Legislation passed in 2012 changed the name of Florida's Unemployment Compensation Law to the Reemployment Assistance Program Law and directed the focus of the program to helping Florida's job seekers with becoming reemployed. The Department of Revenue has changed "unemployment tax" to "reemployment tax" on its web pages, forms and publications.
Reemployment assistance gives partial, temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and are able and available for work.
Florida employers pay for reemployment assistance through a tax managed by the Florida Department of Revenue. It is one of the employer's business costs. Workers do not pay reemployment tax and employers must not make payroll deductions for this purpose. Employer payments go into a fund from which money is paid to eligible, unemployed Floridians who file claims for reemployment assistance. After a qualifying period, employers with a stable employment history receive a lowered tax rate.
A new business must report its initial employment in the month following the calendar quarter in which employment begins. The Department recommends that employers register to pay reemployment tax using our secure Internet site.
An employer is liable to pay if it meets any of the following conditions:
Nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and Indian tribes are given the option of paying their reemployment insurance costs by the tax-paying method or the reimbursement method. The reimbursing employer must repay benefits paid to former employees on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Regardless of the method of payment, these employers must submit the Employer’s Quarterly Report (Form RT-6) each quarter.
An employer may apply for voluntary coverage for its employees. Voluntary coverage is for a minimum of one calendar year and subject to approval.
These definitions will help you understand who is considered an employee and classify workers correctly. Misclassification of workers is not just a tax reporting issue; it also affects claims for reemployment assistance. If a person files a claim for reemployment benefits and the employer has not been including the person on the quarterly report, it can delay benefit payments. Intentionally failing to report employees is a felony.
Federal and state law requires employers to report employees who are newly hired and re-hired in Florida to the Florida New Hire Reporting Center. New hire reporting speeds up the processing of child support income withholding orders and the collection of support from parents who change jobs frequently. It also helps prevent overpayments of reemployment assistance to persons who have returned to the workforce.
Some types of work are not covered and some wages paid for services are not subject to reemployment taxes. These exemptions include:
Wages are payments for services in employment, including commissions, bonuses, back pay awards, and the cash value of all payments in any medium other than cash. The cash value of meals and lodging will be exempt if it is included as a condition of employment for the convenience of the employer.
Sick and accident disability payments are wages when paid by an employer to an employee in the six calendar months after the calendar month the employee stopped working. Payments made under a workers' compensation law are not wages. Tips are covered wages if received while performing services that are considered employment and are included in a written statement furnished by the employee to the employer.
Wages must be reported each calendar quarter. Electronic filing of wage data saves time and paperwork for most employers. An Employer's Quarterly Report (Form RT-6) is mailed each quarter to employers who do not file electronically.
The report must list total wages paid to covered workers, excess wages, taxable wages, and tax due and show each employee's name, social security number, and total wages paid during the period. If an employer is operating two business units and the secondary unit(s) has a cumulative total of at least ten employees, the employer must submit a Multiple Worksite Report (Form BLS-3020).
You can verify employees' social security numbers through the federal government's Social Security Number Verification Service.
If the employer filed quarterly reports but left out certain workers, it must send a Correction to Employer's Quarterly or Annual Domestic Report (Form RT-8A) and pay any additional tax and interest due. The Department can require the employer to file amended returns as far back as 5 years.
If the employer did not file any employment reports, it must prepare the quarterly wage data and file electronically (or complete the RT-6 forms) and pay tax and interest going back to the date of employment of the worker(s). The Department can require the employer to file returns as far back as 5 years.
A domestic employer may select an annual filing option if all the employees exclusively perform services that are considered domestic service and the employer is eligible for an earned tax rate. Domestic service includes: service performed by maids, cooks, maintenance workers, chauffeurs, social secretaries, caretakers, private yacht crews, butlers, and houseparents; and is provided in a private home, local college club, or local chapter of a college fraternity or sorority. An Application to Select Filing Period for Employers Who Employ ONLY Employees Who Perform Domestic Services (Form RT-7A) must be submitted by December 1 to qualify for annual filing in the next calendar year.
You can report and pay reemployment tax using Revenue's secure Internet site. Or you may choose to:
You can access the Internet application using your reemployment tax account number and business partner number or a Revenue-issued user ID and password. You must enroll in our e-Services program to receive a user ID and password. Enrollment has advantages: you can save your bank account and contact information, view your filing history, and reprint returns.
