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***IMPORTANT MESSAGE CONCERNING THE ESSP***
Due to the implementation of the Employer Self-Service Portal (ESSP), some employers may receive notices regarding unpaid taxes or other issues related to the filing of wage reports. These notices should be disregarded. They were sent in error. Please accept our apology for any concern or confusion this incident may have caused.
The DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) introduces the Employer Self-Service Portal (ESSP) – an online system designed to help employers and agents file unemployment insurance wage reports and pay unemployment insurance taxes. This new system will offer employers immediate account accessibility and it will provide a streamlined business process for employers and agents.
Starting October 1, 2014, the ESSP will give employers and agents access to a variety of online services:
Note: The ESSP will open select services in stages. Visit the ESSP information page for more information on opening dates for a specific service.
New Employer Registration
The New Employer Registration link will allow new business entities employing workers in Washington, DC to submit an online UI registration (currently part VI of the FR500, Combined Registration Application for Business DC Taxes/Fees/Assessments). The registration process will allow employers to:
After the registration is submitted, most employers will receive an account number and UI contribution rate immediately. Under some special conditions, staff may need to review the account before it can be activated.
Note: You will not be able to use the New Employer Registration functionality if you already have a registered UI Account with DOES. If you have questions or for some reason are not able to register for a new employer account, please contact DOES at ESSP.email@example.com. You may also contact the Help Desk at (202) 698-7550.
Existing Employer Registration (Available 10/21/2014)
Existing employers that have an employer account number will be able to access their accounts through the Employer’s Portal link (available 10/21/2014). To access your account information, you will need the user name and password letter that was sent to your most recent address. If you have not received the letter to your address by October 15, 2014, please contact our Help Desk at (202) 698-7550. Please also note that passwords will not be distributed by email or in response to an email request.
We strongly recommend that those who are currently registered access the ESSP Employer Account Maintenance link (available 10/21/2014) and update their profile information. The account maintenance feature will allow users to:
Employer-Agent Relationships (Available 10/21/2014)
The ESSP will allow employers to set up a Power of Attorney (POA) relationship online (Agent Relationship Assignment). Employers will be able to give agents access to their online account and upload the POA form. Employers will need the Agent Account Number (supplied by your agent) in order to set up this access.
Note: Agents that have been submitting electronic reports to DOES during 2014 will have their accounts created by DOES. See the Agent Account Registration link (available 10/21/2014) for more information.
Submitting Wages through ESSP (for Employers) (Available 10/21/2014)
All employers will be able to submit wages using their ESSP account in three ways: (1) manually by entering data into the system, (2) retrieving and modifying information from previous online reports, or (3) uploading data into one of the four specified file formats (ICESA, EWF2, XML, or CSV). Employers that have not paid any wages for a reporting period and are required to file a “Zero Wage” report will be able to do so in a simple set of steps. In accordance to rules set by the DC Code, the system will validate data and generate real time calculations of taxes and charges due base on provided data. Upon receipt of the confirmation, the users will be able to directly pay their taxes due.
Paying Taxes Through ESSP (for Employers) (Available 10/21/2014)
The employers will have the ability to pay their taxes via ACH debit or by check, either immediately after submitting the wages or anytime if they have an outstanding balance on their account. A payment related to the wage submission has to be processed within standard quarterly due dates to prevent the assignment of additional charges.
Third Party Administrator (TPA) Registration (Available 10/21/2014)
If you are a new Third Party Administrator (TPA) or Payroll Agent in Washington, DC, you must access the Agent Account Registration link (available 10/21/2014) and create your account. When the registration is completed, you will receive an Agent Account Number that you have to provide to your client-employers, so they can authorize you to represent them in their affairs with the DOES. Employers can log in to their home page and select the “Account Maintenance” link (available 10/21/2014) then the “Agent Assignment” link (available 10/21/2014). Your clients then can assign you to represent them by following the directions on the screens. This is an important step that must be taken. If your clients do not give you access to their accounts you will NOT be able to act on their behalf in the ESSP.
