Frequently Asked Employer Tax Questions

The Rhode Island Department of Labor Employer Tax Unit is comprised of several units to ensure employers fulfill their responsibilities. The Accounts and Control Unit handles tax payments and reports, while the Status and Registration Unit manages employer accounts and updates. They also analyze past performance to determine tax rates. The Collections Unit tackles delinquent payments through various methods, including personal visits and legal action. Finally, the Field Audit Unit verifies wage reporting accuracy and assists businesses in complying with regulations.

Where can I find Rhode Island’s Employer Tax Rules and Regulations? 

Click here to visit employer tax rules and regulations.

Contact Information

Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Phone: (401) 574-8700

   for business registration, select option 1

   for accounts & control, option 2

   for wage record, option 3

   for collections, option 4

   for field audit, option 5

   for administration, option 6


Fax: (401) 574-8940

Mailing Address:       

RI Department of Labor and Training

Employer Tax Division

1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

If you are an unemployment insurance claimant and have a question, please call (401) 243-9100 or fill out online form requesting assistance:


Agency Email Phone
Technical Issues with Taxation's Self-Service Portal 401.574.8484
Taxation Self-Service Portal Help (PIN requests, setting up an online account, filing a return on the Portal or making a Portal payment) 401.574.8484
Audit & Investigation 401.574.8962
Compliance and Collections, including Letters of Good Standing 401.574.8941
Corporate Taxes, Bank Taxes, Insurance (Gross Premium and Surplus Line): 401.574.8935
Electronic Funds Transfer Program (Business Taxes)   401.574.8484
Estate Tax Questions 401.574.8829, option #8
Request a Tax Form 401.574.8970
Fraud - Special Investigation Unit Report Fraud link 401.574.TIPS
Non-Resident Withholding on the Sale of Real Estate or Withholding Tax (in general) 401.574.8829, option #4
Personal Income Tax, Taxpayer Assistance 401.574.8829, option #3
Business Registration 401.574.8938
Sales/Use; Motor Fuels; Cigarette/Tobacco Products 401.574.8955
Tax Administrator   401.574.8922
Withholding Tax 401.574.8941


Accounts and Control

The Accounts and Control Unit processes Quarterly Tax and Wage Reports (TX-17) for Employment Security, Temporary Disability Insurance, Job Development fund along with payments submitted by RI Employers.  

Payment can be made by:

A debit payment can be made while filing the current period tax filing on-line after banking information has been verified. Verification is a one-time, multi-day process. Credit card payments are not accepted at this time.

Taxpayers can sign into the Online Portal and your current individual tax rate will be displayed there.  If you do not already have an online account, we encourage you to create an account where you can also file Quarterly Tax and Wage Reports and make payments. Tax rate information will not be provided over the phone.

Yes, the ACH credit method is allowed. We accept only ONE payment for all 3 taxes, and you are required to file a Quarterly Tax and Wage Report (TX-17). Click here for the EFT Application form.

Quarterly taxes are due on the last day of the month following end of the quarter; January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31.

According to RI General Law § 28-43-8, the contribution rate for each employer for a given calendar year shall be determined and the employer notified of it not later than April 1 next succeeding each computation date. That determination shall be binding unless the employer appeals the rate,  in accordance with provisions of RI General Law §28-43-13.

The reports are mailed approximately 4 weeks prior to the due date; generally, the first week of January, April, July, and October.

Yes, even if you had no employees and paid no wages during the quarter, a report indicating that must be filed by the due date.

Click here visit the Employer Tax forms web page and click on the TX-17 form. TX-17’s are available for each year; select the correct year needed.

Prior quarter taxes must be faxed to (401)-574-8940 or mailed to Employer Tax Division at the RI Dept. of Labor and Training, 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920. Late filings cannot be processed on-line.

Based on the correction, you will need the following to correct a quarterly tax return:

For an increase in wages:

  • Letter of explanation
  • If reported to another State in error and should have been RI, a copy of the original filing for that State showing wages being reported for each employee impacted with the last name, first initial and full SSN.

