Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2009 California Employer Payroll Tax Rates

The base payroll tax rates for 2009 for California employers have been announced by the Employment Development Department (EDD), and are as follows:
Unemployment Insurance (UI): 3.4% of the first $7,000 of wages per employee, per year (however, an emergency surcharge is also in effect);

Employment Training Fund (ETT): 0.1% of the first $7,000 of wages per employee, per year;

State Disability Insurance (SDI): 1.1% of the first $90,669 of wages per employee, per year (up from $86,698, and up from 0.8% in 2008 and 0.6% in 2007)
Established employers may have a higher or lower UI rate, based on various factors. An emergency UI fund surcharge is in effect for the year.

If you are an employer or prospective employer unsure whether your current or prospective worker is properly classified as an employee or an independent contractor, you should hire an employment law attorney to advise you (I offer these services). Improper classification can lead to costly penalties and interest, as well as the assessment of back taxes.

Additionally, there are a host of legal hoops to jump through - which usually aren't, exposing employers to liability - when hiring a California employee (or an independent contractor). In either case, the relationship should generally be documented in a custom-drafted written employment or independent contractor agreement.

This article, written by a former director of EDD, is a few years old, but provides some general advice for employers on keeping their UI rates as low as possible.

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