Blog
Employment Laws

What Is FUTA?

Learn all about the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. If you pay your employees more than $,1500 per quarter, then you may be obligated to pay this tax annually.

Blog Author - Justworks
Justworks
Dec 5, 20233 minutes
Blog Author - Justworks
Justworks

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

459 postsAuthor's posts
Blog - Hero - What Payroll Taxes Are Actually Used For

Not only are employers responsible for giving people jobs, but when something goes awry in a business, such as layoffs, employers are also responsible for ensuring the people who lose their jobs have unemployment coverage as well.

According to state and federal law, most employers are obliged to pay regularly for unemployment insurance. Paying this tax ensures that people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own have a basic safety net for a limited period of time while they search for a different way to earn a living.

Paying the federal unemployment tax is where the FUTA tax comes in, which we’ll break down for you below.

What is FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act)?

FUTA, or the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, helps provide compensation for people who have lost their jobs. FUTA is used in conjunction with state unemployment taxes. According to the IRS, employers usually have to pay both federal and state unemployment taxes.

There are three different tests that determine whether an employer needs to pay the FUTA tax: the general test, household employees test, and farmworkers test. This post will focus on the general test.

In the general test, you are subject to FUTA taxes if…

  • You paid $1,500 or more in wages in any calendar quarter, or

  • You had 1+ employees for at least part of a day in any 20 or more different weeks throughout the calendar year

When Do Employers Pay FUTA?

Employers pay FUTA taxes on a quarterly basis.

The quarters are as follows:

  • Quarter 1: January - March

  • Quarter 2: April - June

  • Quarter 3: July - September

  • Quarter 4: October - December

The tax periods always end in the last month of the quarter. Employers are obligated to pay the taxes within a month of the last quarter. So, for example, if the company Clockwork Solutions, LLC pays more than $1,500 in wages in the first quarter, they’ll have until April 30th to pay the FUTA taxes, even though the quarter ends on March 31st.

What is the FUTA Tax Rate and How to Calculate FUTA?

As of 2023, the FUTA tax rate is 6%. Employers should calculate FUTA taxes on a quarterly basis. Once an employee reaches $7,000 for taxable wages in the calendar year, employers no longer have to deposit FUTA taxes on their wages, which means the maximum amount of Futa Tax an employer can pay for each employee is $420 ($7,000 x 6%). 

However, most employers are eligible for a credit of up to 5.4% if they pay their state unemployment taxes on time. This brings the effective Futa Tax rate down to 0.6% (6% - 5.4%). This credit is known as the "credit reduction rate" and is applied to the first $7,000 of each employee's wages.

For example, if an employer has an employee who earns $50,000 per year, the Futa Tax for that employee would be $420 ($7,000 x 6%). However, if the employer is eligible for the maximum credit of 5.4%, the Futa Tax for that employee would be reduced to $42 ($7,000 x 0.6%).

Which Form Do You Fill Out for FUTA?

Employers fill out the 940 form for FUTA. If you want a deep dive on IRS Form 940, you can find out:

  • What form 940 covers

  • Who must file the form

  • Dates to file FUTA

  • State unemployment taxes (SUTA)

How Does FUTA Tax Benefit Employers?

While Futa Tax may seem like an additional expense for employers, it does have some benefits. By paying Futa Tax, employers are contributing to a program that provides financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs. This can help alleviate some of the financial burden on employees and their families during a difficult time.

How Does FUTA Tax Benefit Employees?

Futa Tax benefits employees by providing them with temporary financial assistance if they lose their jobs. This can help them cover their basic living expenses while they search for a new job. The amount of unemployment benefits an employee receives is based on their previous earnings and the state in which they live.

Justworks Can Help with FUTA

Justworks members enjoy the luxury of knowing their state and federal unemployment taxes are filed and paid on time. Justworks also updates taxable amounts when yearly rates are adjusted. Best of all, when the paperwork is due, employers are covered for the correct agencies in every state. Contact us today to get expert support with your taxes, so you can spend your time running your business.

Resources

Looking for additional resources for your business?

Browse through guides and e-books that give you the knowledge to confidently make decisions for your business.

Learn More
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
Discover more of what you like
PEOHealth InsuranceBenefits & PerksPayroll & TaxesExpenses & FinanceEmployment LawsInternational

Check out our newsletter

Monthly tips on running a business in your inbox.

Check out our newsletter

Monthly tips on running a business in your inbox.
Written By
Blog Author - Justworks
Justworks
Dec 5, 20233 minutes

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

Learn more with Justworks’ Resources

Scale your business and build your team — no matter which way it grows. Access the tools, perks, and resources to help you stay compliant and grow in all 50 states.