For a decrease in wages:

  If reported to RI in error:

  • Letter of explanation
  • A copy of the amended returns that were filed to the correct state.
  • A signed TDI affidavit by the employee stating they were refunded the TDI money paid into RI OR a copy of the payroll journal showing the refund.

  Clerical error:

  • Letter of explanation
  • If TDI was affected, we will need a TDI affidavit or payroll journal
  • Copy of payroll records to match the amended returns

  Removing a Sole Proprietor or Partner

  • Letter of explanation
  • Proof of the Sole Proprietorship or Partnership
  • A signed TDI affidavit by the employee stating they were refunded the TDI money paid into RI OR a copy of the payroll journal showing the refund.

Once you have compiled the information above, please mail it to the RI Dept. of Labor and Training Employer Tax Division, 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920 or fax it to (401) 574-8940.


The prior three years or 12 quarters may be adjusted if previously filed.

Whenever an employer becomes liable for overdue contributions and is assessed interest and/or penalties for one or more taxable periods and partial payment is tendered and accepted by the Director, such payment will be applied in the following order:

  1. To penalties assessed due to the late filing of reports, or the late or non-payment of E.S. contributions.
  2. To interest assessed due to the late or non-payment of Employment Security (ES) contributions.
  3. To ES contributions outstanding.
  4. To penalties assessed due to the late filing of reports, or the late or non-payment of TDI contributions.
  5. To interest assessed due to the late or non-payment of TDI contributions.
  6. To TDI contributions outstanding.
  7. To penalties assessed due to the late or non-payment of Job Dev. Fund (JDF) contributions.
  8. To interest assessed due to the late or non-payment of JDF contributions.
  9. To JDF contributions outstanding.

Whenever contributions, penalties and/or interest are due for more than one taxable period the earliest period will be paid in full, in the order specified above before monies are applied to the next earliest period. RI General Law § 28-43-3. Employer’s accounts — Credits and charges.

No. The law does not grant the department discretionary power to waive penalties, so the penalty must stand. RI General Law § 28-43-15; Interest on delinquent payments.

Employers who fail to file quarterly tax reports and make contributions by the due date will be assessed interest at the rate of 1.5% per month and penalties of $25.00 for failure to file quarterly tax reports and 10% of taxes due for failure to make contributions to each fund.

Employers who fail to file quarterly wage information by the due date shall pay a penalty of $25.00 for each such failure or refusal to file. An additional penalty of $25.00 shall be assessed for each month the report is delinquent; provided, however, that the foregoing penalty shall not exceed $200.00 for any one report.

Once the taxes due are paid in full, if you feel the late payment is due to no fault of your own, you can request a waiver of penalty and interest in writing to the RI Dept. of Labor and Training Employer Tax Division, 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920.

No. The law is as follows

RI General Law §28-40-4 states that if an employer fails to deduct the contributions of any of his or her employees at the time their wages are paid or fails to make a deduction for the contributions at the time wages are paid for the next succeeding payroll period, he or she alone will thereafter be liable for those contributions, and, for the purposes of §§ 28-39-23 – 28-39-32 and 28-40-9 – 28-40-16 those contributions are treated as employers' contributions required from him or her.

Employers and anyone who files on behalf of employers (example: payroll service providers) with 25 or more employees on their payroll are required to submit their wage data electronically. For more information on filing wage reports electronically call (401)574-8700, Option 3. Click here for the Employer’s Guide to filing Electronically

E = Employment Security; T = Temporary Disability Insurance and J = Job Development Fund.

No. Employee contributions to retirement plans, such as 401K plans, medical insurance or disability insurance plans and Section 125 cafeteria plans are excluded from the definition of wages under the RI Employment Security and Temporary Disability Insurance Acts and should not be included as either total or taxable wages.

An employee who earns more than the TDI taxable wage base from two or more employers must fill out the TX-16 form which can be found on the Employer Tax Forms webpage and mail it to the Employer Tax Division at 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston RI 02920.

