How to Pay Unemployment Insurance for Employees in Wyoming

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

If your small business has employees working in Wyoming, you’ll need to pay Wyoming unemployment insurance (UI) tax. The UI tax funds unemployment compensation programs for eligible employees. In Wyoming, state UI tax is one of the primary taxes that employers must pay. Unlike most other states, Wyoming does not have statewithholding 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 Wyoming’s UI tax.

Register With the Department of Workforce Services

As a Wyoming employer, your small business must register with the Unemployment Insurance Division (the Division) of Wyoming’s Department of Workforce Services (DWS) before beginning business or starting work in the state. You can register online or on paper. Once registered, you’ll be issued a UI account number.

To register online, use the Wyoming Business Registration System. To register on paper, use Form WY035WC, Joint Business Registration Form. Blank forms are available for download from the Forms and Documents section of the DWS website. There is no fee to register your business with DWS.

Note: To establish your Wyoming UI tax account, you should have 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. If you don’t have an EIN when you submit your registration, you should leave that item blank, and transmit your EIN to DWS as soon as you receive it.

Rules for UI Tax Liability

Unlike other states, Wyoming does not have a minimum amount of wages that must be paid for an employer to be liable for UI tax. Instead, it is assumed that typical employers will be liable simply if they have an employee. By contrast, under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), typical for-profit employers are liable for FUTA taxes if, during the current or preceding calendar year, they either:

  • paid wages of $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter, or
  • had one or more employees at any time in each of twenty calendar weeks.

Different rules, not covered here, apply to agricultural 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. That amount, known as the taxable wage base, goes up or down (usually up) every year in Wyoming. Since 2003, it has increased almost every year. The amount of the annual increases has ranged from $300 up to $2,000. Most recently, the wage base has exceeded $25,000.

The state UI tax rate for new employers is subject to change from one year to the next. As a new employer, your Wyoming UI tax rate will depend on what kind of business you’re in—or, more technically, what “industry” you’re in. The details are complicated. However, in simple terms:

  • industry categories are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), and
  • the state will calculate your rate based on the NAICS average UI tax rate for your industry.

The NAICS was created by the federal government to classify and analyze statistics for different kinds of businesses. Wyoming, however, uses the average tax rate for each of these kinds of businesses to assign a UI tax rate to new employers. The DWS has a webpage providing limited information about NAICS classifications.

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.

For current and historical wage base information, check the Unemployment Taxable Wage Base table on the DWS website. For current and historical tax rate information, check the list of tax rate documents in the mainUnemployment Insurance section of the DWS website.

File Quarterly UI Tax Reports and Payments

In Wyoming, UI tax reports and payments are due by the last day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter. In other words:

Reporting Period

Due Date

Delinquent Date

Q1

April 30

May 1

Q2

July 31

August 1

Q3

October 31

November 1

Q4

January 31

February 1

If the last day of the month following the end of the quarter is a holiday or weekend, the due date will be the next business day.

You can file your reports and payments online or on paper. To file online, use Wyoming Internet Reporting for Employers (WIRE). To file on paper, use Form WYO 056, Quarterly Report, and Form WYO 078, Employee Wage Listings. You can download blank forms from the Forms and Documents section of the DWS website.

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 basic information on how to file an unemployment claim. You can download a notice that meets all legal requirements from the main Unemployment Insurance section of the DWS website.

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 Wyoming UI taxes. Avoid possible penalties for making mistakes by checking both the IRS and DWS websites for the latest information. In addition to state UI tax, employers have other responsibilities not covered in this article, such as federal UI and withholding taxes, required reporting of new hires, and required retention of employee records. You can get more information about other small business tax issues in other articles here on Nolo.com.

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