receives a PPP loan on or after the closing date.  If so, any employer that is a member of the Aggregated Employer Group, including the Target Employer, may claim the Employee Retention Credit for qualified wages paid on and after the closing date, provided that the Aggregated Employer Group otherwise meets the requirements to claim the Employee Retention Credit.  In addition, any Employee Retention Credit claimed by the Acquiring Employer’s pre-transaction Aggregated Employer Group for qualified wages paid before the closing date will not be subject to recapture under section 2301(l)(3) of the CARES Act.

If the Target Employer had received a PPP loan, but prior to the transaction closing date, the PPP Loan is not fully satisfied and no escrow account is established, then, after the closing date, the Aggregated Employer Group (other than the Target Employer) will not be treated as having received a PPP loan, provided that the Acquiring Employer (including any member of the Acquiring Employer’s pre-transaction Aggregated Employer Group) had not received a PPP loan before the closing date and no member of the Aggregated Employer Group receives a PPP loan on or after the closing date. 

Any employer (other than the Target Employer) that is a member of the Aggregated Employer Group may claim the Employee Retention Credit for qualified wages paid on and after the closing date, provided that the Aggregated Employer Group otherwise meets the requirements to claim the Employee Retention Credit.  In addition, any Employee Retention Credit claimed by the Acquiring Employer’s pre-transaction Aggregated Employer Group for qualified wages paid before the closing date will not be subject to recapture under section 2301(l)(3) of the CARES Act. 

However, the Target Employer that received the PPP loan prior to the transaction closing date and that continues to be obligated on the PPP loan after the closing date is ineligible for the Employee Retention Credit for any wages paid to any employee of the Target Employer before or after the closing date.

To find out if you are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit due May 18th, contact the PPP Loan/SBA Loan BMD Practice Group Christopher Meager at cmeager@bmdllc.com.

BMD Appellate Win Clarifies Waiver of Contractual Right to Arbitrate

Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC attorneys David M. Scott, Lucas K. Palmer, and Krista D. Warren prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding if/when a party waives a contractual right to arbitrate. Borror Property Management, LLC v. Oro Karric North, LLC, No. 20-3146 (the “Decision”).

Relief for Ohio Under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) — a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package — a significant portion of which will be directed to the State of Ohio to support economic recovery, as outlined below.

Cleveland Manufacturer Violated OFAC Sanctions By Allowing Shipments To Iran - Know Your Customer and Know Their Customer

UniControl, Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio manufacturer of process controls, airflow pressure switches, boiler controls and other instruments, agreed to pay the Office of Foreign Assets Control “OFAC,” the financial enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, $216,464 to settle its liabilities for violations of the Iran Sanctions Program. OFAC stated that “this enforcement action highlights the importance of identifying and assessing multiple warning signs that indicate a foreign trade partner may be re-exporting goods to a sanctioned jurisdiction.”

Ohio Breach of Contract Statute of Limitations Shortened to 6 Years

On March 16, 2021, Governor DeWine signed into law S.B. 13 which shortens Ohio’s statute of limitations for filing lawsuits based on breach of contract. A statute of limitation is the time period within which a party must file a lawsuit before its claim expires as a matter of law.

Chinese Product Tariff Challenge Causes Flurry of Importer Lawsuits

A lawsuit filed late in 2020 at the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) challenging the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) implementation of Section 301 “List 3” and “List 4” duties on products from China, HMTX Industries LLC et al. v. United States (Court No. 20-00177), has resulted in the filing of thousands of additional lawsuits brought by other affected importers. There are now 3,700+ companies added to the list, including Ford, Home Depot, Target, Tesla, and Walgreens, along with many other smaller importers.