Status and Registration Unit

The Status and Registration Unit processes all the non-financial transactions relating to employer’s Unemployment Tax accounts. This includes registering businesses to pay unemployment tax, terminating businesses that no longer have payroll, and making any necessary updates to employer accounts. The Status Unit reviews the experience rating history and unemployment rates assigned to employers.  In addition, wage records that are submitted by employers are processed by the Status Unit.  

Contact the Employer Registration Unit at (401) 574-8700, Option 1. You will need the business name, address, and Federal ID number to obtain this information.

You need to complete and submit the BAR form, which can be found online at Print the pdf version of the BAR first to be certain you have the proper information ready to file out the electronic form.

The liability date is the first date wages were paid in Rhode Island by the employer. The employer’s unemployment account cannot be set up before this date and as a result the employer Account Number cannot be provided until the date of liability.

Only companies or individuals who have hired someone as an employee must register with this department. Sole proprietors or partnerships who do not have any workers other than themselves do not need to register.

In accordance with RI General Laws § 28-42-4, § 28-42-5, and § 28-42-6, wages for services performed within RI or both within and outside RI are to be reported to Rhode Island if the service is localized in Rhode Island, i.e.,

  1. The service is performed entirely within Rhode Island, or
  2. The service is performed both within and without Rhode Island, but the service performed without Rhode Island is incidental to the individual's service within Rhode Island, for example, is temporary or transitory in nature or consists of isolated transactions.

If the service is not localized to Rhode Island or any other State, then wages for service performed within, or both within and without Rhode Island, are reported to Rhode Island if some of the service is performed Rhode Island and….

  1. The individual's base of operation is in Rhode Island; or
  2. If there is no base of operations in Rhode Island, then the place from which the individual's service is directed or controlled is in Rhode Island; or
  3. The individual's base of operations or place from which the service is directed or controlled is not in any state in which some part of the service is performed, but the individual's residence is in Rhode Island.

The objective is for all services performed by an individual for a single employer to be covered under one state law. If an individual's wages cannot be reported to a single state under the conditions outlined above, an employer may elect to report an employee to a single state through a Reciprocal Coverage Agreement between states. Click here to read the Localization of Work Provisions – Principles for Determining Where Wages Should Be Reported When Work is Performed Entirely in One State or in a Number of Different States letter. For additional information, contact the Employer Tax Section (401)574-8700, Option 2.

No, according to RI General Law § 28-42-8 spouses are exempt under the law, as are minor children under the age of 18 who work at the family business.

RI General Law § 28-42-8 exempts certain types of workers from both UI and TDI coverage. Examples include:

  •  An owner of a business who is the sole proprietor or married to the sole proprietor.
  • Children under the age of 18 who are working for their parent who is sole proprietor of a business.
  • Parents working for their child who is the sole proprietor of a business.
  • Partners in a business operating as a partnership.
  • Students working at a school, college, or a university where they are enrolled and regularly attending classes.
    • Students enrolled in nonprofit or public schools with regular faculties and curriculums, and who are in accredited, full-time programs combining academic instruction with work experience. Schools must certify to the employer that such employment is an integral part of the academic program.
    • NOTE: Employers who are subject to the Employment Security and Temporary Disability Insurance Acts are required to report employment and to pay contributions on any taxable wages earned by students.
  • A licensed real estate salesperson who is paid entirely on commission.
  • Insurance brokers, agents, sub-agents (other than industrial or debit agents) paid entirely on commission.
  • Employees of a church, church convention, or association of churches, or in a religious organization which is operated, supervised, controlled, and principally supported by a church or association of churches.
  • Duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers of churches in the exercise of their ministries, or members of religious orders in the exercise of duties required by such orders.
  • The operating crew of a fishing boat with a normal crew of less than ten persons whose sole remuneration is a share of the catch.
  • Workers performing services as members of an Americorp program.

Exemptions from TDI Only:

  • Workers whose religion depends on prayer or other spiritual means for healing may refuse TDI coverage by filing an affidavit with the Director of the Employer Tax unit, RI Division of Taxation, and their employer. No deductions will be made from their salary for TDI.