Taxpayers who pay electronically can download a payment due date calendar.
You must file a report even if you owe no tax or do not have any wages to report. The penalty for failure to file a report by electronic means is $50 plus $1 for each employee. The penalty for failure to pay the tax electronically is $50 for each remittance. You can obtain a waiver from electronic filing if you have a valid business reason. There is no waiver from electronic payment.
Filers who do not meet conditions 1 or 2 above may file a paper RT-6 report. We have detailed instructions to help you accurately complete your return. However, we encourage all taxpayers to file and pay electronically. The online application automatically provides the employer with confirmation of receipt of the report.
Legislation passed in 2012 requires private employers to identify certain wages paid to employees performing services for an educational institution. For more information, read our Tax Information Publication #1273B-02.
Typically, the wage data and full payment of the quarterly tax are due by April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 (of the following year). Employers may make installment payments for the first three quarters. To qualify, the wage data and installment payment must be submitted on time. An employer who chooses to pay in installments must pay an installment fee of $5.00 one time per calendar year, with the wage data for the quarter in which the election for installments is made.
Installment Payment Option Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
This chart shows the due dates for each quarterly payment:
|Pay by Apr. 30||Pay by July 31||Pay by Oct. 31||Pay by Dec. 31||Pay by Jan. 31|
(ends Mar. 31)
|1/4 of total
|1/4 of total
|1/4 of total
|1/4 of total
(ends June 30)
|1/3 of total
|1/3 of total
|1/3 of total
(ends Sept. 30)
|1/2 of total
|1/2 of total
(ends Dec. 31)
Pay in full.
Electronic filers will not receive installment coupons. We offer an electronic due date reminder service to help you file on time. Paper filers can subscribe to this service, too.
An employer may receive an income deduction order requiring it to deduct child support payments from an employee’s wages. If you are required to file and pay taxes electronically, you must also remit these payments electronically. Find out more.
The initial tax rate for new employers is .0270 (2.7%). The first $8,000 in wages paid to each employee during a calendar year is taxable. Any amount over $8,000 for the year is excess wages and is not subject to tax. Excess wages can never be greater than gross wages.
An Employer's Quarterly Report (Form RT-6) is due the 1st day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter and is late if not postmarked by the last day of the month.
However, if the last day of the month is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday; the timely filing period is extended until the end of the next working day.
If you are making your payment by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or Internet, you must initiate the payment by 5:00 p.m. ET on the business day prior to the filing date(s) listed above for your payment to be considered timely.
Whether you are a paper or electronic filer, you can sign up to receive an e-mail every collection period, reminding you of the due date.
Late filing penalty is charged at $25 per month or fraction of a month that a report is delinquent. Interest is charged at 1% per month on the unpaid tax from the original due date until the tax is paid.
When a new employer becomes liable for the tax, the initial rate is .0270 (2.7%) and will stay at that rate until the employer has reported for 10 quarters. The account will then be rated by dividing the total benefits charged to the account by the taxable payroll reported for the first 7 of the last 9 quarters immediately preceding the quarter for which the rate is effective.
The only exception is for employers liable by succession who choose to accept the tax rate of the previous employer, along with the responsibility of paying any outstanding amounts due. At that time, a tax rate will be calculated using the employment record and the rating factors, which are built into the Reemployment Assistance Law.
The maximum tax rate allowed by law is .0540 (5.4 %), except for employers participating in the Short Time Compensation Program. Rate notices are mailed to all contributing employers each year. You may appeal your tax rate within 20 days from the date of notification (date printed on Form RT-20, Reemployment Tax Rate Notice).
The minimum and maximum tax rates, effective January 1, 2014, are as follows (based on annual salary up to $8,000 per employee):
For more information, read the 2014 reemployment tax rates fact sheet.
Newly licensed employee leasing companies (ELCs) may elect to report and pay tax due using the tax rate for each client. ELCs have 30 days from the date of licensure to notify the Department of Revenue of their election. Find out more about employee leasing companies and reemployment tax.
The reemployment assistance program is a federal-state partnership. Each state determines benefit qualification levels and amounts, benefit duration, disqualification and tax structure, within federal limits.
For example, federal guidelines require each state to:
Each state sets tax rates, benefit levels, and trust fund balances based on that state's needs. Each state has its own benefit trust fund account within the U.S. Treasury. In Florida, the account is funded by a tax paid by employers.
