Washington State Enacts New Payroll Tax to Pay for Long Term Care

The state of Washington has enacted legislation that imposes a new payroll tax of .58% on all employee wages.  H.B. 1087, signed into law May 13, 2019, is effective July 28, 2019.  The tax is estimated to raise some $1 billion annually, which will be used to fund payments for long-term care insurance, up to $100 per day per beneficiary and up to 365 days.  

The money will cover costs currently not covered by Medicare, beginning in 2025.  Beneficiaries must be at least 18 years old and:

  • have paid into the program for three years within the last six, or
  • have paid into the program at least 10 years with at least five of those years being consecutive.

Employees who can demonstrate that they have long-term care insurance are exempt from the tax. 

The tax is controversial, with Republicans having unsuccessfully sought to have the tax go before voters for a November vote.

How This Impacts Mobility

Taxes will go up for many employees in Washington State, which will complicate gross-up calculations and transfer discussions for transferees to that state.  Employers will also have to reprogram systems to collect and remit the new tax.

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