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January 2019 Compliance Updates: Unemployment Tax Rates and State Electronic Filing Rules

January 2019 Compliance

We're looking at some of January's compliance updates, including several changes to state unemployment tax rates and state electronic filing updates.

APS January Compliance Updates

APS reports on relevant, impactful compliance updates each month to help keep you at the top of your compliance game. Updates this month include the release of state unemployment wage bases, state withholding tables and methods changes, and updates to state electronic filing rules. Here are your January compliance updates:

FMLA Credit


The IRS released the Form 8994 (Employers Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave) for 2018. The form is used to determine the employer credit on wages paid under FMLA.

A written policy is required for employers to be eligible to claim the credit for 2018. The written policy must include the following information:

  • Covers all employees who have been employees for the least a year and earned up to $72,000 in the preceding year;
  • Provides at least two weeks of annual paid family and medical leave for each full-time employee and at least a proportionate amount of leave for each part-time employee;
  • Provides for payment of at least 50 percent of the qualified employee’s wages while the worker is on leave; and
  • Includes the rules that must be met for an employer to be eligible for the credit.
Wage Statement


The IRS released the new 2019 Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) that was revised to remove the Box 9 designation for a verification code. The 2019 Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements) is now available for employers.

Wage Base


Five states have announced their unemployment taxable wage bases for 2019. The following states have SUTA wage base changes for 2019:

  • District of Columbia - $9,000
  • Florida - $7,000
  • Massachusetts - $15,000
  • Puerto Rico - $7,000
  • Virginia - $8,000
Electronic Filing Rules


The following states have updated state electronic filing rules for 2018 and 2019:

State Electronic Filing Rules


Kentucky released a new form that is to be used as an alternative to electronic filing wage statements and information returns, particularly for employers who didn’t meet the state’s electronic filing requirements of more than 25 forms. The Form K-5 (Kentucky Employer’s Report of Withholding Tax Statements) may also be used to report information from Forms 1099 and W-2. The form must be completed online and either mailed to the department or submitted electronically.


Massachusetts employers filing at least 50 forms are required to file 2018 Forms W-2 online. Employers filing fewer than 50 forms may file online or on paper.

North Carolina

North Carolina waived the $200 penalty for failing to electronically file 2018 Form NC-3 (Annual Withholding Reconciliation) and Forms W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) in 2019.


Oregon employers are now required to report statewide transit tax withheld of Forms W-2 starting January 2, 2019. Form OR-STT-A (Oregon Annual Statewide Transit Tax Withholding Return) and Form OR-WR (Oregon Annual Withholding Tax Reconciliation Report) must be filed electronically by January 31, 2019.

West Virginia

The state released the following filing rules for 2019:

  • The deadline for submitting Forms W-2 has been changed to January 31, 2019.
  • Employers filing at least 25 forms (down from 50 forms) or using a payroll-service provider must file electronically.
Wage Changes


The following states have announced changes to their minimum wage rates beginning January 1, 2019:

  • Michigan - $9.45
  • New Jersey - $10


The following states have announced their 2019 withholding tables and methods:

2019 State Withholding Tables and Methods


Alabama’s state tax rates and tax brackets remain the same for 2019, but thresholds for determining the value of an employee’s standard deduction has increased. The value has increased to $23,499 annually, an increase from $20,499 in 2018.


Arkansas’s released its withholding certificates, Form AR4ECSP (Employee’s Special Withholding Exemption Certificate) and Form AR4EC (Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate) for 2019. Form AR4ESCP allows employees to claim exemption from state withholding if their income doesn’t exceed a certain threshold that is dependent on their filing status.

The thresholds for filing status are the following:

  • $12,259 for single employees.
  • $20,674 for married employees with one or no dependents.
  • $24,882 for married employees with at least two dependents.
  • $17,430 for heads of households with one dependent or no dependents.


Withholding Methods

Colorado’s tax bracket thresholds for the percentage method was increased to $4,200 for 2019.

Form W-4

The state will continue to use the federal Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate) in 2019.


A revised version of the state’s withholding certificate, Form WH-4(Employee’s Withholding Exemption and County Status Certificate) is set to increase the income threshold for qualifying for the state’s dependent exemption for 2019. Individuals who are at least age 19 may be claimed as dependents on Form WH-4 if they receive at least half of their support from the employee filing and earn an income of less than $4,150 annually.


Michigan has increased its personal exemption value to $4,400, an increase from $4,050 in 2018.


