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New company registration in Washington

Washington Tax Agencies

  • Washington Department of Revenue - business license
  • Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) - unemployment tax
  • Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) - Worker’s Compensation

Register a new company

  1. File for a business license application with the state of Washington.
  2. The Department of Revenue will process your application and notify L&I to open a workers' compensation account and the Employment Security Department (ESD) to open an unemployment insurance account.
  3. You'll receive a letter from your new Workers' Comp account manager, and a packet of information which you'll need to retain that includes:
  • Your Unified Business Identification (UBI)
  • Your ES (Employment Security) Account Number
  • Your Workers' Comp Account ID
  • Your Participant Activation Code (PAC)
  • Your State Unemployment and Employment Administration Fund rate

This will be sent to you 10 days after registering online, or within 6 weeks if registering by mail.

Both the Department of Revenue and Washington L&I issue PAC codes. The PAC code we need will be issued by Washington L&I.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Workers' Compensation Insurance protects and covers your business against injuries and illness that could occur as a direct result of the work done while your employees are on the job. Washington requires that employers get their coverage through a state-operated fund. Gusto will pay this insurance premium on your behalf to the state. Once you have completed the registration process above, you can find the rates assigned to you online:

  1. Visit the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries website here.
  2. Select to search by your company name, Workers' Comp account number, or WA UBI number and enter the information.
  3. Choose on your company name from the list of results.
  4. Click Workers' Comp Rates.
  5. Find your Risk Classification, Composite Rate (Hourly Rate) and Employee Deduction (Employee Withholding).
  6. Enter the information into Gusto and you're all set! 


If you are viewing your rates from the WA Workers' Compensation Rate Notice, make sure to input the Total Hourly Rate (combined Hourly Employer Contribution + Hourly Employee Withholding) as the Hourly Rate, and the Hourly Employee Withholding as the Employee Withholding.


If you're running your business as a sole proprietorship or other business type without employees (owners only), you have the choice of not purchasing workers' comp insurance.


Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML)


Effective January 1, 2019, premium collection began for Washington’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits (benefits will be offered to workers starting January 1, 2020). The total premium amount due for employees each year is 0.4% (up to the Social Security cap) made up of both employee and company contributions. 

Gusto now supports the employee premium collection (about 0.25%) on all 2019 payrolls. Employer contribution requirements vary based on company size and the contributions (about 0.15%) will be collected at the end of Q1 2019 for companies with 50 or more employees, and for smaller companies that opt to voluntarily pay the employer contributions. 

Gusto will report and pay PFML premiums for all Washington employers. Currently, no new account number is needed by WA ESD, however the agency is still finalizing the payment and filing process for payroll providers. If any new information is needed, we'll reach out to collect this from customers.

Click here for more information about PFML.