192-310-025  <<  192-310-030 >>   192-310-035

WAC 192-310-030

What are the report and tax payment penalties and charges? (RCW 50.12.220.)

(1) Penalty for late tax and wage reports. An employer who does not file a tax or wage report within the time frame required by WAC 192-310-010 (3)(d) must pay a penalty of twenty-five dollars for each violation, unless the penalty is waived by the department.
(2) Definition of incomplete or incorrect format tax or wage report. An employer must file tax and wage reports that are complete and in the format required by the commissioner.
(a) An "incomplete report" is any report filed by any employer or their agent where:
(i) The entire wage report is not filed on time; or
(ii) A required element is not reported (Social Security number, name, hours worked, or wages paid); or
(iii) A significant number of employees are not reported; or
(iv) A significant number of any given element is not reported, for example, missing Social Security numbers, names, hours, or wages; or
(v) Either the employment security department number or Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number is not included with the tax or wage report; or
(vi) The report includes duplicate Social Security numbers, or impossible Social Security numbers as shown by the Social Security Administration (such as 999-99-9991, 999-99-9992, etc.).
(b) An "incorrect format" means any report that is not filed in the format required by the commissioner under WAC 192-310-010 (3)(c). Agency forms include "drop-out ink" that cannot be copied. Therefore, photocopies are considered incorrectly formatted reports and forms.
(c) For purposes of this section, the term "significant" means an employer who has:
(i) One employee and reports incomplete wage elements for the one employee; or
(ii) Two to nineteen employees and reports incomplete wage elements for two or more employees; or
(iii) Twenty to forty-nine employees and reports incomplete wage elements for three or more employees; or
(iv) Fifty or more employees and reports incomplete wage elements for four or more employees.
(3) Penalty for filing an incomplete or incorrectly formatted tax or wage report. An employer who files an incomplete or incorrectly formatted tax and wage report will receive a warning letter for the first occurrence. For subsequent occurrences of either an incomplete or incorrectly formatted report within five years of the date of the last occurrence (whether or not the last occurrence was before the effective date of this amendatory section), the employer must pay a penalty as follows:
(a) When quarterly tax is due and an employer has submitted an incomplete report or filed the report in an incorrect format, the following schedule will apply after the initial warning letter: Ten percent of the quarterly contributions for each occurrence, up to a maximum of $250.00, but not less than:
(i)
2nd occurrence
$75.00
(ii)
3rd occurrence
$150.00
(iii)
4th and subsequent occurrences
$250.00
(b) When no quarterly tax is due and an employer has submitted an incomplete report or filed the report in an incorrect format, the following schedule will apply after the initial warning letter:
(i)
2nd occurrence
$75.00
(ii)
3rd occurrence
$150.00
(iii)
4th and subsequent occurrences
$250.00
(c) After five years without an occurrence, prior occurrences will not count and the employer shall receive a warning letter instead of a penalty on the next occurrence.
(4) Penalty for knowingly misrepresenting amount of payroll. If an employer knowingly (on purpose) misrepresents to the department the amount of his or her payroll that is subject to unemployment taxes, the penalty is up to ten times, in the discretion of the department, the difference between the taxes paid, if any, and the amount of taxes the employer should have paid for the period. This penalty is in addition to the amount the employer should have paid. The employer must also pay the department for the reasonable expenses of auditing his or her books and collecting taxes and penalties due as provided in WAC 192-340-100.
(5) Late tax payments. All employers must file a tax and wage report every quarter, including employers who have no payroll for a given quarter. If an employer does not report on time, it will be charged a late fee of $25.00 for each report. If the payment is late, the employer will be charged interest at a rate of one percent of taxes due per month. A late payment penalty is also charged for overdue taxes:
(a) First month: Five percent of the total taxes due or $10.00, whichever is greater;
(b) Second month: An additional five percent of total taxes due or $10.00, whichever is greater; and
(c) Third month: An additional ten percent of total taxes due or $10.00, whichever is greater.
(6) Nonsufficient funds (NSF). The department shall charge $25.00 for checks dishonored by nonacceptance or nonpayment. This is considered a commercial charge under the Uniform Commercial Code (RCW 62A.3-515).
(7) Waivers of late filing and late payment penalties. The department may, for good cause, waive penalties for late filing of a report and late payment of taxes that are due with a report. The commissioner must decide if the failure to file reports or pay taxes on time was not the employer's fault.