Note: Agents that have been submitting electronic reports to DOES during 2014 will have their accounts created. If you currently file electronically via ICESA file, you will receive your account credentials by mail in early October. After you receive your credentials you will need to access the Agent’s Portal link (available 10/21/2014) directly. Please, DO NOT create a new Agent account if you currently file electronically using ICESA files. DOES already has set up your relationship with your clients for whom you have submitted reports. These relationships will be lost if you set up a new account, and the time needed to correct this situation may delay your ability to file wage repots for your clients.
In order to ease the transition to the online services provided by the ESSP, DOES will allow agents to file wage reports for their current clients without entering the POA relationship. This will ONLY be in effect for the third quarter filing for 2014. Employers must establish the POA relationship to enable agents to file reports for them starting with the first quarter 2015. If you have questions please, contact us through ESSP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitting Wages through ESSP (For TPAs) (Available 10/21/2014)
Authorized agents will be able to submit wages on behalf of their clients using their ESSP account in three ways: (1) manually by entering data into the system, (2) retrieving and modifying information from previous online reports, or (3) uploading data into one of the four specified file formats (ICESA, EWF2, XML, or CSV) - either individually or in bulk. Like the employers that have not paid any wages for a reporting period, agents may report “Zero Wages” in a simple set of steps, or they report this information in the bulk file. In accordance to rules set by the DC Code, the system will validate data and generate real time calculations of taxes and charges due base on provided data. Upon receipt of the confirmation, the agents will be able to pay taxes due on behalf of their clients.
Paying Taxes Through ESSP (for TPAs) (Available 10/21/2014)
Authorized agents will be able to file wage reports and pay taxes on behalf of their clients either individually or in bulk. The ESSP will offer TPAs the ability to allocate payment amounts for the bulk wage submission either manually or by using a modifiable payment allocation file generated by the ESSP from submitted wage data. The individual payment amount will be applied against the amounts due of the employers according to the same rules as the payments submitted by the employers. Contact us at ESSP.email@example.com for more details.
Additional ESSP Information
You can visit the ESSP information page for more information on how to use the Employer Self-Service Portal including videos that demonstrate how to use the system.
Unemployment insurance is a federal-state program that provides temporary benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, and who are able and available for work. The benefits paid to unemployed workers reduce the hardship of unemployment, help to maintain purchasing power of the unemployed, thereby supporting the local economy, and help to stabilize the workforce so that local workers are available to employers when they are ready to re-employ.
The cost of the unemployment insurance program is financed by employers who pay state and federal taxes on part of the wages paid to each employee in a calendar year.
The state unemployment tax that District of Columbia employers pay to the Department of Employment Services (DOES), on the first $9,000 of wages paid to each employee, finances the unemployment benefits that unemployed District workers receive. These monies are deposited in the District's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund account in the US Treasury, and may only be used for payment of unemployment insurance benefits.
The federal employment tax that employers pay to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each April finances the administrative costs of state unemployment and job service programs, as well as the federal share of programs that provide for extensions of the payment of benefits to unemployed workers, and the provision of repayable federal loans to states who have depleted their benefit accounts. The federal employment tax is legislated by the Federal Unemployment Tax Act and is known as the FUTA tax.
Employers who submit state tax reports and pay state tax contributions on a timely basis, receive, from the IRS, a 90 percent offset credit against the federal employment tax that they owe. Employers who receive the offset credit currently pay a federal employment tax of .8 percent, instead of 6.2 percent, of the first $7,000 they pay to each employee in a calendar year.
The Department of Employment Services Tax Division is located at 4058 Minnesota Avenue NE, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20019. The office is open to the public from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. The Department of Employment Services is adjacent to the Minnesota Avenue Metro stop and bus bay on the Orange Line. The office number is 202-698-7550.