Unemployment taxes in Florida could rise up to 200%

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 4:24 PM CST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Florida Chamber says it has been told by the State that unemployment taxes will go up next year by almost two hundred percent, but so far, the state is mum on the increase.

On March 1, Florida’s trust fund for paying unemployment claims sat at just over four billion. At the end of November, it was down more than 75-percent to just under a billion.

To replenish the fund, Carolyn Johnson, the Director of Business, Economic Development & Innovation Policy at the Florida Chamber says the state has told it minimum rates will increase by almost 200-percent.

“This is coupled with businesses hurting due to the pandemic,” said Johnson.

Employers with the best record will see the tax go from seven dollars an employee to twenty dollars and thirty cents.

Johnson also says “Every employer that’s not at the minimum or maximum will have a rate based off the number of layoffs over the last three years.”

The Chamber says it was given the new rates by the Department of Revenue, but the department hasn’t officially released anything and did not respond to email and phone requests.

The January hike is a far cry from the great recession when the lowest rate skyrocketed by more than a hundred dollars per employee.

But the chamber says it is still a big hit to businesses.

“If you’re an employer with a hundred employees, you’re seeing a thirteen hundred dollar tax increase that you might not have expected coming January 1,” said Johnson.

The Chamber says layoffs because of the pandemic will not count against an employer’s record because an executive order exempted them. The increase comes as businesses must also cope with a higher minimum wage starting September first next year.

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