Florida assigns new employers an initial tax rate of 2.7%. This rate stays in effect for the first 10 quarters. At the end of this period, an employer has enough history to qualify for an experienced-based tax rate. The formula for calculating the rate combines three major factors:
Ideally, each employer would pay the exact amount of reemployment assistance benefits that are chargeable to his or her account. This is not possible because the maximum contribution rate is 5.4%, and sometimes benefit payments are not charged to a specific employer. These added costs are divided among all rated employers through the variable adjustment factor and the final adjustment factor. Each employer's contribution rate is his or her benefit cost, plus a share of unassigned costs. This keeps the reemployment assistance program solvent.
Reemployment assistance helps cushion the impact of economic downturns on communities, states and the nation by providing temporary income for qualified, unemployed workers. However, improper payment of benefits is a serious problem that has a financial impact on employers.
Employers can help reduce higher taxes by providing complete and accurate information needed to determine a claimant's eligibility for benefits.
Here's how you can prevent improper payments and protect your tax rate:
Employers who do not comply with state and federal requirements for providing employee information risk higher costs through increased taxes, fines or penalties.
For questions about benefit eligibility and payment, contact the Reemployment Assistance Program office at 800-204-2418.
An employer will be eligible for termination if it has not met any liability criteria for an entire calendar year or if the business closes (which is different from only selling assets, selling stock, or merging into another business to be the continuing entity). If the employer qualifies because it has not paid wages for a year, the employer must apply for termination of coverage by April 30 of the following year. Contact the Department in writing to close the account of a closed business after the final wages have been paid. Once liability is terminated, the employer must reestablish liability in the same manner as any new employing unit.
Unemployed workers who are covered under the Florida Reemployment Assistance Program Law will receive benefits if they are eligible and qualified. Prompt and accurate information from employers is vital to the establishment of a claimant's right to benefits. Employers must furnish information on time when requested. This helps protect the employer’s tax rate. Information must be complete, accurate, and factual. Read the Employer Guide to Reemployment Assistance Benefits (Form RT-800001) for more details.
For more information about the claims process, including qualification requirements and disqualification reasons, contact the Department of Economic Opportunity.
The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), which handles reemployment assistance claims and appeals, has an online claims and appeals system CONNECT. Employers should call DEO at 877-846-8770 if they have questions about DEO’s system.
Alert: Reemployment assistance email scam regarding claims information. The Department of Economic Opportunity has a notice on its website warning employers about emails from "@detma.org" that request claimant information.
Reemployment assistance law provides a fair and impartial hearing to resolve disputes. The Department of Revenue will make every attempt to resolve informal protests. If not resolved, the employer can appeal to the Department of Economic Opportunity. In most instances, appeals must be filed within 20 days from the date printed on the notice, must be in writing, and must clearly state the reasons for appealing. Read the appeal rights on the notice to ensure that you file your appeal within the specified time frame. For more information, contact the Department of Economic Opportunity, Division of Workforce Services.
If you move, sell, or close your business; or change your business structure, you must notify the Department. You can submit the information online or download an Employer Account Change Form (Form RTS-3).
Revenue's Law Library contains statutes and rules relating to reemployment tax: Chapter 443, Florida Statutes; and Rules 73B-10 and 73B-11, Florida Administrative Code.
Get reemployment tax forms and publications (except Multiple Worksite Report, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Form BLS-3020).
To get Form BLS-3020, contact the Department of Economic Opportunity, Labor Market Statistics at 800-672-4664.
For claims and benefits information, contact the Department of Economic Opportunity at 850-617-0410.
For appeals information, contact the Department of Economic Opportunity at 850-921-3511.
Download Revenue's Reemployment Tax brochure.
The Employer Guide to Reemployment Tax explains taxing procedures and the Employer Guide to Reemployment Assistance Benefits explains benefit and claim provisions.
Florida prohibits tactics used by some employers to reduce reemployment tax liabilities through schemes known as "State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA) Dumping." Revenue issued a Tax Information Publication explaining Florida's law against SUTA dumping.
Learn more with a tax tutorial - Reemployment Tax Tutorial for Employers
Federal and State law requires employers to report newly hired and re-hired employees in Florida to the Florida New Hire Reporting Center.