Wipfli logo
Insights - Articles, Blogs and on-demand webcasts

Articles & E-Books


Wisconsin UI reimbursable employers must apply for relief from COVID-19 charging by February 19

Feb 03, 2021

Qualifying Wisconsin employers who have elected to be treated as a reimbursable employer for unemployment purposes may need to act quickly to secure relief of charges against their account. 

If you are a reimbursable employer in Wisconsin, you should:

  1. Determine if you have employees laid off due to the public health emergency declared by Executive Order 72 who filed initial unemployment claims after May 16, 2020.
  2. Complete form UCB-18823-E for applicable employees and submit it via encrypted email to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development within 30 days after the initial claim or no later than February 19, 2021. Click here to access the form.
  3. Review the guidance issued by Wisconsin on the appropriate payment of benefit charges in the interim while Wisconsin is in the process of updating its systems to ensure payments are made appropriately.

What else reimbursable employers need to know

In Wisconsin, governmental units, certain nonprofit organizations, and tribes can choose between the tax and reimbursement methods of financing unemployment benefit costs. (Only nonprofit organizations with a ruling of an IRS Code 501(c)(3) status can elect reimbursement financing.) 

Tax financing employers pay a quarterly unemployment tax on the wages paid to their employees. Reimbursement financing employers do not pay a quarterly tax, although they must still file the quarterly tax and wage reports. Instead, they reimburse the department for 100% of the unemployment benefits charged to their account.

Wisconsin is providing reimbursable employers whose employees received unemployment benefits as a result of the public health emergency declared by Executive Order 72 an opportunity to recover amounts charged against their accounts for initial unemployment claims for weeks after May 16, 2020.  The application for relief is time sensitive, requiring filings no later than February 19, 2021. 

The information below addresses benefit claims for two time periods: those between March 15 and May 16, 2020, and those after May 16, 2020.

The CARES Act provides federal funds to states to reduce by half the liability of reimbursable employers for their claims through December 26, 2020. Under 2019 Act 185, the state will reimburse the remaining half from the Department of Workforce Development's interest and penalties account for benefit charges for initial claims related to the public health emergency declared by Executive Order 72.

Previously, the U.S. Department of Labor determined that employers subject to reimbursable financing must first pay the benefit charges due to the state in full before the federal government will reimburse those amounts. However, due to a new federal law, employers subject to reimbursable financing do not need to pay the state before the federal government will reimburse employers.

Reimbursable employer bills will continue to include 100% of all charges to employer accounts because the billing system has not yet been updated. At this time, reimbursable employers should pay none of the benefit charges for initial claims related to the public health emergency declared by Executive Order 72. They should pay 50% of benefit charges for initial claims that are unrelated to the public health emergency declared by Executive Order 72.

Once Wisconsin’s system is updated to reflect correct benefit charging, employer accounts will be updated. This may take many months to complete for all employers.

To request relief of charging under Act 185 for any initial claims filed by employees for weeks of benefits filed after May 16, 2020, please visit the DWD’s website and follow the instructions to complete and submit the form.

You are not required to file the UCB-18823-E Relief of Charging Due To Public Health Emergency form in order to receive charging relief for employees laid off and filing initial claims during the weeks of the Governor's Executive Order 72, March 15 to May 16, 2020.

If you have any questions about the above information, contact us for assistance. Visit our COVID-19 resource center for more resources to help your organization navigate the impact of the pandemic, from tax information to cybersecurity to workforce management.


Linda J. Feirn, CPA
Tax Partner
View Profile