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When Is An Employer Liable For Unemployment Taxes?

Different employer types have different liability for contributions under the Unemployment Insurance Law.

General Business Employers

A general business employer is liable:

  1. on the first day of any calendar quarter in which total remuneration of $300 or more is paid, OR
  2. on the day it acquires any or all of the business of an employer currently liable for contributions.

Non­profit Employers

A non­profit employer is liable:

  1. on the first day of any calendar quarter in which it pays total cash remuneration of $1,000 or more, OR
  2. as of the first day of a calendar year if it employs four or more persons on each of 20 days during that calendar year or the preceding calendar year, each being in a different calendar week.

A non­profit employer may terminate liability at the end of any calendar quarter if:

  1. the Department is notified in writing during that calendar quarter, AND
  2. the employer did not pay cash remuneration of $1,000 or more in the current and three preceding calendar quarters, AND
  3. the employer did not employ 4 or more persons on each of 20 days during that calendar year or the preceding calendar year, each day being in a different calendar week.

Household Employers

An employer of household help is liable as of the first day of any calendar quarter in which total cash wages of $500 or more is paid. A household employer may terminate liability at the end of any calendar quarter if the Department of Labor is notified in writing and cash wages of $500 or more is not paid in the current and three preceding calendar quarters.

Agricultural Employers

An employer of agricultural labor on a farm is liable:

  1. at the beginning of any calendar year in which 10 or more farm workers are employed on each of 20 days in a calendar year or the preceding calendar year, each day being in a different week, OR
  2. as of the first day of a calendar quarter during which cash remuneration of $20,000 or more is paid to farm workers, OR
  3. as of the first day of the calendar quarter during which any remuneration is paid to farm workers if the employer is liable under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) with respect to farm workers.

A Farm Labor Crew Leader is also liable if any of the above conditions are met, AND:

  1. the farm operator is not the employer, AND
  2. the crew leader holds a valid certificate of registration under the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act of 1963, OR substantially all of the crew operates or maintains mechanized equipment which is provided by the leader.

Governmental Employers

All local government employees are mandatorily covered under the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law as of January 1, 1978. This is without regard to the amount of remuneration paid or the number of employees.

Indian Tribes

All Indian Tribes, as defined in Section 3306(u) of FUTA, are mandatorily covered under the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law as of December 21, 2000. This is without regard to the amount of remuneration paid or the number of employees.

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