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Navigating Increasing Unemployment Expenses in West Virginia

By February 21, 2024No Comments

In the evolving realm of employment-related costs, West Virginia’s 501(c)(3) nonprofits are on the brink of encountering notable increases in unemployment expenses. Despite the constancy of employer tax rates for experienced employers, the rise in the unemployment-taxable wage base for 2024 to $9,521 signifies that, even if tax rates remain unchanged, the actual costs to employers could escalate. This adjustment is pivotal for nonprofit leaders to grasp, urging a reassessment of financial strategies to mitigate this impact. A proactive approach, such as adopting the reimbursement method for unemployment taxes, may provide substantial benefits in managing these heightened expenses. This method allows for direct payment of unemployment claims, offering a potential pathway to curb the effect of the increased taxable wage base on overall costs.

Understanding West Virginia’s Unemployment Tax Rate Changes

For nonprofits in West Virginia, 2024 heralds crucial adjustments:

  • Unemployment-Taxable Wage Base Increase: The taxable wage base for unemployment expenses in West Virginia will rise to $9,521 per employee, up from $9,000 in 2023 (5.8% increase). This adjustment aligns with the percentage increase in West Virginia’s average wage, as mandated by state law.
  • Stable Employer Tax Rates: Experienced employer tax rates will remain unchanged, ranging from 1.5% to 4.5% for positive-rated employers. Negative-rated employers will see rates between 6.5% to 8.5%, including a 1% surtax, while the rate for new employers is set at 2.7%.

Click here for complete details on West Virginia’s unemployment program.

Impact on 501(c)(3) Nonprofits

These developments have significant implications:

  • Steady Increases in Unemployment Expenses: Despite the stability of tax rates for 2024, employers should anticipate an overall rise in unemployment costs. This is because West Virginia law aligns the taxable wage base with inflation. As the average wage in the state climbs, the taxable wage base will also increase. Consequently, if the tax rate remains unchanged, unemployment expenses will escalate.
  • Need for Financial Strategy Review: This situation necessitates a reevaluation of how nonprofits manage their unemployment expenses, ensuring they can continue to operate effectively without compromising their mission.

The Reimbursement Method: An Effective Cost-Management Tool

In response to these changes, West Virginia nonprofits might consider the reimbursement method as a way to manage these costs effectively:

  1. Direct Reimbursement for Claims: This approach allows nonprofits to reimburse the state directly for unemployment claims made by former employees, instead of paying taxes based on the fixed wage base and rate.
  2. Control Over Expenses: This method can offer more control over unemployment costs, as payments are made in response to actual claims rather than as a percentage of payroll.
  3. Potential Savings: For organizations with low turnover rates or fewer claims, reimbursement can be more cost-effective than paying standard unemployment tax rates.

Key Considerations for Nonprofits

While the reimbursement method can offer advantages, it’s important to consider the financial stability required to handle potential variability in reimbursement claims, the administrative capacity to manage the reimbursement process, and how this method aligns with the organization’s overall risk management and financial strategies.


As West Virginia’s unemployment tax rates remain stable with an increased taxable wage base, 501(c)(3) nonprofits must strategically explore options to manage these costs effectively. The reimbursement method offers a potential for savings and greater control over unemployment expenses. However, careful consideration of each organization’s specific financial and operational needs is crucial, ideally in consultation with a financial advisor. With thoughtful planning, West Virginia’s nonprofits can adeptly navigate these changes, ensuring they remain financially healthy and mission-focused.


For more than 40 years, 501(c) Services has been a leader in offering solutions for unemployment costs, claims management, and HR support to nonprofit organizations. Two of our most popular programs are the 501(c) Agencies Trust and 501(c) HR Services. We understand the importance of compliance and accuracy and are committed to providing our clients with customized plans that fit their needs.

Contact us today to see if your organization could benefit from our services.

Are you already working with us and need assistance with HR or unemployment issues? Contact us here.

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.

(Image by PETE CHACALOS from Pixabay)

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