Colorado Unemployment Insurance (SUTA/SUI)

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Who must pay Colorado unemployment insurance (UI) premiums? 

Employers that paid wages in Colorado of at least $1,500 in a calendar quarter in the current or prior year, or any business that employed at least one employee for 20 weeks during the current or prior year are subject to unemployment insurance (UI) premiums and reporting. Some exceptions are made for for religious, 501(c)(3) organizations, agricultural, and household employers.

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How is my Colorado UI premium calculated?

The Colorado Department of Labor & Unemployment calculates UI premiums annually by multiplying each employee's chargeable wages and the employer's combined UI rate. In 2021, the chargeable wage limit in Colorado is $13,600; all wages over that amount are considered excess wages.

For example, if your UI combined rate is 1.7%, you would pay no more than $222.70 per employee (0.017 UI rate x $13,100 in wages).

There are several factors that affect UI premiums. For help calculating your UI premium, download this spreadsheet from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment.

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When do I pay my UI premium?

Employers subject to the tax are required to report their wages and pay associated premiums quarterly. If you are an ASAP Accounting & Payroll client, please do not attempt to report your wages as this is a payroll return that ASAP files on your behalf.  With each payroll, ASAP calculates your state UI expense for you and will initiate the filing on your behalf.                   

Note: Employers that have registered with MyUI Employer online may receive email notices alerting them to file/pay; others still may be receiving paper "red" copies of blank UITR forms. Regardless, if you are an ASAP client, please do not attempt to file/pay this tax.  ASAP is reporting these and submitting payment for your as part of our tax guarantee.
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What is the UI chargeable wage limit in Colorado? 

As of January 1, 2021, the UI chargeable wage limit in Colorado is $13,600. The wage base limit increases annually as it is indexed to wage growth per Colorado House Bill 11-1288.

Colorado UI taxable wage base limits over the years: 

  • 2021: $13,600
  • 2020: $13,600
  • 2019: $13,100 
  • 2018: $12,600
  • 2017: $12,500

Visit the CDLE Premium Rates web page for more information on how unemployment insurance rates are calculated.

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What UI rate should I expect to pay as a new employer in Colorado?

New employers in Colorado start at a standard UI rate depending on their business classification: non-construction; general construction; heavy construction; and trades. Visit CDLE's Beginning Rates web page to view standard rates for the current and previous year. 

NOTE: Employers in construction-related industries may be subject to a different base rate. Contact UI Employer Services at, 303-318-9100 (Denver-metro area) or 1-800-480-8299 (outside Denver-metro area) for more information on beginning base rates for employers in construction-related industries.

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Disclaimer: This information is provided as a self-help tool and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Laws, regulations and lending products are changing daily and decisions as to whether or how to use this information and/or what actions to take are solely those of the employer. The providers of this information disclaim any and all responsibility and liability for its accuracy, completeness or fitness for your particular business purposes.