In March 2020, the federal government passed the CARES Act, creating several pandemic unemployment programs to support out-of-work Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As New York State hit unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression, the Department of Labor would go on to pay more than $105 billion dollars in unemployment and pandemic unemployment benefits between March 2020 and September 2021. As a result of this unexpected emergency, the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund was depleted. Like dozens of states around the country, New York State borrowed funds from the federal government to maintain UI and pandemic benefits while the pandemic programs were in effect.
During periods in which there is an outstanding federal loan, New York State law requires contributing employers to pay an annual Interest Assessment Surcharge, or IAS. Beginning in June 2023, employers who make unemployment insurance contributions will be notified of the 2023 IAS amount due. Payment of the IAS is due within 30 days of the date of this notice. Unless the Federal government chooses to abate all or part of the interest incurred or the principal balance amount is repaid with no more interest accrued, businesses will be required to make annual IAS payments until all interest has been fully paid off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the interest assessment surcharge and why is it being assessed?
Due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund ran out of funds to pay claims filed by unemployed workers. As a result, New York State borrowed funds from the federal government to maintain unemployment insurance benefits while the pandemic unemployment programs were in effect. The current balance of this loan is $6.581 billion (June 7, 2023). While the debt from these federal loans is being reduced at a rapid rate, State law requires that New York State businesses pay the interest on the federal loan – this payment is the Interest Assessment Surcharge (IAS). Unless the Federal government chooses to abate all or part of the interest incurred, businesses will be required to make IAS payments until all interest has been fully paid off.
Are all businesses required to pay the IAS?
All businesses that pay unemployment insurance (UI) contributions to the State are liable for the IAS. If a business owes less than $1.00, they will not receive an IAS bill.
How is IAS calculated?
The IAS for businesses is calculated using the wages subject to contributions for the current payroll year (a four-quarter period ending with the third quarter of the most recent calendar year) and multiplying those wages by the current IAS rate. The 2023 rate is .18% (about $21.60 per employee), a reduction from the 2022 rate of .22%. The IAS will vary from year to year depending on the outstanding loan balance, wages subject to contributions, and the federally prescribed interest rate.
Will a business’s UI experience rating increase as a result of IAS?
No. The IAS does not affect a business’s experience rating.
When are IAS payments due?
Payment of the IAS by employers is due within 30 days of the IAS billing notice. The NYSDOL will mail notices to employers in June 2023. The IAS is subject to the same collection processes as normal contributions, including, but not limited to, legal actions to enforce a debt. No extensions can be granted as the payment due to the federal government must be on time.
What if I did not receive an IAS bill notice or have questions regarding the IAS billing notice?
Businesses with questions about IAS may call NYS DOL’s Employer Hotline at 1-888-899-8810. Select Option Two for the Main Menu, and then Option One for the Employer Accounts Adjustment Section of the Unemployment Insurance Division. Additional information is available at on.ny.gov/ias.
How can businesses pay their IAS?
Businesses may pay the IAS electronically when e-Filing their 2Q23 NYS-45 return.
To create or access your UI Online Services account, go to https://on.ny.gov/employersonlineservices. If you don’t pay the IAS with your second quarter e-File return, you can write a check payable to “NYS Unemployment Insurance” and send it to “NYS Unemployment Insurance, P.O. Box 4301, Binghamton, New York 13902-4301. Make sure to write your Employer Registration Number on the check, so that it is applied correctly to your account.