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Washinton State Unemployment Insurance Tax (SUI)

As an employer in Washington state, you are most likely required to pay unemployment taxes. Unlike the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), where you pay unemployment taxes for employees who earned more then $1,500, in Washington, you need to pay state unemployment taxes for an employee regardless of their wages.

State Tax Rate

The Washington state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax rate varies from company to company. There are two factors that go into assigning you a tax rate:

  1. Experience-based tax: This is based on your experience of paying unemployment benefits over the past four years.

  2. Social-cost tax: This covers the unemployment tax that cannot be recovered from a specific business, such as a company that went out of business.

In 2021, the experience tax rate has been capped at 5.4%, with the average being about 0.97%. Social tax is currently capped at 1.22%. Employers must pay SUI taxes on the first $56,500 of each employee’s wages, in addition to FUTA taxes, where you pay on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages.

However, due to the effect of COVID-19 on unemployment, legislative proposals could lower 2021 tax rates.

Quarterly SUI Tax Payments and Reports

You can file online through the ESD portal, Employer Account Management Services (EAMS), or by mailing one of their original forms. Paper forms must be obtained through the ESD and cannot be copied due to unique ink is used to scan information into their computers. You can request a form by emailing OlympiaAMC@esd.wa.gov or calling 855-TAX-WAGE (use option 4 for paper forms).

To pay online, you may choose to use EAMS or the ESD ePay portal. You can also pay by mail by requesting a payment voucher from the ESD.

Deadline to File

Unemployment tax payments and reports are due every quarter by the last day of the month following the last day of each quarter.

If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, your payment can be postmarked by the following business day.

Need Help Filing?

Our bookkeepers have years of experience with both federal (FUTA) and Washington state (SUI) unemployment tax. We can help you make timely and accurate deposits and file reports. Contact us or give us a call at (360) 756-5020 to speak to one of our bookkeepers!

Note: Tax laws are constantly changing so we advise you to look at the official IRS and ESD websites for the most current guidelines, tax rates, and deadlines.

ESD Resources