How to Pay Unemployment Insurance for Employees in New Hampshire

Everything employers need to know about paying unemployment insurance taxes in New Hampshire.

If your small business has employees working in New Hampshire, you’ll need to pay New Hampshire unemployment insurance (UI) tax. The UI tax funds unemployment compensation programs for eligible employees. In New Hampshire, state UI tax is one of the primary taxes that employers must pay. Unlike most other states, New Hampshire does not have state  withholding taxes. However, other important employer taxes, not covered here, include federal UI and withholding taxes.

Different states have different rules and rates for UI taxes. Here are the basic rules for New Hampshire’s UI tax.

Register With New Hampshire Employment Security

As a New Hampshire employer, your small business must establish a UI tax account with  New Hampshire Employment Security  (NHES). You must register for a UI tax account within 30 days of starting business as an employer. (In general, the registration requirement also applies to a business that becomes an employer by acquiring another business that already was an employer.) Once registered, NHES will send you a UI account number and a registration code. You can use the code to set up an online account with NHES for subsequent reporting and payment of New Hampshire UI taxes.

For the required initial registration, use the  Employer Status Report  form. You can download blank copies of the form from the  Forms and Publications  section of the NHES website. There is no fee to register your business with IDES.

Note:  To establish your New Hampshire UI tax account, you’ll need a federal  employer  identification  number  (EIN). You can apply for an EIN at  irs.gov. Generally, if you apply online, you will receive your EIN immediately.

Rules for UI Tax Liability

If you have a for-profit business in New Hampshire, you generally become liable for state UI taxes as soon as one of the following conditions is true:

  • you have one or more persons working for some part of a day in 20 different weeks, not necessarily consecutive, in a calendar year
  • you have paid gross wages of $1,500 in any quarter of a calendar year
  • you are liable under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and providing employment as defined in New Hampshire Law, or
  • you acquire the business of an employer who is already liable (technically known as successorship and not covered here).

The first two items on the list are rules that also make a business liable under FUTA, so in most cases you would become liable under federal and New Hampshire UI laws simultaneously. Different rules, not covered here, apply to agricultural (farm) workers, domestic (in-home) workers, and employees of some (but not all) non-profit organizations.

One piece of good news is that state UI tax payments generally can be credited against your FUTA taxes.

Wage Base and Tax Rates

UI tax is paid on each employee’s wages up to a maximum annual amount. In recent years, that amount, known as the taxable wage base, has remained stable at $14,000 in New Hampshire. However, it’s always possible that the amount could change.

The state UI tax rate for new employers, also known as the standard beginning tax rate, also can change on a quarterly basis, largely due to fluctuating surcharges and reductions. Recently, the rate generally has been somewhere between 1.7% and 2.7%. Established employers are subject to a lower or higher rate than new employers depending on an “experience rating.” This means, among other things, whether your business has ever had any employees who made claims for state unemployment benefits.

File Quarterly UI Tax Reports and Payments

In New Hampshire, UI tax reports and payments are due on the last day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter if you file on paper. In other words, reports and payments filed on paper are due by the following dates:

  • 1st Quarter (ending March 31st) due on or before April 30th
  • 2nd Quarter (ending June 30th) due on or before July 31st
  • 3rd Quarter (ending September 30th) due on or before October 31st, and
  • 4th Quarter (ending December 31st) due on or before January 31st.

Employers who file online have an additional two business days to file.

To file on paper, use the  Employer Quarterly Tax Report. NHES sends blank reports to every employer at the end of each quarter. You can pay with a check. To file and pay online, use New Hampshire’s  WebTax  system. If you file online, you have the option to pay using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

You must file a report for every quarter even if you didn’t employ anyone in that quarter and no taxes were due. If you expect not to employ anyone for one or more quarters, you can make a written request for a waiver of filing requirements for the quarter involved. Waivers aside, you will be subject to a penalty if you fail to file.

Post a Notice (Poster)

You are required to post a notice (poster) regarding state unemployment claims in a conspicuous place for all employees. The poster provides information on how and when an employee can file an unemployment claim. You can download a notice (Unemployment Notice) from the  Forms and Publications  section of the NHES website that meets all legal requirements.

Do Not Misclassify Employees as Independent Contractors

Employers who use independent contractors rather than hiring employees are not subject to the UI tax. However, it’s important that you do not misclassify an  employee  as an independent contractor. If you do misclassify an employee, you could be subject to penalties or fines.

Using Payroll Service Companies

You may decide that it’s easiest to hand over responsibility for payroll, including UI taxes, to an outside payroll service. If so, keep in mind that your business, or even you personally, may still be held directly responsible for mistakes made by an outside payroll company.

Additional Information

This article touches on only the most basic elements of New Hampshire UI taxes. Avoid possible penalties for making mistakes by checking both the IRS and NHES websites for the latest information. NHES also publishes a detailed  Employer Handbook  that you can download from their website. In addition to state UI tax, employers have other responsibilities not covered in this article, such as federal UI and withholding taxes, and required reporting of new hires. You can get more information about other  small  business  tax issues  in other articles on Nolo.com.

Talk to a Tax Attorney

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Talk to a Tax attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you