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Your Ultimate Guide to Washington Payroll

Discover Washington state payroll taxes and compliance. Learn about Unemployment Insurance, Personal Income Tax, Paid Family Leave, and more.

Anja Simic
Written by Anja Simic
July 28, 2023

Key takeaways

  1. Employers must pay unemployment insurance
  2. Washington doesn’t have personal income tax
  3. Employers are required to purchase worker’s compensation coverage from the state itself, not through private carriers

Employers have to navigate a variety of regulations and requirements to ensure proper payroll withholding in each US state. This guide serves as an introduction to what employers need to pay and withhold from payroll in Washington State, including unemployment insurance, personal income tax, paid family and medical leave, and workers' compensation.

Paying unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance is a national program administered by US DoL. It provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Employers in Washington State are responsible for paying unemployment insurance on behalf of their employees.

To manage Washington State's unemployment insurance, the state offers an online portal provided by the Washington Employment Security Department. This portal allows employers to make necessary payments and ensure compliance with the program’s requirements. Employers can find more detailed information on paying unemployment insurance on Washington Employment Security Department's website.

Withholding personal income tax from your Washington employee 

Washington state does not have a personal income tax. That means, employers are not required to withhold any personal income tax from their employees' payroll.

Withholding and paying Family and Medical Leave

Paid Family and Medical Leave (PMFL) is a new benefit for Washington workers. PMFL is for when a serious health condition prevents your employee from working or when your employee needs time to care for a family member, bond with a new child or spend time with a family member preparing for military service overseas. You can withhold a portion of your employee’s income for PMFL contributions.

The state of Washington provides an online portal to facilitate the process of managing and remitting these contributions. For comprehensive information on the employer’s role and responsibilities, go to the Washington Employment Security Department website.

Paying your Washington State Workers’ Compensation 

Washington State requires employers to provide Workers' Compensation (WC) insurance coverage for their employees. This insurance provides financial protection to employees who may sustain injuries or illnesses while performing their job duties.

Unlike some other states, Washington does not allow private carriers to provide Workers' Compensation coverage. Employers are required to purchase coverage from the state itself. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries offers assistance in registering and making payments for Workers' Compensation insurance.

Simplify US payroll tax compliance with Deel

While this guide provides essential information on Washington payroll taxes, payroll compliance, and state requirements extend beyond what is covered above. To streamline the process and ensure full compliance, companies can turn to Deel. 

Deel offers a comprehensive solution for managing US and international payroll, including payments, taxes, worker classification, and more. Speak with an expert today to see how you can streamline your US payroll processes and ensure compliance with state regulations.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes and should not be treated as legal or tax advice. Consult a professional before proceeding.

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