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WA State Employers who pay Unemployment Taxes

A recent notice to Washington State Employers who pay unemployment taxes indicates you might be eligible for a benefit charge offset.  

You can apply to offset part of your benefit charges, which might reduce your 2021 tax rate.

A state law that passed in March provides $25 million to a newly created COVID-19 Unemployment Account. You can apply to have this account offset some of your benefit charges so that they do not count towards your experience rating for 2021. Applying is voluntary.

The offset applies to unemployment benefits ESD paid in the first two quarters of 2020 to your employees who:

  • Were temporarily laid off as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19; and
  • Have since returned to work for you.

How the offset program works

To determine the amount of your offset, ESD will use a formula that includes your qualifying benefit charges in the first and second quarters of 2020, the amount of money in the COVID-19 Unemployment Account, and the total amount of benefit charges in all the applications approved.

A larger total of benefit charges from all applications will result in a smaller offset amount for each qualifying employer. The offset amount will vary depending on how the formula affects your tax rate class. For some, the offset will have little to no effect on your tax rate.

How to apply
Review all details on Washington State Employment Security Department


Next steps

  1. Apply if you are interested and eligible. See the website for details.
  2. Applications review will begin in October. ESD will notify you by mail if they approve or deny your application. If they approve your application, you will find out the amount of your offset when you receive your 2021 annual tax rate notice.