Three important messages to all employers and third-party administrators
1. You must upgrade to our new version of EAMS before you file your fourth-quarter tax report.
EAMS is the Employer Account Management System for filing quarterly wage reports and paying unemployment taxes. If you’re eligible to upgrade, you’ll see an upgrade alert after logging in. We are gradually making this upgrade available to all customers in time to file fourth-quarter reports. The updated EAMS is designed to perform better and improve your experience.
If you submit files in bulk or if you need to make amendments to your report:
You can use the new EAMS for these tasks as well.
How to upgrade to the new EAMS
- Log into SecureAccess Washington and sign into EAMS.
- If you’re eligible to upgrade, you will see an upgrade alert at the top of the page.
- Select the link and follow the instructions.
- If you don’t see the upgrade alert, don’t worry! It will be in place for you to file your fourth-quarter tax report.
Learn more about the upgrade:
- Register for an upcoming webinar - 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, Dec. 9.
- Watch a recent webinar. You can also view the presentation, which includes frequently asked questions and answers.
- Check out a recent Employer Newsletter.
2. Update your files and software with our new payment addresses.
The Employment Security Department (ESD) changed to U.S. Bank for unemployment insurance taxes and benefits. As a result, our payment addresses for employers also changed.
Please update any processes, forms, files or software with these new addresses by Dec. 31, 2022.
If you have employees working in Washington, you likely must pay unemployment taxes on their wages in this state. Tax reports or tax and wage reports are due quarterly. Liable employers must submit a tax report every quarter, even if there are no paid employees that quarter and/or taxes are unable to be paid.
- Visit the forms and publications library for required unemployment tax forms.
- Learn about reimbursable employers.
Employer tips and information
On this page:
• Who and what to report
Tax reports or tax and wage reports, and unemployment tax payments can be filed and paid through our free and efficient online systems, or by submitting our original paper forms.
Employer Account Management Services (EAMS) can be used to file tax reports and wage reports online. You will need to set up your online account in advance.
ePay can be used to pay unemployment taxes online. Avoid last-minute setup or compatibility issues by taking time to get familiar with ePay before using it to pay unemployment taxes.
All-in-one option with Employer Account Management Services (EAMS)
Submit wage reports, pay taxes and manage your account. Some of the following features require advanced access to Locked Services.
- Save, amend, view and file wage reports.
- Copy and paste employee data from quarter to quarter.
- Auto-calculate excess wages.
- Pay your taxes.
- Check your tax rate.
- Bulk-file multiple accounts or large payrolls.
- Access EAMS through SecureAccess Washington (SAW).
Use EAMS to submit and pay tax and wage reports. Users who need to make amendments or who are bulk filers should not use EAMS for Single Filers.
- One-time filing of tax reports or tax and wage reports.
- Useful for filing a no-payroll report or tax and wages for a small number of employees.
- Can't amend reports you've filed. Must separately amend tax report by filing amended Tax & Wage Report.
- Auto-calculate excess wages for Washington employees.
- Save unfinished work.
- Print reports.
- Pay, view and cancel payments.
- View account activity.
- Control your user account.
Pay taxes only
Use ePay to pay your unemployment taxes online. To use ePay, you must have a confirmation number generated from EAMS.
Notice: Please use the latest revision (Nov. 18, 2015) of the Quarterly Unemployment Insurance – Tax Summary (5208A) and Quarterly Unemployment Insurance – Wage Detail (5208B) forms. Failure to use these revised forms usually results in reporting format penalties being charged to your ESD Account. To request the latest forms, please call the Account Management Center at 855-829-9243. Select Option 4.
Review the basis for your unemployment taxes:
- What you pay unemployment taxes on
- Taxable wage base
- How we determine your unemployment tax rate
- Common notices sent to employers
Calculate your unemployment taxes:
Learn more about how to appeal if you disagree with your unemployment tax rate.
Learn more about penalties for:
What to include in unemployment taxes
Filing reports for clients
Program parameters come from both federal statute and guidance and state statute and rules.
The federal government paid for many unemployment programs used during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 including:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (extra $600/week)
- Lost Wages Assistance (extra $300/week)
- Extended Benefits
- First week of regular UI benefits
Every state has a UI trust fund
States deposit employer tax dollars in individual UI trust funds for paying future benefits.
- ESD produces Washington’s UI trust fund forecast report three times per year.
- Find current and archived reports on ESD's labor market page for the trust fund.
Employers pay two types of taxes: state (SUTA) and federal (FUTA)
- SUTA taxes fund benefit payments for claimants. They’re deposited in the state’s UI trust fund.
- FUTA taxes are administered at the federal level. They’re used for oversight of state unemployment programs. During times of high unemployment, states may borrow from FUTA funds, helping provide benefits to locally unemployed people.
State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
An employee’s wages are taxable up to an amount called the taxable wage base, authorized in RCW 50.24.010. This taxable wage base is $62,500 in 2022, increasing from $56,500 in 2021.
- Annual tax calculation based on the ratio of benefit claims of former employees charged to the employer and taxable wages reported by the employer over the preceding four fiscal years.
- Employers are placed in one of 40 rate classes based on former employees’ use of UI program.
Flat social tax currently capped at 0.50% (RCW 50.29.025)
- Shared-cost tax, based on costs from the previous year for benefit payments that can’t be attributed to specific employers.
- State law instructs ESD to adjust the flat social tax rate based on the employer’s rate class.
- The flat social tax is capped at 0.50% for 2021, 0.50% for 2022, 0.75% for 2023, 0.85% for 2024 and 0.90% for 2025. In all other years, the flat social tax is capped at 1.22%.
The total of the experience tax and the social tax can’t exceed 6%.
Solvency tax currently capped is waived (RCW 50.29.041)
- For taxes paid for 2021 through 2025, the solvency surcharge is currently waived.
- For all other years, state statute requires ESD to assess a solvency surcharge when the UI trust fund has less than seven months of benefits as of Sept. 30.
- The solvency surcharge will be the lowest possible rate needed to get the UI trust fund back up to nine months of benefits. ESD assesses the solvency tax for the following calendar year.
Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA)
Because Washington’s unemployment program conforms to federal law, state employers pay a FUTA tax of 0.6% on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages. This is the same as last year.
Employers' records are audited to ensure that wages and hours are accurately reported as required by Washington state's unemployment-insurance laws and rules. Being selected for
- Learn more about audits
- Working with us during an audit
- Common findings
- What happens after an audit (pdf)
- Appealing audit findings