MA EOLWD Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein
This week’s question comes from Stan, an HR manager. We just received our Notice of Employers Unemployment Insurance Contribution Rate Statement of Account Balance from the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
. A solvency assessment was subtracted from our account balance. What is the solvency assessment in Massachusetts? Answer: The solvency assessment is used to pay benefits that are not assigned to an individual employer.
Three Main Charges To the Solvency Assessment Account
The solvency account has three main charges as follows:
- Dependency allowances
- State-funded extended benefits, and
- Benefits paid when claimants are in DUA approved training programs.
Solvency Assessment Is not Paid Directly, but Reduces the Employer’s Account Balance
The solvency assessment is not paid through the DUA QUEST system, but is applied to the account balance when calculating the employer’s new rate. The solvency assessment rate of 1.22% for 2010 (1.71% for 2011) is multiplied by the employer’s taxable wages for the period to determine the total solvency assessment to be applied to each account.
More Questions on the Massachusetts Solvency Assessment?
Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the Massachusetts solvency assessment.
MA EOLWD Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein
Governor Deval Patrick recently signed legislation that will provide immediate relief to Massachusetts’ businesses by freezing employer contributions to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund at current levels. This new law prevents a scheduled rate hike from taking effect, helping to save businesses $402 million this year. Although the legislation freezes the rate schedule for 2011, individual employer’s rates may increase or decrease from 2010. The rate change is determined by the change in the employer’s Experience Rating.
Legislation Said to Position State for Continued Economic Recovery
“Without this legislation employers would have seen an average increase of $228 per employee,” said Governor Patrick. “We want to encourage a positive climate for employers and by signing this bill we are helping to position the state for continued economic recovery.”
Employer Contributions Tied to Trust Fund Levels
Employer contributions into the UI Trust Fund are tied to the amount of reserves in the trust fund. By law, a scheduled increase was triggered on January 1, 2011, which would have caused an increase in the average contribution per employee of $228 for 2011. In order to reduce costs for Massachusetts businesses, Governor Patrick and the Legislature agreed to freeze the contribution at a lower rate schedule (Schedule E). This measure will not impact benefit levels or eligibility for persons currently collecting unemployment benefits.
Notice of Employer’s Unemployment Insurance Contribution Rate for 2011 to Be Released
Now that the legislation has been passed, the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is expected to release through QUEST the Notice of Employer’s Unemployment Insurance Contribution Rate for 2011. This notice contains information on each employer’s contribution rates, including the following:
- Unemployment Insurance (UI) Rate,
- Universal Health Insurance (UHI) Rate,
- Workforce Training Fund (WTF) Rate, and
- Experience Rating
Contact Vision Payroll for Further Information
Contact Vision Payroll for further information on the unemployment tax rate schedule in Massachusetts for 2011.
The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has released the 2010 employer contribution rates for unemployment taxes. Employers may check their rate using QUEST. Rates were determined using Schedule E, the same schedule as was used in 2009. Even though the rate schedule remained the same, individual employer rates generally changed based on activity in their account during the measurement period of October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009. Since the rates were released late in the quarter, some employers may have significant overpayments or underpayments of tax because the rate differential must be applied to all subject wages for the entire first quarter.
Employers who received their rate decrease before the last payroll of the quarter will receive a credit in the last payroll of the quarter for the difference between the tax collected and the tax now due using the new rate. Employers who received their rate decrease after the last payroll of the quarter will receive a refund check for the difference between the tax collected and the tax now due using the new rate.
Employers who received their rate increase before the last payroll of the quarter will need to pay the additional tax equal to the difference between the tax collected and the tax now due using the new rate in the last payroll of the quarter. Employers who received their rate increase after the last payroll of the quarter will need to pay the additional tax equal to the difference between the tax collected and the tax now due using the new rate in an additional end-of-quarter payroll.
The adjustment in the last payroll or additional payroll should be the only adjustment required to correct the tax liability for 2010. Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the 2010 employer contribution rates for unemployment taxes.
The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) previously extended the due date for quarterly filings using the new QUEST (Quality Unemployment System Transformation) program two weeks. Since February 15, 2010 was Washington’s Birthday, a federal and state holiday, the deadline was further extended until today, February 16, 2010. Employers who file and pay by today’s extended due date will not be assessed interest or penalties. Filings and payments after today’s extended due date will result in interest and penalties assessed starting on the original due date of February 1, 2010, not the extended due date. Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on complying with the DUA’s QUEST program.
This week’s question comes from Perry, an office manager. I’ve registered my business with the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). How do I register Vision Payroll as my TPA in QUEST? Answer: Once you have completed activating your QUEST account on-line and established your permanent password and PIN at www.mass.gov/uima, log in to your account, select and execute the following:
From the Employer Home page:
Select the Account Maintenance page
Select the Third Party Administrator (TPA) Authorization link
Click the ‘NEW’ button
Enter Vision Payroll’s ID Number 100028 and click ‘NEXT’
Vision Payroll’s name will appear.
Select the current day’s date (mm/dd/yyyy) when asked when services are commencing
Leave the service end date field blank
Assign the following roles to Vision Payroll by clicking on the appropriate boxes displayed:
- Account Maintenance Update and Submit
- Payments Update and Submit
- Employment and Wage Detail Update and Submit
Click the ‘Save’ button
Return to the home page and log off the web site
Vision Payroll will then have authorization to provide the same filing services through QUEST as have been performed in the past. Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on QUEST.
This week’s question comes from Thomas, a controller. I received a notification from the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance concerning their new QUEST program. What do I need to do to get ready for QUEST? Answer: QUEST (Quality Unemployment System Transformation) is the new online unemployment insurance system scheduled to be available on December 7, 2009. Soon all registered employers will be receiving a letter with their user ID and temporary password. Someone must logon, reset the password, list an Account Administrator, verify the employer account information, make updates, and provide missing information. Clients of Vision Payroll will also need to authorize Vision Payroll as their agent and select the roles that Vision Payroll will perform. When you receive this notification, contact Vision Payroll for assistance in registering with the QUEST system.