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Unemployment taxes

Learn about tax reporting and more during an upcoming webinar 

Do you have questions about unemployment tax reporting? Want to know more about other services and programs available for employers through the Employment Security Department? 

Join us for an upcoming webinar from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22. 

Here are a few topics we’ll cover: 

  • Filing quarterly unemployment reports and paying taxes, including our available online services. 
  • Employer tax rates. 
  • Unemployment benefit charges. 
  • How to include Standard Occupational Classification codes and job titles in your reports. 

Bring your questions about unemployment taxes and more. Our staff will be available to help! 

The webinar lasts 60 minutes. 

How to attend the webinar 

Join the meeting when the event begins. The webinar password is February2024. You can also join by phone by calling 877-309-3457. The password for phone call is 33278270. 

Webinar resources 

 

If you have employees working in Washington, you likely must pay unemployment taxes on their wages in this state. Tax reports or tax and wage reports are due quarterly. Liable employers must submit a tax report every quarter, even if there are no paid employees that quarter or taxes are unable to be paid.

Employer tips and information

Register your business/hire employees Law and regulations Frequently asked questions Contact information by topic | Reporting fraud

 


On this page:


Filing wage reports and paying unemployment taxes

Refer to the About the Employer Account Management Services (EAMS) page

   

Pay taxes only

Use EAMS to pay your unemployment taxes online.

Note: If you use paper forms to file your taxes, we will send you the forms in the mail. You must use the current, original forms we send you or you might receive a penalty. To request the latest forms, Email OlympiaAMC@esd.wa.gov.

 


Unemployment tax rates

 

Review the basis for your unemployment taxes:

Calculate your unemployment taxes:

Learn more about how to appeal if you disagree with your unemployment tax rate. 

 


Penalties

Learn more about penalties for:

Request a tax-penalty waiver  |  Set up a payment plan

 


Who and what to report

Who is excluded from unemployment taxes

Filing reports for clients

 


Unemployment Insurance is a federal-state partnership 

Program parameters come from both federal statute and guidance and state statute and rules.

 
Every state has a UI trust fund

States deposit employer tax dollars in individual UI trust funds for paying future benefits.

  • ESD produces Washington’s UI trust fund forecast report three times per year.
  • Find current and archived reports on ESD's labor market page for the trust fund.

 

Employers pay two types of taxes: state (SUTA) and federal (FUTA)

  • SUTA taxes fund benefit payments for claimants. They’re deposited in the state’s UI trust fund.
  • FUTA taxes are administered at the federal level. They’re used for oversight of state unemployment programs. During times of high unemployment, states may borrow from FUTA funds, helping provide benefits to locally unemployed people.

 

State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

An employee’s wages are taxable up to an amount called the taxable wage base, authorized in RCW 50.24.010. This taxable wage base for 2024 is $68,500, increasing from $67,600 in 2023.

Experience tax currently capped at 5.4% (RCW 50.29.025(1)(a)(ii))

  • Annual tax calculation based on the ratio of benefit claims of former employees charged to the employer and taxable wages reported by the employer over the preceding four fiscal years.
  • Employers are placed in one of 40 rate classes based on former employees’ use of UI program.

Flat social tax currently capped at 0.85% (RCW 50.29.025)

  • Shared-cost tax, based on costs from the previous year for benefit payments that can’t be attributed to specific employers.
  • State law instructs ESD to adjust the flat social tax rate based on the employer’s rate class.
  • The flat social tax was capped at 0.50% for 2021, 0.50% for 2022 and 0.75% for 2023. It is capped at 0.85% for 2024 and 0.90% for 2025. In all other years, the flat social tax is capped at 1.22%. 

The total of the experience tax and the social tax can’t exceed 6%.

Solvency tax is waived (RCW 50.29.041)

  • For taxes paid for 2021 through 2025, the solvency surcharge is currently waived.
  • For all other years, state statute requires ESD to assess a solvency surcharge when the UI trust fund has less than seven months of benefits as of Sept. 30.
  • The solvency surcharge will be the lowest possible rate needed to get the UI trust fund back up to nine months of benefits. ESD assesses the solvency tax for the following calendar year. 

Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA)

Because Washington’s unemployment program conforms to federal law, state employers pay a FUTA tax of 0.6% on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages. 


Audits

Employers' records are audited to ensure that wages and hours are accurately reported as required by Washington state's unemployment-insurance laws and rules. Being selected for audit does not mean you violated any laws or rules.

 

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