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What Employers Need to Know About Florida Reemployment Tax (formerly Unemployment Tax)

"Unemployment Tax" renamed "Reemployment Tax"

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.

What is Reemployment Assistance (formerly Unemployment Compensation)?

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.

Who Pays for It?

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.

Who Is Liable?

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:

  • Has a quarterly payroll of $1,500 or more in a calendar year.
  • Has one or more employees for a day (or portion of a day) during any 20 weeks in a calendar year.
  • Is an agricultural employer and has five or more workers for a day (or portion of a day) during any 20 weeks in a calendar year, or a $10,000 cash payroll in any calendar quarter.
  • Is a domestic employer with a cash payroll of $1,000 or more in a calendar quarter.
  • Is liable for federal unemployment tax.
  • Purchases all or part of a liable business, or the combination of the employer’s payroll or employment and that of the business purchased meets the liability criteria.
  • Is a nonprofit organization as defined in section 3306(c)(8) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act and section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and has four or more employees for a day (or portion of a day) during any 20 weeks in a calendar year.
  • Is a state, county, city, or joint governmental unit.
  • Is an Indian tribe or tribal unit.

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.

A liable employer must display the poster To Employees (Form RT-83) where all employees can see it. Posters are available in Spanish (Form RT-83SP).

Voluntary Coverage

An employer may apply for voluntary coverage for its employees. Voluntary coverage is for a minimum of one calendar year and subject to approval.

Who Are Employees?

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.

  • Employment - Any service done by an employee for the employer.
  • Employee - A person who is subject to the will and control of the employer as to what must be done and how it is done. Read more about the difference between an employee or independent contractor.
  • Casual Labor - Work that is not in the course of the employer's regular trade or business and which is occasional, incidental, or irregular. Do not confuse casual labor with temporary or part-time employment. A corporation cannot have casual labor.
  • Independent Contractor - A person not subject to the will and control of the employer. The employer does not control or direct the manner or method of job performance. The general public is aware that the person is an independent contractor. Read more about the difference between an employee or independent contractor.
  • Officers of a Corporation - Any officer of a corporation performing services for the corporation is an employee of the corporation during tenure of office, even when no compensation is received for these services. Compensation, other than dividends upon shares of stock and board of director fees, is presumed to be payment for services performed.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) - A limited liability company is treated the same as it is classified for federal income tax purposes.
    • A person performing services for an LLC, treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, is an employee.
    • A person, other than a partner or exempt employee of a partnership, performing services for an LLC treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, is an employee.
    • A person, other than the sole proprietor or an exempt employee of a sole proprietorship, performing services for an LLC, treated as a sole proprietorship for federal income tax purposes, is an employee.
    A single member LLC is treated as the employer.
  • S Corporation - Salaries paid to corporate officers are considered wages. All or part of the distribution of income paid to corporate officers who are active in the business and are performing services for the business can be considered wages.
  • Employee Leasing Company - An employee leasing company is an employing unit that has a valid and active license under Chapter 468, Florida Statutes.
  • Salesperson - Any individual paid solely by commission under your direction and control is an employee. The law exempts insurance agents, real estate agents, and barbers who are paid solely by commission. If they are paid by salary only or salary and commission, both are taxable and the exemption does not apply.
  • Agricultural Labor - Any service performed on a farm in the employ of the owner, tenant, or any other operator of a farm in connection with the production or harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodity or in connection with the maintenance or operation of farm equipment or grounds.

New Hire Reporting

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.

Employment Not Covered

Some types of work are not covered and some wages paid for services are not subject to reemployment taxes. These exemptions include:

