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Unemployment taxes to stay steady or lower for 2013

Good news for employers in Washington state: three-quarters of them will see their unemployment tax rates remain steady, or fall, in 2013.

“For the one-quarter whose rates are going up, that’s because they’ve had more layoffs in the last four years that drives up their insurance costs,” said Sheryl Hutchison, spokeswoman with the state Employment Security Department.

The calculations are based, in part, on a business’ history of layoffs over the previous four years. Employment Security calculates that more than one-third of businesses will be in the lowest of 40 tax rate classes because they had no layoffs in that period.

The steady to lower rates are largely thanks to a permanent tax cut approved by the state legislature in 2011, based on the strength of the state’s benefits trust fund.

“We were the only state in the entire nation, coming out of the recession, that could afford an unemployment tax cut and that’s because we went into the recession with a very healthy trust fund and we kept it healthy,” explained Hutchison.

The average total tax per employee will rise to $499, according to a news release from Employment Security but each employer’s actual tax bill in 2013 depends on the employer’s tax class and the amount of wages paid.

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