Vision Payroll

September 27, 2011

Iowa Decreases Unemployment Rates, but Raises Wage Base for 2012

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Vision @ 8:21 pm
Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert
Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert
Iowa Workforce Development has announced that the 2012 unemployment rates will be based on Table 4; 2011 rates are based on Table 3. As a result, employers will see approximately $96 million in tax savings and the average rate will fall from 2.8% in 2011 to 2.4% in 2012.

Director Teresa Wahlert Comments on the Increase

According to Director Teresa Wahlert, “Most states across the country are experiencing significant increases in their tax rates in order to repay the federal government for loans. Due to successful management of our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, Iowa did not borrow from the federal government and is reducing the burden on employers.”

Wage Base Will Increase in 2012

In addition, the taxable wage base for 2012 has been announced. The wage base will increase to $25,300 for 2012, up from $24,700 for 2011. Consequently, some employers will see contributions to the fund increase even with the lower rates based on the higher wage base.

Find Out the Wage Base for All States by Visiting the Vision Payroll Unemployment Taxable Wage Base Page

Contact Vision Payroll with any questions on the Iowa unemployment insurance rates or wage base or visit our Unemployment Taxable Wage Base page.

August 12, 2011

Question of the Week: How Is Our Massachusetts DUA Experience Rate Determined?

How Is Our Massachusetts DUA Experience Rate Determined?
How Is Our Massachusetts DUA Experience Rate Determined?
This week’s question comes from Josh, a company owner. We’re paying more in state unemployment tax this year than we have in the past. Even though we didn’t lay anyone off, our DUA experience rate increased from last year. How is our Massachusetts DUA experience rate determined? Answer: The DUA Experience rate is determined by the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), which is headquartered in Boston. The DUA also has career centers throughout the state including Attleboro, Brockton, Cambridge, Everett, Fall River, Gardner, Gloucester, Greenfield, Haverhill, Holyoke, Hyannis, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Marlboro, Milford, New Bedford, Newtonville, Northampton, Norwood, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Salem, Southbridge, Springfield, Taunton, Wareham, Woburn, and Worcester.

DUA Account Is a Record of Four Types of Adjustments

The DUA maintains an individual account for every employer required to pay unemployment insurance contributions. The account balance is an accumulation of the following four types of adjustments:

  • The employer’s wages subject to contribution,
  • The contributions actually paid by the employer,
  • The unemployment insurance benefits charged to the employer, and
  • Any account balance adjustment.

Computation Year Runs from October 1 To September 30

The account also provides an opening and a closing balance for the computation year (October 1 through September 30). An account balance carries over from year to year as long as the employer is required to file quarterly reports.

Account Balance Is Used to Determine Contribution Rate

DUA uses each employer’s account to determine an annual contribution rate for that employer. The experience rating process is the method used to determine the rate.

September 30 Is the Computation Date

The last day of each fiscal year, September 30, is called the “computation date” when an employer account is closed to compute the rates for the following calendar year. Contributions paid in October are credited to the employer’s account as if paid in September.

Vision Payroll Will Provide Further Information on the Experience Rating System

Over the next several weeks, Vision Payroll will provide further information on the experience rating system. Contact Vision Payroll if you have specific questions about the experience rating system that you would like to have addressed.

April 4, 2011

Connecticut Imposes Special Assessment on Employers

CT DOL Commissioner Glenn Marshall
CT DOL Commissioner Glenn Marshall
In Connecticut, the average number of workers filing for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits since 2007 has grown from 40,000 to approximately 130,000. In 2009 and 2010, UI benefit payouts greatly exceeded UI tax revenues. In 2011, UI benefit payouts will continue to exceed tax revenues by a substantial margin.

Funding Imbalance Has Led to Insolvency

Because of this funding imbalance, Connecticut’s Unemployment Trust Fund became insolvent on October 13, 2009.

Connecticut Borrowed from the US Department of Labor

In order to continue paying UI benefits to unemployed workers, as required by law, Connecticut began borrowing funds from the US Department of Labor (DOL). To date, Connecticut has borrowed approximately $650 million and the Labor Department projects that total borrowing could approach $1 billion over the next two to three years.

