Unemployement taxes going up in Florida

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 4:36 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 4:40 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The number of people who have filed for unemployment benefits crossed the five million mark over the holidays and Florida employers begin the new year with higher taxes to cover unemployment benefits.

Employers across the state are starting the new year with a notice from the State Department of Revenue letting them know their cost of doing business is going up to help replenish the state’s reemployment trust fund.

Businesses with a good track record will see their rate go from one-tenth of a percent to almost three-tenths of a percent on the first $7,000 in wages.

“Any payroll-based tax increase is not good for the small business climate,” said Bill Herrle with the National Federation of Small Business

Herrle said while no hike is ideal, the increase will keep Florida’s fund stable.

“Business owners are the sole payers into the unemployment system, so they have a strong stake hold in making sure we continue to pay benefits, and we don’t get into a very high debt that will cause rates to go up even higher,” said Herrle.

Unlike the 2008 recession, when Florida had to borrow $2.7 billion to pay unemployment claims, this year the fund is solvent and above water.

In a catch 22, many businesses are having trouble hiring.

Goodwill of the Big Bend, can’t fill vacancies.

“We have anywhere from forty to sixty jobs postings at all times, so we are constantly in the market looking for qualified employees,” said Goodwill Industries of the Big Bend CEO Fred Shelfer.

The new round of stimulus and unemployment payments will likely push more people out of the job market, putting pressure on companies to pay more to fill vacancies.

The maximum reemployment tax rate for employers with poor records remains at 5.4% of the first $7,000 in wages.

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