If you’re a Florida employer, there’s one payroll tax you won’t need to deal with: state income tax.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook with payroll taxes. You’ll still need to withhold federal income tax from employee paychecks and pay Florida’s state unemployment tax.
Follow this guide to catch yourself up to speed with Florida payroll taxes.
Payroll Requirements in Florida
Florida does not have a state income tax like many states do.
However, employers are required to pay the state’s reemployment tax. This is what other states typically refer to as state unemployment tax, or SUTA, as it goes toward the state’s unemployment program fund.
Unlike income tax withholdings, Florida’s reemployment tax doesn’t get withheld from employee paychecks, as only employers pay it.
Florida requires new employers to pay 2.7% for reemployment tax, but only on an employee’s first $7,000 in wages for the year.
So, as a new employer, you’d pay $189 annually for any employee earning at least $7,000 that year ($7,000 x .027). If an employee makes less, say $5,000, you’d pay $135 ($5,000 x 0.027).
Established employers may pay up to 5.4% for each employee, but still only for their first $7,000 earned in a year. The minimum rate is 0.1%. Florida determines each employer’s tax rate and sends notices annually.
Most employers are required to pay this tax if they have at least one quarterly payroll of $1,500 or more in a calendar year. Florida exempts certain workers from being considered employees for which you need to pay reemployment tax, such as students performing work for their school or sole proprietors or partners who provide services for the company.
Registering Your Business for Payroll Taxes in Florida
You can also log into your Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) account to view your current reemployment tax rate. You’ll need to have an account here to register your business as an employer and set your business up to pay reemployment tax.
Registering your account will give you a reemployment tax account number, which you’ll use to log in when you’re ready to file and pay your taxes.
Also, register an account to report new hires on the Florida DOR website. Florida uses your new hire information to comply with child support orders, wage garnishments, and other legal requirements, but you also need to report new hires for tax purposes within 20 days of their hire date.
Don’t forget to also apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), which is free via the IRS website. You’ll need your FEIN when you report new hires.
Setting Up New Employees in Florida
Once you’re set up to report new hires, you need to collect the right forms from your new employees so you can accurately register them with Florida’s new hire reporting system.
Unlike many states, Florida doesn’t have state-specific new hire forms for employees to fill out. However, you’ll need to collect Form W-4 and Form I-9, two federal forms that employers in all states must give to new hires for reporting purposes.
Form 1-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, verifies an employee’s identity and right to work. It’s not exclusive to payroll purposes, but you’ll need it when reporting your new hires to Florida.
Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, helps employers determine an employee’s withholding status. Since Florida has no state income tax, this information is only used for the employee’s federal income tax withholding.
Report your new hires via the Florida DOR website or by filling out the Florida New Hire Reporting Form and mailing it to the Florida New Hire Reporting Center’s address noted on the form.
Filing and Paying Payroll Taxes in Florida
Use Form RT-6 to file your quarterly report, which you’ll need to do even if you don’t have employees or reportable wages for the quarter. Your filing and payments are due by the following dates:
- Quarter 1: April 30th
- Quarter 2: July 31st
- Quarter 3: October 31st
- Quarter 4: January 31st
You’ll pay any owed Florida reemployment tax via the DOR’s reemployment tax website, which offers an online portal to pay your taxes electronically. You can also file Form RT-6 through the portal if you prefer to submit it electronically.
The portal allows you to also submit a payment only if you need to make a payment without filing a return, file a corrected return, and cancel any pending submissions.
Where to Get More Information
Florida payroll taxes can differ slightly between specific types of businesses and employers, and the process can change occasionally as systems get updated and policies evolve. Keep yourself in the loop by bookmarking the following resources to refer back to when you have a specific question about your Florida payroll taxes:
- Florida Reemployment Tax: This page answers frequently asked questions about the state’s reemployment tax, like rates, payment deadlines, worker classification, and reemployment tax liability. You can also get information for specific business situations, like wage payments to non-U.S. citizens and companies using agents to file and pay their taxes.
- Reemployment Tax How-To: This online guided tutorial walks you through how to use the online filing and payment portal to submit your Florida payroll tax.
- Florida DOR New Hire Reporting: Use this website to find the links or mailing information needed to report new employees or independent contractors to Florida. Its FAQ section also offers support for employers dealing with child support wage garnishments.
How to Skip the Stress When Running Florida Payroll
Florida payroll is one of the easier states to manage because employers don’t have to deal with calculating and withholding state income tax.
Still, reemployment tax is there, and most employers are required to file and pay it. To pay it correctly, you need to make sure you’re calculating it correctly for each employee using your determined rate, filing the right forms, and paying it by the deadline each quarter.
When you’re already managing employee wages, federal taxes, garnishments, and everything else that goes into payroll, adding one more step leaves room for more errors and time-consuming tasks.
Payroll software cushions these responsibilities, which is why many employers won’t operate without a reliable payroll software by their side. Once you input your reemployment tax rate, your software can calculate how much you owe for each employee and set that money aside for payment.
It can also keep you updated with deadlines, alert you if it finds any discrepancies with new hire paperwork or wages, and make sure you’re using the correct Florida forms for reporting, filing, and paying.
I recommend investing in payroll software to automate a significant portion of your payroll rather than running it manually. I personally love Gusto for new businesses, but there are several top payroll software options available for different needs and budgets.