ARRA Waived Interest Through 2010

Generally, federal loans carry interest, but the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) contains a provision waiving interest on UI trust fund loans through 2010. Connecticut will still have substantial loan balances outstanding in 2011 and beyond. Under federal law, employers are required to pay interest to the federal government beginning in 2011.

Interest Collected Through Special Assessments

Under Connecticut law, interest payments from employers are collected through annual Special Assessments, excluding those entities that reimburse the state dollar-for-dollar for the costs of benefits paid to former employees. The first annual Special Assessment date for Connecticut employers is August 1, 2011 with the payment due by August 31, 2011.

Special Assessment Estimated at $40 Million

Connecticut’s total Special Assessment for 2011 is estimated to be approximately $40 million. Based on this estimate, the average cost per employee will be roughly $40. For example, a business that employs ten workers can expect a Special Assessment bill of approximately $400 in August 2011. The 2011 Special Assessment figures are estimates and, therefore, subject to change based on variables such as the actual amounts borrowed and the total number of active employers as of August 2011.

FUTA Tax Rate Expected to increase for 2011

In addition to interest costs, Connecticut and other states with federal loans outstanding for two consecutive years must make additional payments into the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) system to pay down the loan principal. Therefore, the effective FUTA tax rate for calendar year 2011, payable in January 2012, will increase from 0.8% to 1.1%.

Additional FUTA Tax to Be Applied To Loan Principal

The additional FUTA tax collected, approximately $21 per employee, will be applied to the state’s outstanding loan balance – thereby reducing the loan principal.

Contact Vision Payroll Today

Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on Connecticut payroll processing.

March 4, 2011

Question of the Week: What Is a Taxable Wage Base?

What Is a Taxable Wage Base?
What Is a Taxable Wage Base?
This week’s question comes from April, an office manager. I’ve read that the taxable wage base has increased in New Hampshire for 2011, but I’m not sure of the impact. What is a taxable wage base? Answer: The taxable wage base is the amount of income that will be taxed in a particular year.

New Hampshire Taxable Wage Base Is $12,000

For 2011, the New Hampshire taxable wage base is $12,000. Therefore, all subject wages earned during 2011 by an employee up to $12,000 will be taxed for New Hampshire unemployment purposes. Once $12,000 of wages have been taxed for New Hampshire unemployment purposes, no additional New Hampshire unemployment tax will be due for that employee for the rest of 2011.

Taxable Wage Bases Range from $7,000 to $37,300

For 2011, the federal taxable wage base is $7,000. Three states, Arizona, California, Florida and Puerto Rico all have the lowest taxable wage base of $7,000. Washington has the highest taxable wage base at $37,300.

Find Out the Wage Base for All States by Visiting the Vision Payroll Unemployment Taxable Wage Base Page

Contact Vision Payroll if you have any further questions or visit our Unemployment Taxable Wage Base page.

February 21, 2011

Massachusetts Freezes Unemployment Tax Rate Schedule for 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Vision @ 6:08 pm
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.

September 19, 2010

Iowa Increases Unemployment Rates and Wage Base for 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Vision @ 12:44 am
Iowa Workforce Development Director Elisabeth Buck
Iowa Workforce Development Director Elisabeth Buck
Iowa Workforce Development has announced that the 2011 unemployment rates will be based on Table 3; 2010 rates are based on Table 4. This move to higher rates is required to maintain the solvency of the Trust Fund used to provide unemployment benefits.

Director Elisabeth Buck Comments on the Increase

According to Director Elisabeth Buck, “Iowa Workforce Development is committed to maintaining the solvency of the Trust Fund while minimizing the effects felt by Iowa employers. The Department is continually working with Iowans receiving unemployment benefits to increase their skill sets and reduce barriers individuals may have for returning to work.”

Wage Base Will Also Increase in 2011

In addition, the taxable wage base for 2011 has been announced. The wage base will increase to $24,700, up from $24,500 for 2010. Consequently, many employers will see contributions to the fund increase based on both the higher rate and the higher wage base.

