WA CARES Fund payroll tax exemption now available

Dear Neighbor,

Some of you may remember receiving a newsletter from me earlier this summer regarding the newly formed WA CARES Fund and the payroll tax that comes with it. In that newsletter, I promised to follow-up with information on how you could opt-out of this program.

Today, I want to provide more information on exemptions and the implementation timeline for this new tax. For those of you who purchased private long-term care insurance, starting October 1, you now have the option to opt-out of the WA CARES Fund and can apply for an exemption here. The Employment Security Department (ESD) will only accept these applications through December 31, 2022. However, there is a caveat — if you are a Washington state worker (either publicly or privately employed) and receive a W-2 and have not received your exemption from ESD by December 31 of this year (2021)you will pay up to $0.58 per $100 of earnings beginning in January 2022. Additionally, individuals will not be eligible to receive benefits from this fund until 2025.

For those reasons, I recently joined a bipartisan group of 23 senators asking the governor to temporarily suspend this tax or call a special session to address long-term care issues. This is an incredibly burdensome tax on top of all the other state and federal taxes workers already pay. Unfortunately, I do not hold out much hope that the governor will suspend this law or that workers will see any tax relief anytime soon.

You can find more information about this issue at the WA CARES Fund website. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns.