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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) led a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig urging flexibility for employers paying employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, it is unclear which employers will qualify for the Employee Retention Credit by continuing to pay employees while they have reduced operations or closed due to state and local requirements and recommendations. The Employee Retention Credit is included as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act provided for broad applicability of the Employee Retention Credit due to the changing nature of the Coronavirus threat. However, it is unclear whether employers who have reduced operations due to national, state, and local recommendations would qualify for the credit without receiving a specific order to close operations. The letter urged the Department of Treasury and IRS to take a broad interpretation when defining what employers are eligible and what wages qualify for the Employee Retention Credit. 

"As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across this nation have faced unimaginable consequences beyond their control," said Emmer. "I am asking that as the Employee Retention Credit is implemented, broad consideration is given in order to support more businesses and employees in need. Many are in need of assistance, and as we deal with the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must show them our support."

"The Employee Retention Credit was created with the intention of helping businesses, and a broad interpretation is necessary. The economy is struggling under the current restrictions due to the outbreak of COVID-19. We applaud Representative Emmer's effort to have this initiative apply to more employers who are supporting their workforce through this trying time," said Dave Koenig, Vice President of Tax, for the Retail Industry Leaders Association in support of Congressman Emmer's efforts.

Read the letter here