Find Out the Wage Base for All States by Visiting the Vision Payroll Unemployment Taxable Wage Base Page

Contact Vision Payroll with any questions on the Iowa unemployment insurance rates or wage base or visit our Unemployment Taxable Wage Base page.

March 9, 2010

Massachusetts Freezes Unemployment Tax Rate Schedule

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Vision @ 5:14 pm

Under recently enacted legislation, contribution rates for Massachusetts employers will remain at Schedule E for 2010. Based on the low level of reserves in the fund, previous law would have required an automatic shift to Schedule G. Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on the new law.

September 6, 2009

Iowa Increases Unemployment Rates and Wage Base for 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Vision @ 7:32 pm

Iowa Workforce Development has announced that the 2010 unemployment rates will be based on Table 4; 2009 rates are based on Table 6. This move to higher rates is required to maintain the solvency of the Trust Fund used to provide unemployment benefits.

According to Director Elisabeth Buck, “Iowa Workforce Development is committed to maintaining the solvency of the Trust Fund while minimizing the effects felt by Iowa employers. The Department is continually working with Iowans receiving unemployment benefits to increase their skill sets and reduce barriers individuals may have for returning to work.”

In addition, the taxable wage base for 2010 has been announced. The wage base will increase to $24,500, up from $23,700 for 2009. Consequently, many employers will see contributions to the fund increase based on both the higher rate and the higher wage base.

Contact Vision Payroll with any questions on the Iowa unemployment insurance rates or wage base.

January 30, 2009

Question of the Week: Why Did My Payroll Cost Increase?

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — Vision @ 10:08 am

This week’s question comes from Rachel, a business owner. I have been running payroll with almost the exact same hours every week for the last few months. In the last few weeks, the payroll cost was several thousand dollars more each week than a month ago. Why did my payroll cost increase? Answer: There are at least three employer taxes with wage caps that are often fully paid by the end of the calendar year for some or all employees. They are the social security portion of FICA or OASDI tax, federal unemployment tax (FUTA), and state unemployment tax (SUTA). Social security had a wage limit of $102,000 ($106,800 in 2009), FUTA has a $7,000 limit in each year, and the SUTA limit varies by state from a low of $7,000 to more than $35,000. At the start of a new calendar year those taxes must again be paid by the employer. With a combined tax rate of over 7% at a minimum, a $100,000 weekly payroll could easily have an increase of between $5,000 and $10,000 in employer payroll tax liability at the start of a new calendar year. Vision Payroll can work with you to find ways to legally minimize your employer tax liability. Contact Vision Payroll today for more information.

January 16, 2009

Question of the Week: Should I Make A Voluntary SUTA Payment?

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — Vision @ 9:50 pm

This week’s question comes from Rick, a corporate controller. We received a notification from our state unemployment agency that we may want to make a voluntary payment toward SUTA. Should we make a voluntary additional payment?

Answer: For employers that are in states that use a system that includes contributions made by employers in calculating the unemployment rate, it may be beneficial to make such a contribution. Many such states, but not all, allow employers to make voluntary contributions. Employers should estimate their taxable state unemployment wages for 2009 and multiply that by the difference between the higher rate and the lower rate. That sum should be compared to the required payment. The greater the sum is over the required payment, the more beneficial it is to make the voluntary payment.

For example, assume that taxable SUTA wages (not gross SUTA wages) will be $1,000,000 and that the employer’s rate will decrease by 0.15% if the voluntary payment is made. The estimated savings for 2009 would be $1,500 ($1,000,000 X 0.15%). Any payment greater than $1,500 would not be beneficial for 2009 since the cost would exceed the estimated benefit. Payments significantly less than $1,500 should almost always be made due to the anticipated savings for 2009. As the payment amount approaches $1,500 it becomes less valuable to make the payment because the required outlay must generally be made early in the year.

Voluntary payments are not allowed for FUTA purposes.

Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on voluntary additional SUTA payments.

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