    (RI General Law § 28-40-2)
  • Minors 14 or 15 years of age are exempt from the provisions of the TDI regulations. No deductions should be made from their salary for TDI. They are covered for Unemployment Insurance. (RI General Law § 28-40-2.1)
  • Disabled persons employed through a “supported employment” program may elect exemption. (RI General Law § 28-40-2.2)
  • State and local government employees unless their employers elect to have them covered.

    (RI General Law § 28-39-3, § 28-39-3.1, § 28-39-3.2, and § 28-39-3.3)

Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are taxed for RI Employer Tax purposes according to their filing status with the IRS. Members of an LLC will be treated for RI Employer Tax purposes as partners of a partnership if the LLC qualifies as and elects to be a partnership for federal income tax purposes. An LLC may elect if it qualifies to be taxed for federal income tax purposes as a corporation, and any remuneration to members will be reportable and taxable for RI Employer Tax purposes. A single member, who is an individual, who elects to be taxed for federal income tax purposes as a sole proprietor will be treated as a sole proprietor for RI Employer Tax purposes. If the single member of an LLC or the members of an LLC partnership are corporations, any remuneration to corporate officers will be reportable and taxable for RI Employer Tax purposes.

Sole Owner – Owner

Partnership – Partner

Corporation – CEO / President

LLC – Sole Proprietor – Owner

LLC – Partnership – Managing Partner (physical)

LLC – Corporation – CEO / President

Employers of domestic workers who have paid $1,000 or more in total cash wages in any calendar quarter are subject to the Employment Security and Temporary Disability Insurance acts.  For more information on this read RI General Law § 28-42-8 - Exemptions from “employment.”

The State of RI for UI and TDI tax purposes does NOT recognize a PEO as the employer of the individual working for the client company. The employee must be reported under the client company's account number. Similarly, the State does NOT recognize PEOs and related corporations or companies reporting all payroll under one account). Although the federal government does allow common paymasters, RI Quarterly Tax and Wage Report filers must report each entity under its own number. A company may not include wages from several entities under one account. Read RI Gen. Laws § 5-75-2 - Professional Employer Organizations Act of 2004 for more information.

The employer’s mailing address should be the address of the business. The box that asks for the actual Rhode Island location should be the employee’s home address.

You must file a TX-13 form with this office. Click here to open the employer tax forms webpage and click on the TX-13. Once the form is filed out, it can be mailed to the Employer Tax Division at 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920 or faxed to (401) 574-8940.

Yes, in accordance with RI General Law § 28-43-5.1, any employer with an assigned experience rating, who has filed all reports required and has paid all contributions, interest, and penalties may make a voluntary contribution to his or her account. Voluntary contributions shall be paid not later than 30 days after the date on which the department has issued a notice of the employer’s experience rate, or prior to the expiration of 120 days after the start of the calendar year, for which the experience rate is effective, whichever is earlier.

RI General Law § 28-43-10 explains the application of a predecessor’s payroll record to a successor employer’s account.

Collections Unit

The Collections Unit is responsible for collecting delinquent taxes and enforcing the tax provisions of the Employment Security Act. Revenue officers contact employers who either have not filed or have filed but have an outstanding balance of $500.00 or more. Revenue Officers will contact employers by telephone, written correspondence, and personal visits. In some instances, formal payment agreements are negotiated with employers.

Employers who refuse to pay delinquent taxes are sent a Notice to Appear letter to show cause why legal action should not be taken against them. They are also notified of intent to file tax liens.  

Visit the Department of Taxation Letter of Good Standing web page; you can file the request online or by mail. If you choose to mail your request, send it to the address below along with a $50.00 fee, all required information and any amount due with checks or money orders made payable to the RI Division of Taxation. Mail to:

Letter of Good Standing

Compliance & Collections

Rhode Island Division of Taxation

One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908

If you owe more than $500.00, contact the Collections Department at (401) 574-8700 Option #4.  If possible, a payment agreement may be negotiated.

Contact the Collections Department at (401) 574-8700 Option #4.

