Washington has allotted 25 million to a COVID-19 unemployment account. Employers that pay taxes can apply to have this account offset some of their benefit charges instead of having them applied to their experience rating. This is available to all employers who laid off employees due to COVID-19 and the employees received unemployment benefits. The offset is not a refund or reimbursement. It will apply to the charges from the first two quarters of 2020, which might reduce your 2021 tax rate. Employers must apply by September 30, 2020.
How does it work?
To determine your offset amount, the state will use a formula that includes your qualifying benefit charges in the first and second quarter for 2020, the amount of money in the COVID-19 Unemployment Account and the total amount of benefit charges in all the applications they approve.
Are you eligible?
Employers must meet ALL these criteria to be eligible:
- You pay unemployment taxes, rather than reimbursing the Employment Security Department for the cost of benefits paid to your former employees.
- You have an active account with the Employment Security Department.
- You were required to close or severely curtail business operations due to state of Federal Executive Order due to COVID-19.
- You have submitted all quarterly reports by September 30, 2020, including the second quarter of 2020.
- You have paid all contributions, penalties and interest by September 30, 2020 or are on an approved payment plan.
What will you need to apply?
- Your 2020 first and second quarter Statement of Benefit Charges.
- Any documents that show you re-employed staff who were laid off due to COVID-19.
- 2020 first and second quarter payroll documents.
The state is stating you do not need to submit documentation with your application, but they may ask for them.
How to apply?
- Review your August Statement of Benefit Charges and submit the names and Social Security numbers of employees who meet both items:
- You had to temporarily lay them off due to a state or federal order forcing you to close or severely limit operations due to COVID-19.
- They returned to work for you at a similar level to their former job with you. They must have worked at least four weeks and you paid them 90% of what they made before they were laid off.
How to submit your application:
- Download the Benefit Charge Offset Aplication Template and fill out the required information.
- Save the template to your computer.
- Upload by September 30, 2020, on the secure Apply for Benefit Charge Offset page.
The state will begin reviewing applications in October and will notify by mail when they approve or deny your application.
At this point and time, we do not see any reason to not apply and believe you should to see if you are eligible for any relief. If you have any questions, please reach out to our office.