State’s employers to see same or lower unemployment tax rates in 2013

The state Department of Employment Security estimates that three-fourths of Washington employers will pay the same or even lower amounts in unemployment tax rates.

Overall, the average total tax per employee will rise by $37, to $499 for the year. However, each employer’s actual tax bill will depend on the amount of wages paid to employees and the employer’s rate class, according to a statement from the department sent out this morning.

Some employers will pay more in 2013 because their layoffs increased in the past four years, while others may see a slight increase due to the amount of wages that are taxed. Taxable wages will increase from $38,200 in 2012 to $39,800 in 2013 because the state’s average wage grew in 2011.

In 2013, 14 percent of employers will move into lower rate classes, 61 percent won’t change, and 25 percent will move into higher rate classes. More than one-third of all employers will be in the lowest rate class because they had no layoffs in the past four years.

Thanks to a permanent tax cut approved by the state legislature and the governor in 2011, unemployment tax rates in each of the state’s 40 rate classes will remain unchanged from 2012, ranging from 0.14 percent to 5.82 percent.

Beginning in 2014 and beyond, many employers will begin to slide back down the rate scale as recession years are gradually dropped and post-recession years are added to the calculation, according to the department.

— Rachel Pritchett

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