  • Employees of a church, convention or association of churches; or of organizations operated primarily for religious purposes that are operated, supervised, controlled, or principally supported by a church, convention or association of churches.
  • Services performed by aliens in agricultural labor, who have entered the United States under section 1184(c) [formerly s. 214(c)] and s. 1101(a)(15)(H) [formerly s. 101(a)(15)(H)] of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • Services performed by nonresident aliens, who are temporarily present in the United States as non-immigrants under subparagraph (F) or (J) of section 1101(a)(15) [formerly s. 101(a)(15)] of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • Services for a school, college, or university by a student enrolled and attending classes there.
  • Work on a fishing vessel under ten net tons.
  • Services performed as a student nurse in a hospital or nurses' training school, a medical school intern in a hospital, or a hospital patient.
  • Students working for credit in a school program such as CBE or DCT.
  • Persons under age 18 delivering or distributing newspapers.
  • Service for government by elected officials; members of the legislature and judiciary; those serving on a temporary basis in cases of fire, storm, etc.; or serving in an advisory capacity that ordinarily does not require more than eight hours per week.
  • Services performed for a son, daughter, or spouse; or by children under the age of 21 for their father or mother. When the employer is a partnership, an exempt relationship must exist to all partners or there is no exemption. This exemption does not apply to corporations.
  • Direct sellers who are contracted to sell or solicit consumer goods in homes or places other than a permanent retail establishment, and whose substantial payment is directly related to sales.
  • Speech, occupational, and physical therapists who are not salaried and working under a written contract with a home health agency as defined in section 400.462, Florida Statutes.
  • Service performed by an individual for payment for a private, for-profit delivery or messenger service, if certain conditions are met.
  • Service performed by an inmate of a correctional institution (work release programs).
  • Services performed by a sole proprietor or partner.

Wages

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.

Reporting Wages

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.

Correcting Errors

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.

Annual Filing Option

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.

Filing and Paying Taxes

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 and helpful hints for e-filing.

  • You must file the wage data and pay the tax electronically if you are an employer who employed ten or more employees in any quarter during the preceding state fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).
  • You must file the wage data electronically if you are a registered agent who prepared and reported for 100 or more employers in any quarter during the preceding state fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).

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.

Installment Payment Option

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 (through 2014). 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.

Use our online calculator to compute your installment payments.

Questions and Answers About Installment Payment Option [ Show all questions/answers | Hide all questions/answers ]

Installment Payment Option Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

  • How does the installment payment option work?
    • Employers can choose to pay by installments for the first three quarters in 2013 if they submit the Employer's Quarterly Report, Form UCT-6 (either paper or electronic), and payments on time and pay a $5 annual installment fee. Divide first quarter tax due into 4 equal payments, second quarter into 3 equal payments, and third quarter into 2 equal payments. There is no installment option for the fourth quarter.

      You can choose the installment option for any or all of the first 3 quarters. You do not have to fill out any extra paperwork to pay by installments.

      A law change in 2011 extended the installment payment option through the year 2014.
  • How can I participate in the installment option?
    • For the quarter in which you are first seeking to pay by installments, you must file your Employer's Quarterly Report, pay at least the minimum installment payment, and pay the $5 installment fee. You must submit all three items on time.

      You are required to pay the installment fee only one time per calendar year. In each of the following quarters, you must timely file your Employer's Quarterly Report and pay at least the minimum installment payment. The Department will provide paper filers with coupons to use for installment payments.
  • Is the $5 installment fee due only when the first installment payment is paid for the year, even though it might be for the second quarter report?
    • Yes. The $5 is due in the quarter when the employer first participates in the installment plan for the year. The $5 is due only one time per calendar year.
  • How will the amount due for installment payments be determined?
    • Quarter ending March 31: Four equal payments. Tax Due on Line 5 (Employer's Quarterly Report) divided by 4 will give you the installment payment amounts. For the first quarter you are electing to pay installments, you must include the $5 fee on line 8.

      Quarter ending June 30: Three equal payments. Tax Due on Line 5 (Employer's Quarterly Report) divided by 3 will give you the installment payment amounts.

      Quarter ending September 30: Two equal payments. Tax Due on Line 5 (Employer's Quarterly Report) divided by 2 will give you the installment payment amounts.

      You can use our online calculator to compute your installment payments.
  • What are the due dates for installment payments?
    • 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
        1st Quarter
        (ends Mar. 31)
        4 equal
        payments
        1/4 of total
        amount
        1/4 of total
        amount
        1/4 of total
        amount
        1/4 of total
        amount
         
        2nd Quarter
        (ends June 30)
        3 equal
        payments
          1/3 of total
        amount
        1/3 of total
        amount
        1/3 of total
        amount
         
        3rd quarter
        (ends Sept. 30)
        2 equal
        payments
            1/2 of total
        amount
        1/2 of total
        amount
         
        4th quarter
        (ends Dec. 31)
        Not affected.
        Pay in full.
                Total amount

  • Will I be notified if I am approved to pay by installments?
    • No. There is no formal notice of acceptance. If you file paper reports and you timely submit your unemployment tax report with the correct installment amount of tax and the $5 installment fee, the Department will send installment coupons before the due date of the next quarter's report.

