Idaho Department of Labor to require employers to file unemployment tax online

The change aims to save time and prevent errors.

zkyle@idahostatesman.comJuly 23, 2013 

Only 7 percent of Idaho's approximately 50,000 employers file their unemployment insurance tax forms on the Idaho Department of Labor's website.

The rest will have to adapt to an increasingly digital world, says Michael Johnson, chief of the department's insurance compliance bureau.

"Multiple states already require online filing," Johnson says. "Idaho is just following that lead to basically make the experience more pleasant for the employers."

Johnson says employers have stuck to paper filing because it's familiar. However, dealing with the paper forms takes longer for the department staff and leads to errors that need to be corrected by employers.

"Getting employers to file online would really reduce the number of employer errors," Johnson says. "You can't complete the online form unless the arithmetic works."

The department will offer waivers to employers who can make a case that they are unable to file online.

"If you have a mom-and-pop shop in the middle of nowhere that doesn't have the Internet, that's fine," Johnson says. "You can petition if you don't have the ability to file online."

Employers' most common errors include omitting key information and failing to change the tax rate, which can change each year, Johnson says. In some cases, mistakes lead to overpayment of the tax. In others, the result is accidentally underpaying, which can lead to penalties.

Requiring employers to file online would relieve a burden from department staff who must contact employers - which can be a lengthy process - and work through how to correct errors. "(The rule change) would save us hundreds of man hours," Johnson says.

Zach Kyle: 377-6464

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