Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Some of you may remember receiving a newsletter from me earlier this summer regarding the newly formed WA CARES Fund and the payroll tax that comes with it. For more information on this new program, check out my previous newsletter here.
As a follow-up, I want to provide more information on exemptions and timeline of this new payroll tax. Starting today, October 1, those of you who purchased private long-term care insurance now have the option to opt-out of the WA CARES Fund and can apply for an exemption here. The Washington State Employment Security Department will only accept these applications through December 31, 2022. However, if you are a Washington state worker (either publicly or privately employed) and receive a W-2 and have not opted out of this tax by December 31 of this year (2021), you will pay up to $0.58 per $100 of earnings beginning in January 2022. Unfortunately, this only allows for a very small window of time to apply for an exemption. Additionally, individuals will not be eligible to receive benefits from this fund until 2025.
Several of my Washington State Senate colleagues and I wrote a bipartisan letter to the governor asking for him to suspend this law and do away with this tax altogether. This is a burdensome tax on top of all the other state and federal taxes workers already pay. The maximum benefit an individual can receive from this fund is $36,500 – which doesn’t go very far. Candidly, I do not hold out much hope that the governor will suspend this law or that we will see any tax relief anytime soon.
You can find more information about this issue at the ESD website. As always, you can also reach out to my office with any questions or concerns on this issue or any other topic.