Louisiana Gives Employers Extra Time to Pay Unemployment Taxes
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Workforce Commission is giving employers extra time to pay their unemployment taxes for the first quarter of the year.
Employers still are required to file their first quarter 2020 wage and tax reports with the agency by April 30, but payment of the associated taxes can be deferred without penalties or interest until June 30.
“Our goal in deferring payment of quarterly unemployment taxes is to do what we can to help these businesses through this difficult time,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Dejoie said.
Employers pay taxes into the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund, which in turn pays unemployment benefits to qualified individuals. Generally, employers with more claims against their accounts pay higher tax rates than those with fewer claims, but Dejoie says COVID-19-related claims will not affect employers’ rates.
Louisiana employers can begin filing their quarterly wage and tax reports online April 1.
According to numbers made public Friday, 2,255 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed for the week ending March 14, up from the previous week’s total of 1,698.
But as state government mandates temporary closures and restrictions for many businesses in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and as the economy as a whole slows to a crawl, unemployment claims are skyrocketing. As of mid-day Thursday, the Louisiana Workforce Commission had received 30,000 new requests for unemployment benefits this week, Dejoie said.
As of Wednesday, Louisiana’s Trust Fund balance was $1.05 billion, the LWC says. Dejoie says the fund is the 17th-strongest in the nation and says she is not concerned the fund might prove insufficient for the demand.
Louisiana meets the standard for a “reasonably well-funded” trust fund, Jared Walczak, Director of State Tax Policy at the Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation, said via social media. But he added that “just about anything states have” may be inadequate without significant federal help.
On Friday morning, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 479 COVID-19 cases in 25 parishes and 10 deaths from the illness.
By David Jacobs of the Center Square