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Unemployment Insurance Information


         What is Unemployment Insurance?

         Who Must Pay?

         Unemployment Insurance Rates

         Tax Rate Schedule for 2021

         Taxable Wage Base

         Experience Record

         Transfer of Experience Record

         How Do I Control My Costs?

         Independent Contractor Criteria

         Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ'S)

         Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS)

         Nevada Administrative Code (NAC)

         Alternate Base Period


What is Unemployment Insurance? 

Unemployment Insurance is a Federal/State insurance system established to protect workers by paying benefits during periods of involuntary unemployment and aid the business community by stabilizing the available work force. The system is funded through payroll taxes on employers.

Who Must Pay?

Generally, any employing unit that has paid wages for employment in Nevada of $225 or more during any calendar quarter must register with the Employment Security Division, and pay taxes on those wages.

In general, an "employing unit" means any individual or type of organization, including any partnership, association, trust, estate, joint-stock company, insurance company, corporation, or a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy.

"Employment" means service, including service in interstate commerce, performed for wages or under any contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied.

Unemployment Insurance Rates:

Employers starting a new business in Nevada must pay unemployment insurance (UI) tax at a rate of 2.95 percent (.0295) of wages paid to each employee up to the taxable wage limit. The employer retains this rate for a period of 14 to 17 calendar quarters (depending on the quarter in which he becomes subject to the law), after which his rate will be determined under the "Experience Rating" system. There is an additional .05 percent (.0005) tax for the Career Enhancement Program (CEP).

Tax Rate Schedule 2021:

The administrator, by regulation, establishes a reserve ration schedule to apply to each of the tax rates for each calendar year. Following is the tax rate schedule for 2021.

When Reserve Ratio is 
At Least  But Less Than  UI Rate 
14.60  9999999.999  0.25 
13.00  14.60  0.55 
11.40  13.00  0.85 
9.80  11.40  1.15 
8.20  9.80  1.45 
6.60  8.20  1.75 
5.00  6.60  2.05 
3.40  5.00  2.35 
1.80  3.40  2.65 
0.20  1.80  2.95 
-1.40  0.20  3.25 
-3.00  -1.40  3.55 
-4.60  -3.00  3.85 
-6.20  -4.60  4.15 
-7.80  -6.20  4.45 
-9.40  -7.80  4.75 
-11.00  -9.40  5.05 
-9999999.99  -11.00  5.40 

Taxable Wage Base:

Employers are taxed on wages paid to each employee up to the taxable wage base in effect during a calendar year. The tax base is calculated annually, and is equal to 66 2/3 percent of the average annual wage for Nevada employees. Although the total wages paid to each employee must be reported to the division each quarter, any wages paid to an individual which exceed the taxable wage base during the calendar year are not taxed. The taxable wage base is as follows:










Experience Record:

Once an employer becomes eligible for "experience rating," he will receive one of 18 unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates, ranging from .25 percent to 5.40 percent of taxable wages. Each employer's tax rate may vary from year to year, depending on previous experience with unemployment and the rate schedule in effect.

Nevada uses the "Reserve Ratio" formula to determine previous experience, which is the method used by a majority of the states. The Employment Security Division maintains a permanent "Experience Record" for each employer, consisting of accumulated taxes paid, accumulated benefits charged to his account, and average taxable payroll for the prior 3 years. Each year, the employer's reserve ratio is calculated from his experience record to determine his tax rate under the schedule in effect. Generally, the higher the reserve ratio, the lower the employer's tax rate will be.

Reserve Ratio Formula

Contributions Paid - Benefits Charged
Average Taxable Payroll, Prior 3 years
Reserve Ratio

$10,000 - $6,000 = .10, or 10.0% Reserve Ratio



Transfer of Experience Record:

If an employer purchases a Nevada business, the experience record of the seller may be transferred to the buyer upon mutual written consent. The purchaser must notify the Employment Security Division within 90 days after the acquisition, and the joint application to transfer must be submitted within one year after the date of issuance by the division of the official notice of eligibility to transfer. 

