Washington Payroll Tax Registration

Congratulations on hiring an employee in Washington! As an employer, it's important to understand that you will need to register for payroll tax with the Washington State Department of Revenue to fulfill your tax obligations for your employee.

How Washington Payroll Registration Works

There are 3 payroll tax setup tasks you may need to complete in Washington to get your new hire on payroll for the first time. You can follow the guide below to help you get registered directly with the Washington agencies or use Mosey to do it.

Use Mosey to register for payroll tax in Washington.

Washington Workers' Compensation Setup

If you have employees in Washington, you are required to purchase workers' compensation coverage from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) or seek approval to self-insure. Private workers' compensation insurance is not allowed in Washington. Your L&I account is typically registered together with an unemployment insurance account when you file a Business License Application as a new employer.

  1. Setup Workers' Compensation Account

    You likely have a workers' compensation account created with the Department of Labor & Industries when filing your new employer Business License Application. If not, log into your SAW account to file a Business License Application to open a workers' compensation account.

  2. Adopt an Accident Prevention Program

    You are required to create a written Accident Prevention Program (APP) to address the safety and health hazards found in their workplace. Washington State provides sample APP templates you can use to generate your compliant plan.

  3. Establish Return to Work and Stay at Work programs

    Washington State provides optional financial incentive programs to reimburse employers for some of their costs when they provide temporary, light-duty jobs for workers while they heal.

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Setup

As an employer in Washington, you are required to withhold, report, and pay premiums for Paid Family and Medical Leave. If you have 50 or more employees in Washington, you are required to cover the employer portion of the premium.

  1. Determine Employer Premium

    If you have 50 or more employees in Washington, you are required to pay the employer's share of the paid leave premium. This premium is optional if you have fewer than 50 employees.

  2. Decide How to Cover the Employee Premium

    You must decide how to cover the Employee Premium, either withhold it from their paychecks or pay some or all of the premium on their behalf.

  3. Instruct Your Payroll Provider to Withhold Premium

    Contact your payroll provider on how much to withhold for the paid leave premiums.

  4. Setup Paid Family and Medical Leave Account

    Login to your Secure Access Washington account to create a Paid Family & Medical Leave account for your business. You will find "Paid Family and Medical Leave" listed in the Employment Security Department section.

Washington Unemployment Insurance Setup

If you have employees in Washington, you are required to register for an Unemployment Insurance account with the Washington Employment Security Department by filing a Business License Application (Form 700 028). When you file for a Business License as an employer, you will also get a workers' compensation account from the Department of Labor & Industries. You will get a 12-digit Employment Security Department account number in the format of 000-123456789. If this is your first registration with the Washington government, your business will also be assigned a Unified Business Identifier, a nine-digit ID used by many state agencies.

  1. Create a Secure Access Washington Account

    Create a Secure Access Washington (SAW) Account if you don't have one already. You will need a SAW account to file the Business License Application online.

  2. File Business License Application

    Log into your Secure Access Washington account to file a Business License Application as an employer. You will be guided to register for an Unemployment Insurance account and a workers' compensation account. No action necessary if Unemployment Insurance was included in a prior application. Note: During the registration process, you will have the option to also register with the Department of Revenue for an excise tax account that's used for sales tax and Business & Occupation tax (a gross receipts tax).

  3. Create an Employer Account Management Systems Account

    Log into your Secure Access Washington account to setup your Employer Account Management Systems as a service in Secure Access Washington. You will use the Employer Account Management Systems to file wage reports and pay taxes online.

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