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Washinton State Unemployment Insurance Tax (SUI)

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

State Tax Rate

The Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB) 5061 was passed in February 2021 to help provide unemployment tax relief for businesses. The Washington state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax rate varies from company to company. The ESD will typically send out a tax rate notice in December for the following year. 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 2022, the average SUI tax rate is 1.36%. The experience tax rate has been capped at 5.4%. Social tax is currently capped at 0.75% and will increase annually until it reaches 0.90% in 2025. Employers must pay SUI taxes on the first $62,500 of each employee’s wages, in addition to FUTA taxes, where you pay on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages.

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!


Disclaimer: This post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult with your accountant or bookkeeper for more information based on your specific situation. For more information, please read through the following resources: