ERC Company Ratings Criteria
Many ERC companies submit and claim tax credits on behalf of their clients, but not all are reputable. While the ERC is a legitimate tax credit for eligible small business owners, some ERC companies do not follow the guidelines of the IRS. Merchant Maverick strives to help our readers avoid these companies.
- Merchant Maverick has been reviewing ERC providers since 2022.
- Each review involves 10-15 hours of initial research, followed by 5-10 hours of research for each review update.
- We update our ERC reviews at least every 12 months, though most reviews are updated twice a year.
While we research and compare many different ERC providers, the reviews displayed on the site have been handpicked based on metrics like overall reputation and quality. The goal is to provide the most actionable and accurate information to our readers, so while we love to recommend great products, we don’t shy away from pointing out the areas where popular providers fall short.
Our expert writers engage in independent research for each ERC provider review, evaluating cost, depth of features, and more. When determining the star rating for a vendor, we score the following areas:
- Refund Process & Timeline
- Customer Service
- User Reviews
Each section’s score is weighted differently, with the highest weights on fees and features. The scores for each section are displayed openly in the review and then combined to create a holistic rating for the product out of 5 stars.
Read on for a more minute explanation of how we determine the individual section ratings.
20% of the total score
The Fees score is broken into two sections:
- ERC Refund Fees (70% of the total section rating)
- ERC Consultation Fees (30% of the total section rating)
Our expert reviewer looks at several things when determining the Fees score, including the relative cost of ERC services compared to the industry average, a transparent fee structure, reduced fees for upfront payments, and the availability of a free ERC consultation.
30% of the total score
The Features score is also broken down into two sections.
- ERC Services (90% of the total section rating)
- Additional Tax Services (10% of the total section rating)
We take many factors into account when evaluating ERC providers. Our expert reviewer evaluates factors like audit protection, secure customer portals, ERC calculators and other resources, and the availability of ERC loans and advances. Additional tax and business services offered by each ERC provider are also considered, although this has a very low impact on the overall score.
Refund Process & Timeline
35% of the total score
The Refund Process & Timeline score is also broken down into two sections.
- Ease Of Refund Process (60% of the total section rating)
- Speed Of ERC Processing (40% of the total section rating)
We consider the overall ease of the ERC refund process, looking at factors such as easy prequalification, secure document uploads, dedicated representatives to provide updates, and whether the provider submits forms to the IRS on the client’s behalf. We also consider the speed of ERC processing by the provider. Please note that this does not include the time it takes for the IRS to process a claim after submission, as this timeline can not be controlled by the ERC company.
5% of the total score
The Customer Service score is broken down into two sections.
- Personal Support (50% of the total section rating)
- Self-Service (50% of the total section rating)
When scoring customer service, we pay the most attention to the number of support options available (phone, email, in-person, etc.), the quality of personal support received, the training options available, and the usability and depth of any online training materials, such as wikis, videos, and webinars.
10% of the total score
The Customer Reviews score is comprised of two sections.
- User Feedback (30% of the total section rating)
- Review Site Aggregate (70% of the total section rating)
We scour the internet for user feedback on all the products we review, looking for positive and negative feedback. Merchant Maverick is not a user review platform, so for part of this total rating we rely on aggregate user scores from sites such as the Better Business Bureau, TrustPilot, and more.