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Business owners to pay a higher reemployment tax in 2021

The Florida Chamber of Commerce said business owners should be notified of their new rates in December.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Florida business owners will see a higher tax in 2021, the Florida Chamber of Commerce said.

“This could have a significant impact on a business’ finances,” said Carolyn Johnson, director of business and economic development at the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Johnson said the reemployment tax paid by Florida businesses will increase to replenish the Florida Unemployment Trust Fund.

In 2020, businesses paying the minimum reemployment tax paid $7 per employee.

In 2021, the Florida Department of Revenue estimates businesses will pay a minimum of $20.30 per employee.

Johnson said different factors go into a business' reemployment tax rate, such as if it laid off any employees in the last three years.

Johnson said that can really add up for businesses with a lot of employees.

“That coupled with the minimum wage increase in September 2021, there’s just a lot of extra expenses and challenges for businesses right now,” Johnson said.

Since March 15, the Department of Economic Opportunity said it's paid more than $19 billion in unemployment benefits.

A lot of that money came from the federal government through the CARES Act, but the remaining $3.7 billion came out of Florida’s unemployment trust fund.

“There’s a trigger mechanism,” Johnson said. “And once the trust fund hits a certain ratio, a positive adjustment factor gets calculated to increase the tax to replenish the unemployment trust fund.”

The trust fund held more than $4 billion in March. Now, it holds almost $800 million.

Bobby Handmaker, owner of Cruiser’s Grill, said this year has brought a lot of extra expenses, but when it comes to paying the reemployment tax, he’s grateful to help.

Handmaker said the reemployment tax keeps his employees safe if something happened to the business. He said every penny is worth their security.

“We’re all in it together,” Handmaker said. “We’re in this virus together. We’re all in this recovery together, and that’s where we are right now. Getting from today to tomorrow.”

Johnson said the increase to a minimum of $20.30 per employee is a moderate increase, and there may be an even greater increase down the road.