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Employer UC & Tax Services

Important Information

UCMS Acceptable File Format Changes Effective January 1, 2020

The following changes will be implemented January 1, 2020:

  • ICESA files will now be accepted for both tax and wage reporting of original files. Currently, the ICESA file can only be used for wage reporting.
  • TAB and SSA file formats will no longer be accepted.
  • CSV files will require a Federal Identification Number (FEIN) in each E record AND contact information in the A Record.

Filers already have the ability to add the FEIN and contact information now; however, they will become required fields effective January 1, 2020.

The File Layouts and Formats for Electronic Reporting of PA Quarterly Unemployment Compensation Wage and Tax Data, form UC-2010, provides information on the acceptable file formats and specifications. After January 1, 2020, the UC-2010 will be updated to remove the unacceptable file formats and specifications. The UC-2010 can be found on the UC Management Page of the Employer UC Services section of the website or accessed by clicking on the link UC-2010 handbook.

For questions regarding the file specifications, contact the Office of UC Tax Services at 1-866-403-6163, option 2.

Coming Soon – UCMS Upgrades to a New Responsive Design

The Unemployment Compensation Management System (UCMS) will be undergoing a facelift! The department will be replacing the current portal technology with a more modern visual rendering of data on the screen. The modern technology includes functionality that will allow UCMS to have a responsive design. Responsive design means the screen layout will automatically adjust to the screen size on the device you are using. UCMS will be compatible with most electronic devices including smartphones and tablets.

One of the changes you will notice with the new design is a transition from Radio Buttons to Action Icons (Action Icons). The Action Icons reduce the number of clicks that a user needs to perform. If you are not sure what the Action Icon will do, you can simply hover over the Action Icon for information.

A pre-selected group of accounts and users will use the updated system during the 4th Quarter 2019 filing period. All other users will have the opportunity to preview the updated system after the 4th Quarter 2019 filing period is completed and before the updated system will be fully converted in late March 2020.

Taxable Wage Base and State Adjustment Factor

As part of the Act 60 amendments to the Pennsylvania UC Law, the taxable wage base for employer contributions increased each year from 2012 through 2018. At the same time, the maximum state adjustment factor decreased to 1.0% for 2013-2016 and was further reduced for 2017 and 2018 and thereafter. The following chart lists the taxable wage base and state adjustment factor amounts beginning 2012:

Calendar Year
Taxable Wage Base for
Employer Contributions
(per employee per year)
Maximum State
Adjustment Factor
2012 and prior
$8,000
1.5%
2013
$8,500
1.0%
2014
$8,750
1.0%
2015
$9,000
1.0%
2016
$9,500
1.0%
2017
$9,750
0.85%
2018 and thereafter
$10,000
0.75%

The following solvency measures are in effect for 2020:

Employer Taxes

A 5.4 percent (.054) Surcharge on employer contributions. The surcharge adjustment is computed by multiplying your basic rate by the 5.4 percent surcharge. The result is added to the basic rate. The surcharge adjustment does not apply to reimbursable employers.

A 0.50 percent (.0050) Additional Contributions. The additional contributions are added to your basic tax rate. The additional contributions do not apply to non-delinquent newly liable and reimbursable employers.

Interest Factor. Under Act 60 of 2012, the interest factor is used to fund the payment of bond obligations and interest on federal loans. It is added to the basic rate. The interest factor does not apply to non-delinquent newly liable employers and reimbursable employers. Also, it is neither credited to the employer's reserve account nor considered for federal certifications. The Interest Factor for 2020 is 0.00% effective January 1st, 2020.

Employee Contributions

A 0.06 percent (.0006) tax on employee gross wages, or 60 cents on each $1,000 paid. Employee withholding contributions are submitted with each quarterly report. Employee withholding applies to the total wages paid in 2020. It is not limited to the $10,000 taxable wage base for employer contributions. Failure to withhold or remit this employee tax could result in interest charges and may affect your contribution rate for subsequent years.

Benefit Reduction

A 2.4 percent (.024) Benefit Reduction. With few exceptions, the weekly UC benefit amount for all claimants will be reduced by 2.4 percent.

UC Taxation of Limited Liability Companies

For Pennsylvania unemployment compensation (UC) tax purposes, a limited liability company (LLC) may be an employing entity like any other form of business entity. An LLC must pay UC contributions on wages paid to its employees. Additional information is available here.

What Employers Need to Know:

 Has your business offered a job to an applicant who is receiving UC benefits, and the applicant refused the offer?

The department has created a new form, UC-1921W Employer Questionnaire Refuse Suitable Work, to assist employers to provide the required notification that suitable work was refused.

Be an active partner in helping to improve UC payment integrity. Notify the department within seven days of the offer by faxing form UC-1921W to 717-772-0378.

Save Money by Providing Accurate Information to Employees Who May File for UC Benefits

Form UC-1609 (Employer Information Form) can help your company save money by reducing inaccurate claims, and subsequently, inaccurate charges to your account associated with employees that leave your organization and file for unemployment compensation benefits. Complete the form and provide a copy to every employee who leaves your organization. This simple step could save your company time and money by providing accurate information for use when unemployment claims are filed by one of your employees. If wrong information is given on a claim, it can create delays that can lead to a wrong financial determination which could increase your tax rate and/or require extra time and energy on your part to correct.

*There is also a form available for your Spanish speaking employees Form UC-1609(ESP).