Until the transfer of the experience record is completed by the division, the unemployment insurance rate will be 2.95 percent (.0295) of the taxable wages. If this results in an overpayment, the employer account will be credited, or a refund may be requested.

How Do I Control My Costs?

There are a number of things you can do to help control your costs, all of which impact your "reserve ratio" or the unemployment insurance trust fund. Generally, the higher your reserve ratio, the lower your taxes will be:

        Pay your taxes on time. This is a factor used in your "reserve ratio" calculation. (Timely payment also ensures full credit against your Federal Unemployment Tax.)

       Respond to division notices timely, honestly, and accurately. Whether benefits are paid, and how much, are often determined by employer responses. Without sufficient facts, the division must act on whatever information is available. Benefits paid in error will likely impact your future tax rates.

        If you feel a determination form the division is in error, file a timely appeal and attend all hearings.

      Review your benefit charges and tax rate notices carefully for errors.

       Keep accurate, written personnel records of your employee's performance and conduct. Be particularly specific when responding to the division regarding reasons for separations.

      Offer job openings to unemployed workers, if possible. This reduces overall cost and possibly your individual tax rate. Take advantage of our free services at Job Connect offices located statewide.

         Avoid layoffs whenever feasible. Workers could possibly be used temporarily in a part-time position or in some other capacity. Contact other employers in your industry for possible job openings.

        Notify the division if an unemployed claimant refuses suitable work, or any other instance you think an individual is abusing the system

Independent Contractor Criteria:

Nevada Unemployment Compensation Law does not define "independent contractor." It uses what is commonly referred to as the "ABC" test. This test is unique to the Unemployment Compensation Program. Unless otherwise specifically excluded, payment for personal services is deemed subject to unemployment taxes unless the following conditions are met. All three conditions must be met in fact; a written contract alone is not sufficient. The burden of proof rests upon the employer to demonstrate the existence of these conditions:

A.      The person has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of the services, both under his contract of service and in fact; and

B.      The service is either outside the usual course of the business for which the service is performed or that the service is performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which the service is performed; and

C.      The service is performed in the course of an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business in which the person is customarily engaged, of the same nature as that involved in the contract of service.

If you cannot demonstrate the above conditions, the person is an employee. A written contract, in itself, does not establish "independent contractor" status. If in doubt, contact the Contributions Section for a ruling.

Alternative Base Period

State legislation has been signed into law by Governor Jim Gibbons, which will ensure the State of Nevada receives federal benefits available for unemployment compensation pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The change to Nevada Revised Statute 612.025 adapts an alternate base period for determining entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits.  A standard base period for a benefit claim is defined as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters.  If a claimant is monetarily ineligible under a standard base period, the law change allows wages paid in the most recently completed calendar quarter to be considered for determining entitlement.  Therefore, the most recently completed four calendar quarters will be used as the "alternate base period."

The impact of the law change for Nevada employers is that you may be asked to provide wage information for a specific former employee, for the most recently completed quarter, prior to the usual quarterly reporting due dates.

Note: Even if you supply wage information "early" for an alternate base period, you must report that same information when you file and pay your quarterly unemployment insurance tax report.

If wage information is needed prior to the usual due date for the Employer's Quarterly Contribution and Wage Report, you will receive a request to provide the total amount of gross wages and any tips paid during the most recently completed quarter.  The most likely months in which additional requests will be necessary are the months prior to each reporting cycle:

January - wages for the 4th quarter, prior to January 31 due date

April - wages for the 1st quarter, prior to April 30 due date

July - wages for 2nd quarter, prior to July 31 due date

October - wages for the 3rd quarter, prior to October 31 due date

Your timely cooperation in supplying wage information, if requested, is important.  The quarterly wages are necessary to determine a person's entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits and, if claimant is eligible, will allow the benefits to begin without delay.