      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.

  • Is there an approval process for the installment option?
    • There is no formal approval process. For the first quarter you want to pay in installments, you must file your reemployment tax report on time along with the minimum installment payment and the $5 installment fee.
  • Once installment payments have been set up for my account, do I have to pay by installments for the rest of the calendar year?
    • No. Each return and payment for a quarter stands on its own. Employers may pay the remaining installment payments earlier than the actual due dates. Employers may participate in the installment plan for one quarter, but pay the tax in full for other quarters.
  • When the installments overlap (for example: on December 31, payments are due for the first, second and third quarters), can I send a lump sum for the total amount due?
    • Yes. Paper filers should submit one payment for the final installments for all quarters, using the coupon that will be provided by the Department. E-filers should follow the instructions on the website.
  • Can I participate in the installment plan if I submit my UCT-6 late?
    • No. You must file the Employer's Quarterly Report (Form UCT-6) and pay the first installment and the $5 fee on time. If you file the first quarter report late, you will not be eligible for the installment plan for that quarter. However, you may choose the installment payment plan for later quarters if the reports are filed on time.
  • Will I be charged interest for paying by installments?
    • No, as long as you pay the annual $5 fee and submit your Employer's Quarterly Report and the minimum installment amount on time each quarter.

Income Deduction Orders

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.

How Much Do You Pay?

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.

 

Due Dates

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.

1st Quarter (January thru March)
due by April 30

2nd Quarter (April thru June)
due by July 31

3rd Quarter (July thru September)
due by October 31

4th Quarter (October thru December)
due by January 31


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.

Reemployment Tax Rates

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):

  • Minimum rate: 0.0059 or $47.20 per employee
  • Maximum rate: 0.0540 or $432 per employee

For more information, read the 2014 reemployment tax rates fact sheet.


Employee Leasing Companies

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.

 

How Rates Are Calculated

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:

  • Base its tax structure on benefit experience.
  • Have a new employer tax rate of at least 1.0%.
  • Have a maximum tax rate of at least 5.4%.
  • Have a taxable wage base of at least $7,000.

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:

  1. The individual benefit ratio makes up the greatest portion of the employer's final tax rate. This ratio is calculated by dividing the previous 3 years of benefit charges for former employees by the taxable payroll for that same 3-year period. So the benefits charged and the size of the payroll have a direct effect on the employer's tax rate.
    • For the 2014 annual rates, the benefit charges paid or credited prior to March 31, 2011 are reduced to 90%.
    • For the 2014 annual rates, the timely reported taxable payroll uses up to $7,000 for each employee prior to 2012 and up to $8,000 for each employee thereafter.
  2. The variable adjustment factor (multiplier) is made up of three ratios that will spread the costs among employers that have had benefit charges in the three previous years.
    • The last 3 years of non-charged benefits (those not attributable to any employer).
    • Excess payments (the portion of benefit charges which exceed the maximum rate of 5.4%).
    • The fund size factor, which requires the state to keep a trust fund balance of at least 4% of the previous fiscal year's taxable payroll. If the trust fund balance is below this amount, a positive adjustment factor is computed annually until the fund balance (on September 30) equals or exceeds 4% of the previous year’s taxable payroll.
  3. The final adjustment factor spreads costs not included in the second factor to all employers whose rates are not at the initial or maximum levels. This factor is also distributed among employers who had no benefit charges in the preceding three years. This factor determines what the minimum rate for that tax year will be. For 2014, the final adjustment factor is .0059 and the multiplier is .7540.

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.

Protecting Your Tax Rate

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:

  • Report all new and rehired employees to the Florida New Hire Reporting Center by the due date, as required by federal law. Timely reporting helps prevent improper payment of benefits after an individual has returned to work.
  • Respond promptly to any Request for Verification of Weekly Earnings. Verifying earnings ensures that the correct amount of reemployment assistance is paid for weeks of partial unemployment.
  • Provide complete and accurate employee separation information. The employer's timely response to the Determination Notice of Reemployment Assistance Claim Filed (Form UCB-412) is used, in part, to determine the claimant's eligibility for reemployment assistance.

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.

Termination of Coverage

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.

Claims for Benefits

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.

Protest and Appeal

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.

Change of Address or Business Status

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).

Reference Material

  • 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.

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