Biz Rules: Tax Increase

By Beau Denton July 31, 2012

How to Handle Your Unemployment Tax IncreaseFor years, the taxable payroll for Florida unemployment tax was $7,000; this year it increased to $8,000 per employee. The state also raised the minimum unemployment tax rate from 2011’s 1.03 percent to current 1.51 percent; the starting rate for new businesses (2.7 percent) and the maximum rate (5.4 percent) remained the same. Fortunately, business owners have some influence over how much the recent increase will impact them.

“The biggest problem is that businesses don’t know how to manage their unemployment rate because they’re not educated about the process,” says Geniene Manheimer, senior district manager with ADP Small Business Services in Sarasota.

Businesses often ignore state Department of Revenue notices that an employee has filed an unemployment claim, or don’t fill out the forms properly. Businesses may also be unaware that within 18 months of opening, the initial 2.7 percent rate can go down if no unemployment claims have been filed. And many small businesses have never written an employee handbook to formally outline employment policies. If an employee is fired for an offense that is named in an employee handbook, he or she cannot collect unemployment.

Manheimer says that outsourcing payroll to a company that can process unemployment claims will save time and money when those claims are filed. She says ADP’s “win ratio” for employers is 83 percent; when small businesses with one to 49 employees process their own claims, the rate falls to 42 percent. “People go into business because they’re passionate about something, not because they want to deal with unemployment,” she says. “Let a professional handle it for you.”



“All of you in real estate are worried about losing money. Well, one of our panelists lost $750 million in one day.”

Andy Dorr, Assignment Downtown Council chair, during opening remarks at the council’s June event, “Developing Housing Downtown: What Will It Take?” Panelist Brad Baker of Bramar Development sits on the board of St. Petersburg-based treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration. Odyssey Marine was forced to return to the Spanish government $750 million in gold that it had recovered in a shipwreck.




The percentage of the 9.4 million U.S. small business owners who report incomes of more than $200,000 annually.

(These are the business owners who would be most affected by President Obama’s plan to increase taxes.)

Source: 2011 U.S. Treasury study

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