Rhode Island General Law § 28-43-20

As stated in the letter you’ve received, you should appear at 1511 Pontiac Avenue Cranston, RI 02920 on the date and time listed.  The contact information for the Revenue Officer handling your case is  also in the letter.  

Field Audit Unit

The Field Audit performs audits in accordance with Federal requirements to ensure compliance among employers, promote an open dialogue between the department and the company, answer questions, provide helpful tips and guidance, and to help foster a healthy and successful business community within Rhode Island. Most audits performed each year are random. The purpose of these audits is to verify that accurate wages are reported for workers and that all workers are properly classified.

Most employers selected for an audit are randomly chosen from a list containing all employers covered under Rhode Island Unemployment Insurance (UI) law. Other reasons for being selected for audit include:

  • Tips from the public (See FAQ on reporting worker misclassification to learn how to submit a tip)
  • Statistical data
  • Employer filing data and filing behavior (identification of anomalies)
  • Unemployment benefit claims
  • Federal data
  • Information sharing programs with other states and state agencies
  • Collection items

Under RI General Law 28-42-38, all RI employers are required to provide records to field auditors upon request. The law also states that those records must be made available in Rhode Island.

UI audits are performed to verify that all wages have been reported correctly and that all taxable wages have been computed correctly. If you are not currently registered with Employer Tax, an audit may be conducted to determine if you should be a covered employer for UI purposes and registered with Employer Tax. Another main purpose of a UI audit is to investigate worker misclassification, which is why the auditor also requests records other than payroll records. The most common types of worker misclassification involve payment for casual and contract labor, commissions, compensation to corporate officers and independent contractors.  The auditor will review your records to make sure that your payroll is classified correctly. The auditor can also answer any questions you may have regarding UI law as it is related to reporting individuals.

The auditor will confirm that during the audit

The length of time to perform an audit varies significantly from employer to employer, depending primarily on the size of the employer, the condition of the employer’s records, the number of problems encountered, and the cooperation of the employer or their designated representative. Most audits performed on small-to-medium-sized employers (1-50 employees) are completed within a day or two. If you are a larger employer, the audit may take considerably longer. The auditor will best be able to answer this question for you once they start the audit.

Once an audit is completed, the auditor will have a post-audit discussion with the employer or their representative and will explain to them the audit results. Approximately 1-2 weeks later, the employer will receive a letter from the Chief of Employer Tax informing them that the audit findings will become final unless the employer files an appeal in writing within 15 days of the letter. The appeal is to be filed with the Board of Review, Department of Labor and Training, Center General, 41 West Road, Hazard Building #74, Cranston, RI 02920. Once the Board of Review receives the appeal in writing, it will be forwarded to the field audit supervisor in Employer Tax. The supervisor will then contact the employer and attempt to resolve the issue at that time. If it is not possible to resolve the issue at that time, then the supervisor will contact the Board of Review to move forward with the formal appeal process. The Board of Review will them provide both Employer Tax and the employer with a date and time to appear. Both parties will present their arguments at that time and the Board of Review will eventually render a decision to both parties by mail. 

The misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a serious problem in Rhode Island and across the country. Employee misclassification is a problem because when employers misclassify workers:

  • They avoid paying many state and federal taxes
  • They avoid providing workers compensation coverage for their employees
  • They may fail to follow wage, contractor registration or other labor laws
  • They have a competitive advantage and may underprice legitimate employers

The Federal Government Accountability Office reports that the underpayment of unemployment, Social Security, income taxes, and workers' compensation are exceeding billions of dollars federally and millions of dollars at the state level.

Rhode Island employers must generally withhold state and federal income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment taxes on wages paid to employees. They must also pay Workers' Compensation premiums on the employees.

An employee is anyone performing service for an employer who controls what will be done and how it will be done by the worker. Independent Contractors have an independent trade, business, or profession. Their services are offered to the public and they have the right to control the means and methods of how the work is performed.

To report misclassification, fill out the form provided by clicking the link below.

The completed form can be emailed to