(a) The department may waive late penalties when there are circumstances beyond the control of the employer. These circumstances include, but may not be limited to, the following:
(i) The return was filed on time with payment but inadvertently mailed to another agency;
(ii) The delinquency was caused by an employee of the department, such as providing incorrect information to the employer, when the source can be identified;
(iii) The delinquency was caused by the death or serious illness, before the filing deadline, of the employer, a member of the employer's immediate family, the employer's accountant, or a member of the accountant's immediate family;
(iv) The delinquency was caused by the unavoidable absence of the employer or key employee before the filing deadline. "Unavoidable absence" does not include absences because of business trips, vacations, personnel turnover, or terminations;
(v) The delinquency was caused by the accidental destruction of the employer's place of business or business records;
(vi) The delinquency was caused by fraud, embezzlement, theft, or conversion by the employer's employee or other persons contracted with the employer, which the employer could not immediately detect or prevent. The employer must have had reasonable safeguards or internal controls in place; or
(vii) The employer, before the filing deadline, requested proper forms from the department's central office or a district tax office, and the forms were not supplied in enough time to allow the completed report to be filed and paid before the due date. The request must have been timely, which means at least three days before the filing deadline.
(b) The department may waive late penalties if it finds the employer to be out of compliance during an employer-requested audit, but the department decides the employer made a good faith effort to comply with all applicable laws and rules;
(c) The department may waive late penalties for failure to file a "no payroll" report for one quarter if a new business initially registered that it would have employees that quarter, but then delayed hiring its first employees until after that quarter; and
(d) The department will not waive late penalties if the employer has been late with filing or with payment in any of the last eight consecutive quarters immediately preceding the quarter for which a waiver is requested. If an employer has been in business for fewer than the eight preceding quarters, then all preceding quarters must have been filed and paid on time and a one-time only waiver may be granted.
(8) Incomplete reports or incorrect format penalty waivers. For good cause, the department may waive penalties or not count occurrences for incomplete reports or reports in an incorrect format when the employer can demonstrate that the incomplete or incorrectly formatted report was not due to the fault of the employer.
(9) Missing and impossible Social Security numbers. When a Social Security number is impossible or missing, the department may waive penalties for incomplete reports only once for each worker and only when:
(a) The report was incomplete because it included impossible Social Security numbers, but the employer can show that the impossible Social Security numbers were provided to the employer by the employees; or
(b) The report was incomplete because of missing Social Security numbers, but the employer can show that the employee did not work for the employer after failing to provide a valid Social Security card or application for Social Security number within seven days of employment.
(10) Penalty waiver requests.
(a) An employer must request a waiver of penalties in writing, include all relevant facts, attach available proof, and file the request with a tax office. In all cases the burden of proving the facts is on the employer.
(b) At its discretion, the department may waive penalties on its own motion without requiring a request from the employer if it finds that the penalty was caused by the department's own error or for other good cause.
(11) Extensions. The department, for good cause, may extend the due date for filing a report. If granted, the employer must make a deposit with the department in an amount equal to the estimated tax due for the reporting period or periods. This deposit will be applied to the employer's debt. The amount of the deposit must be approved by the department.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 50.12.010 and 50.12.040. WSR 13-23-007, § 192-310-030, filed 11/7/13, effective 12/8/13; WSR 10-23-064, § 192-310-030, filed 11/12/10, effective 12/13/10; WSR 07-23-127, § 192-310-030, filed 11/21/07, effective 1/1/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 50.12.010, 50.12.040, and 50.12.042. WSR 05-19-017, § 192-310-030, filed 9/9/05, effective 10/10/05; WSR 04-23-058, § 192-310-030, filed 11/15/04, effective 12/16/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 50.12.010 and 50.12.040. WSR 98-14-068, § 192-310-030, filed 6/30/98, effective 7/31/98.]
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