Click on the links below for quick access to common federal and state publications that you may find useful.
Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance
Information courtesy of the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Click here for a printable PDF of this information.
What is the Unemployment Insurance program?
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program provides weekly benefits to eligible unemployed workers. These benefits provide economic stability to workers and their families during temporary periods of unemployment and help lessen the effect of unemployment on the local economy. The program is financed solely through employer contributions (taxes). It is not operated as a part of the federal Social Security system, the state Worker's Compensation program or any federal or state welfare program.
What is the relationship between Wisconsin's Unemployment Insurance law and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)?
Unemployment Insurance is a federal-state program jointly financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes. The Federal Unemployment Tax is used, in part, to finance the administrative expenses of each state's unemployment insurance program and certain federal costs related to extended benefits. Employer payroll taxes collected under Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance law are used only to pay benefits to unemployed workers and to calculate tax rates.
How is your tax rate determined?
I. New Employer Rates: As a newly subject employer, you are assigned a standard fixed rate for the first three calendar years of payroll. Newly subject employers in the construction industry pay at the average rate for all other experience-rated construction industry employers. New employer rates can be found at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/employers/taxrates.htm. After your first three calendar years of payroll, you will be assigned an "experience" rate based upon the activity in an account balance we maintain for you and the amount of payroll you report.
II. Employer's Account Balance (Reserve Fund Balance): An individual account is maintained for each individual employer covered under Wisconsin UI law. The balance in this account is maintained for the purpose of determining your annual tax rate. The balance increases with a portion of each tax payment made by you and decreases with every unemployment benefit payment made to your laid off workers. You will receive a weekly statement when there is benefit charge activity in your account. This statement shows all the increases and decreases to your account balance including detailed information regarding the benefit charges. The taxes paid are similar to insurance premiums, and in the event an employer goes out of business, no money in the Reserve Fund is ever returned to the employer.
III. Experience Rating: After the initial new employer tax rating period, we determine your experience rate as follows:
- Your Reserve Fund Balance as of June 30, which includes tax payments made through July 31 and benefit payments made through June 30.
- Your Fiscal Year Taxable Payroll as reported on your quarterly reports for the fiscal year ending on June 30 of the current year. The fiscal year includes the last two quarters of the previous year and the first two quarters of the current year.
- Your Reserve Fund Balance (RFB) is divided by your Fiscal Year Taxable Payroll (FYTP) to determine your Reserve Percentage (RP).
Formula Calculations: RFB ÷ FYTP = RP
The Reserve Percentage is then applied to the rate schedule. The rate schedule shows a basic rate, a solvency rate and a total rate.
- The Basic Rate portion of each tax payment is credited to your reserve fund balance.
- The Solvency Rate portion of each tax payment is credited to a shared risk account called the balancing account.
- Your Total Rate is the sum of your basic rate and your solvency rate and is the rate shown on your quarterly tax report.
This Total Rate applies to all quarters for the following calendar year. You will receive your Annual Rate Notice by the end of October. Form UCT-100B is the Rate Notice.
IV. Tax Rate Schedules:
The rate schedules can change from year to year depending on the overall condition of Wisconsin's Unemployment Reserve Fund. The cash balance in the Reserve Fund on June 30 each year determines which of the four statutory rate schedules is in effect for the following calendar year.
The rate schedule differs if you are considered a small or a large employer. If taxable payroll is $500,000.00 or more, the employer would be considered a large employer.
Scams/Fraud are at an all-time high during Tax Season
It is vital that you be alert to the possible signs of being scammed or having your identity stolen, and know what to do if you are a victim.
Taxpayers should be on the lookout for tax scams using the IRS name. While scams occur throughout the year, these schemes jump every year at tax time. Scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms. Scammers can be clever; they may have your full name, address, and/or part of your social security number leading you believe they are authentic.
Use caution when viewing e-mails and receiving telephone calls from people claiming to be the IRS. Remember that the IRS will always initiate contact with you by mail.
Keep in mind that scammers may also target taxpayers by pretending to be a state agency, such as the Wisconsin or Illinois Department of Revenue. Apply the same rules and judgement to contact from state agencies as you would the IRS.
Described below are the main types of scams you should be aware of.
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.
If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an urgent callback request.
Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Email Phishing Scam:
"Update your IRS e-file" or "Verify your details"
The emails appear to be from the IRS and include a link to a bogus web site intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately. The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between "IRS" and "gov"), though notably, not IRS.gov (with a dot). Don't get scammed. These emails are not from the IRS.
Taxpayers who get these messages should not respond to the email or click on the links. Instead, they should forward the scam emails to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Identity Theft Scams
The IRS has issued several consumer warnings about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scamsters trying to gain access to consumers financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. Scamsters will use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims. When identity theft takes place over the Internet (email), it is called phishing.
The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through email. Unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or from an IRS-related component such as EFTPS, should be reported to the IRS at email@example.com.
Additionally, clicking on attachments to or links within an unsolicited email claiming to come from the IRS may download a malicious computer virus onto your computer.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, there are many important steps you need to take, including filing a report, monitoring your credit, and contacting your financial institutions. Click here to review the steps you should take if you are a victim of identity theft.
In Summary, Remember:
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for personal identification information, PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
- The IRS will never call you on the phone to demand immediate payment.
- The IRS will never call about taxes owed without first mailing you a notice.
- The IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount the agency says you owe.
- The IRS will never require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- The IRS will never ask for credit card or debit card numbers over the phone.
- The IRS will never threaten to have you arrested for not paying.
Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft (from irs.gov)
What is tax-related identity theft?
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
Generally, an identity thief will use your SSN to file a false return early in the year. You may be unaware you are a victim until you try to file your taxes and learn one already has been filed using your SSN.
Know the warning signs
Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRS notice or letter that states that:
- More than one tax return was filed using your SSN;
- You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return;
- IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.
Steps to take if you become a victim
1. File a report with law enforcement.
2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261.
3. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:
- Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
- Experian, www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289
4. Contact your financial institutions, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with.
5. Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually. You can create an account online at www.ssa.gov.
If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:
1. Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided
2. Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then mail or fax according to instructions.
3. Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
How to reduce your risk
- Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card or any document with your SSN on it.
- Don’t give a business your SSN just because they ask – only when absolutely necessary.
- Protect your personal financial information at home and on your computer.
- Check your credit report annually.
- Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually.
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches and change passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or the Internet unless you have either initiated the contact or are sure you know who is asking.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
Report suspicious online or emailed phishing scams to:firstname.lastname@example.org. For phishing scams by phone, fax or mail, call: 1-800-366-4484. Report IRS impersonation scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s IRS Impersonation Scams Reporting.