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Do I have to pay taxes on Paid Leave benefits?

Unfortunately, we don’t know whether the IRS will consider your Paid Leave benefits “taxable income.” We asked them to tell us so that we could provide customers with the right information, but they declined our request.

We understand that puts customers in a confusing situation and we’re sorry. But without specific guidance from the IRS, we can’t provide more information or detail to you. Our best and only recommendation is that you consult a tax professional for advice.

Why did Paid Leave issue 1099-G tax forms to customers?

Since the IRS has not given us an answer on whether your Paid Leave benefits are taxable, we decided to issue a 1099-G form to all customers who received family leave benefits in 2020 so that you have all the information you need no matter what the IRS ultimately decides. However, how you as an individual report this income for tax purposes is up to you and your tax professional, and we cannot provide you with any tax advice or additional guidance.

We mailed the forms beginning January 22 and all customers who will receive one should have it before the end of the month.

Will everyone who received Paid Leave benefits in 2020 get a 1099-G?

No. We only issued 1099-G forms to customers who received family leave benefits in 2020. Family leave includes leave to bond with a new child born or placed in your home and leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

If you received both family and medical leave in 2020, your 1099-G will only include the family leave portion.

Why did Paid Leave provide 1099s for family leave but not medical leave benefits?

While the IRS declined to give us guidance on the taxability of Paid Leave benefits in Washington, based on what we’ve learned from other states with similar programs, we think it is likely that family leave benefits could be taxable and medical leave benefits would not. That is why we chose to provide 1099s for family leave only.

Where will you send my 1099-G?

We mailed the form to the address we had on file for you in January. Please note that the U.S. Postal Service will forward your 1099-G if they have a change of address on file for you.

 

What does the information on the form mean?

The 1099-Gs issued by Paid Leave show:

  • Our agency contact information (below) and Tax Identification Number (85-4113810) in the “Payer” box.
    • State of Washington Employment Security Department
      Paid Family and Medical Leave
      PO BOX 9046
      Olympia, WA 98507-9046
  • Customer name, SSN and address in the “Payee” box.
  • Paid Leave Customer ID in the “Account Number” field.
  • The amount of family leave benefits you received in 2020 in “Box 1.”

What do I do if I disagree with the amount listed on the form?

The benefit amount listed on the form reflects your family leave payments between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. If you also received medical leave benefits, those will not be included in the total amount listed on the form.

Any changes made to your payments after December 31, 2020 will not be reflected, and we will not be issuing corrected forms. If you choose to report your benefits on your taxes, you should work with a tax provider to decide what other records you may be able to provide to document the family leave benefits you received.

What information did Paid Leave send to the IRS?

We are required to submit details to the IRS in their standard template for 1099-G information which includes your name, SSN, address, and the dollar amount of the family leave benefits we paid to you in 2020.

Why did I receive two 1099-Gs from Employment Security Department?

If you received benefits from more than one program, like from Paid Leave and from Unemployment Insurance, you may have gotten more than one 1099-G. You can tell which form is for which program by looking at the Payer Information section of the form which will list either Paid Family and Medical Leave or Unemployment Insurance. For questions about your Unemployment Insurance 1099-G, visit esd.wa.gov/unemployment/1099-G-information.

What do I do if I haven’t received my 1099?

If you received family leave benefits in 2020 and haven’t gotten or lost your form, we can send you a duplicate copy on request.

  1. First, log-in to your Paid Leave benefit account and confirm both your email and mailing addresses are up-to-date. If not, update by clicking “Update Contact Information” in the box labeled “Take Action” on your homepage.
  2. Then, send an email to paidleave@esd.wa.gov with the subject line “Duplicate copy of 1099-G.” If possible, send the email from the email address listed in your Paid Leave benefit account contact information—this will help us respond to your request much faster.

Please note, only customers who received family leave benefits in 2020 will get a 1099-G. 

  • If you only received medical leave benefits, we did not send a 1099-G to you.
  • If you received both family and medical leave benefits, only the family leave portion is included on your 1099-G.

I want a 1099-G for medical leave benefits. How do I request one?

We will not be providing 1099-G forms for medical leave benefits.

How much money will I receive?

We will determine your weekly benefit amount based on wages reported by your employer(s). The maximum weekly benefit amount for claims that began in 2020 (even if the claim continues into 2021) is $1,000 per week. The minimum is $100 (unless you make less than an average of $100 per week, then you will receive your full wage). The maximum weekly benefit amount for claim years that begin in 2021 is $1,206. Claim years are set upon the application date of the first approved benefit claim. You may receive up to 90 percent of your average weekly wage, depending on your income. A calculator to estimate your benefit payment is available at paidleave.wa.gov/estimate-your-weekly-pay.

What is a wage? Or what are considered wages?

For Paid Leave reporting, wages are an employee’s gross wages (including paid time off), minus tips.

How is my benefit amount determined?

Your employer(s) have been reporting how many hours you’ve worked and the wages you earned since Jan. 1, 2019. We use the hours reported to determine if you’ve met the minimum 820 hours for eligibility, and the wages reported to know how much your benefit payments will be. If you have more than one job, we add all the hours reported for you from all your employers that are required to report. During the online application process, you’ll be able to see what your employer(s) reported for you and tell us if what they reported isn’t correct. If you are applying on paper, follow the instructions that come with your paper application.

Will I always receive the same amount?

Your benefit payment may vary from week to week if you are not claiming the full week, if you worked or took paid time off, or if it’s the first or last week of your claim.

How do I get paid?

If you apply online, you can choose to be paid via direct deposit or a prepaid debit card. If you apply on paper, you can only receive a prepaid debit card at this time. It is your responsibility to keep your banking information current and update this information through your online account. If you have questions about your prepaid card, please review the bank disclosures you received when you applied or contact the bank’s customer support team at 888-964-0359.