Facts About SUI

  • Rate is unique to your business and issued by your state.
  • Rate is not part of the tax table update and critical that you enter your current rate in QuickBooks Desktop
  • Is paid only by the employer, unless you are in a state that requires employees to contribute
  • SUI wage base limit is updated by the tax table according to your state's requirements, and cannot be manually changed
  • Most states update their SUI rate in the beginning of the year while others such as New Jersey, Vermont and Tennessee, update their rates in the third quarter of the year

If you have received a rate change notice from your state, see How to Read SUI rate change notifications.

Note: If you have Assisted Payroll, see SUI rate change for Assisted Payroll.

The majority of states attach a surcharge or assessment to State Unemployment. To ensure that you enter the correct percentage rate for the SUI portion:

  • compare the breakdown of rate on your notice with a sample copy for your state. See Read SUI rate change notifications.
  • if your state attaches an assessment or surcharge item, update the rate for that payroll item (as needed) in QuickBooks.

To change your SUI rate in QuickBooks Desktop:

  1. Choose Lists > Payroll Item List.
  2. Double-click the State Unemployment Tax item, which is typically named: [state abbreviation] - Unemployment Company.
  3. Click Next > Next for the Company tax rates for [year], and enter the correct rates for each quarter.
    If your system date is between 7/1 and 1/1 you will also be able to add the rate for the first quarter of the following year.
  4. After you enter the correct rates, you may get a popup message for Payroll Tax Rate Change Warning, click Continue. Your SUI rates are updated.
  5. Click Next once and click to clear any compensation items that are not subject to your state's unemployment tax (check with your state's unemployment department for more details).
  6. Click Next > Finish

Note: If you change your SUI rate in the middle of a current quarter or in a prior quarter, QuickBooks Desktop will not auto adjust the tax amounts collected for any employees who have reached the wage limit prior to the rate change. To adjust the tax amount collected for SUI, you will need to do a manual tax amount adjustment for each affected employee for each quarter affected.

If you need to adjust SUI wage bases and/or amounts reported for your employees, create a Payroll report to determine these numbers. See steps below:

  1. Click Reports >Employees & Payroll > Payroll Item Detail
  2. Set the date to view each specific (affected) quarter.
  3. Click Customize Report button and select the following:
    • Date
    • Source Name
    • Payroll Item
    • Wage Base
    • Amount
  4. Click the Filters tab. Under Filter select Payroll Item from the list.
  5. Click the down arrow under payroll Item and select your State Unemployment item.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Look at the total wage base column for the SUI and multiply it by your current rate.
  8. Match results with amount calculated.

If you have employees who are over or under collected for SUI, you can create correcting positive or negative liability adjustment for the affected employee and affected quarter. See Entering wage base and tax adjustment to correct employee's quarter (qtd) or year to date (ytd) total.

Related Articles

How to Read SUI Rate Notices
State Unemployment Taxes