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Unemployment Insurance Tax (FUTA/SUTA); Workers' Compensation Payroll Assessment: Washington

Unemployment Insurance Tax (FUTA/SUTA) requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Alice Gilman


  • Washington uses the ABC test to determine who is an employee for state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax purposes. See ABC Test.
  • The law defines wages for SUI purposes as all compensation for personal services, including salaries, commissions, bonuses and the cash value of all compensation paid in any medium other than cash. The annual total SUI tax rate is based on a range of rates. See SUI Taxable Wages and Contribution Rates.
  • The Washington anti-SUTA dumping law mirrors the federal SUTA Dumping Prevention Act. Under state law, employers that knowingly attempt to manipulate businesses to get a lower tax rate are liable for serious penalties. See SUTA Dumping.
  • The state permits employers to make voluntary contributions to lower their SUI tax rates. See Voluntary Contributions.
  • An employer that is required to make unemployment insurance contributions must file quarterly reports. In addition, employers that operate more than one establishment in Washington may be requested to submit Multiple Worksite Reports. See Quarterly Reporting Requirements; Multiple Worksite Reporting.
  • An employer's account will be charged for overpayments caused by the employer's failure to respond properly to requests for information about benefit claims. See Benefit Overpayments.
  • All employers in Washington must maintain records for each employee for four years and keep them available for inspection by the state Department of Labor. See Recordkeeping Requirements.
  • All employers that are required to obtain workers' compensation insurance must withhold two components of the workers' compensation assessment from employees' pay. The assessment is based on the number of hours employees work. Employers report the assessment on quarterly tax forms. Employers must keep specific records and can be subject to penalties for noncompliance. See Workers' Compensation Payroll Assessment.