The state released a revised 2019 withholding formula for allowance value that increased to $4,250 for 2019. Minnesota employees are also encouraged to fill out Form W-4MN (Minnesota Employee Withholding/Exemption Certificate) to ensure they are claiming the correct number of state allowances.

New Jersey

New Jersey released its 2019 withholding methods with the highest withholding rate, applying to incomes exceeding $5 million a year, has decreased to 11.8 percent.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has announced its withholding rate for payments made to independent contractors in 2019. The tax rate for payments to independent contractors has increased to 10 percent, while the amount exempt from withholding decreased to the first $500 paid to the contractors during the year.


Tax Rate Changes

Vermont released its withholding methods and the methods implement tax rate changes include new income tax rates of 3.35 percent, 6.60 percent, 7.60 percent, and 8.75 percent. The value of a withholding allowance increased to $4,250 in 2019.

Form W-4VT

Employers are also encouraged to require employees to complete Form W-4VT (Vermont Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate) and employers may use information from the federal Form W-4 to calculate withholding if an employee does not submit Form W-4VT.

Interest Rates


Seven states have announced their underpayment interest rate for 2019. The following states have updated underpayment interest rates for 2019:

  • Alabama - 6 percent
  • California - 6 percent
  • Colorado - 8 percent
  • Georgia - 8.5 percent
  • Louisiana - 9 percent
  • New Mexico - 6 percent
  • Pennsylvania - 6 percent
Tax Rates


The following states have announced their 2019 unemployment tax rates:

2019 State Unemployment TAx rates

District of Columbia

The new District of Columbia unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • 1.6 percent to 4.2 percent for positive-rated experienced employers.
  • 5.8 percent to 7 percent for negative-rated experienced employers.
  • 2.7 percent for new employers.

Employers will be required to pay an administrative funding assessment of 0.2 percent.


Florida’s unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • 0.1 to 5.4 percent for experienced employers.
  • 2.7 percent for new employers.


Hawaii’s unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • Zero to 2.4 percent for positive-rated experienced employers.
  • 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent for negative-rated experienced employers.
  • 2.4 percent for new employers.

Employers will also be required to pay an employment and training assessment of 0.01 percent.


Massachusetts’ unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • 2.42 percent for new nonconstruction employers.
  • 6.91 percent for new construction employers.
  • 0.94 percent to 14.37 percent for experienced employers.

The state’s employers are required to pay a solvency assessment of 0.69 percent and are also assessed a workforce training fund contribution of 0.056 percent.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • 1.4 percent to 4.3 percent for positive-rated employers.
  • 4.4 percent to 5.4 percent for negative-rated employers.
  • 2.9 percent for new employers.


Wyoming’s unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • 1.22 percent for new public administration employers.
  • 1.22 percent for new employers assigned to the industry category of other services.
  • 8.27 percent for new employers.
  • 0.18 percent to 8.72 percent for experienced employers.
  • 2.35 percent for new employers in the construction industry.
  • 1.22 percent for distribution and transportation of goods.
  • 1.22 percent for education, health, and social assistance.
  • 1.22 percent for finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing.
  • 1.22 percent for leisure, accommodation, and food service.
  • 1.42 percent for manufacturing.
  • 1.22 percent for professional and business services.
  • 2.04 percent for raw materials and energy production.


Virginia’s unemployment tax rates will be the following:

  • 0.11 percent to 6.21 percent for experienced employers.
  • 2.51 percent for new employers.
  • 6.21 percent for out-of-state contractors.

There will be a pool-cost charge of 0.01 percent for tax rates.


Ohio tax rates to change in 2019

Ohio municipalities Conesville and Patterson are set to decrease tax rates to 0.5 percent from 1 percent in 2019.



The state’s transit district payroll tax rates will be the following in 2019:

  • 0.7637 percent of gross payroll for the Tri-Met tax rate.
  • 0.74 percent of gross payroll for the Lane County Mass Transit District.

Employers are required to pay the tax of wages paid to employees working in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas counties, and the Eugene-Springfield area.

State Unemployment wage bases

For more updates on state unemployment wage base changes, visit our SUTA Wage Bases page.

FUTA Credit Reductions

For more updates on state eligibility, visit our FUTA Credit Reductions page.

Payroll Tax Rates and Changes

Visit our Payroll Taxes: Rates and Changes page to make sure you stay compliant.



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