Oregon Employment Department Refund Checks

By Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association,

ORLA’s biggest win during Covid at the state level was in House Bill 3389 where unemployment insurance (UI) tax reform passed. House Bill 3389 was collaborative legislation passed in 2021 to provide short- and long-term pandemic tax relief to Oregon employers while protecting the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This important bill provided assistance to Oregon employers in several ways:

  • It extended the “look back period” used to determine the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund solvency level from 10 years to 20 years.
  • It kept employers’ Unemployment Insurance tax experience rating the same, through 2024, as what was used to determine the pre-pandemic 2020 tax rates.
  • It deferred up to one-third of 2021 taxes until June 30, 2022, and provided forgiveness of penalties and interest accrued during that time for employers meeting certain criteria.
  • It enabled some employers to be eligible for full or partial forgiveness of their deferrable 2021 Unemployment Insurance taxes.

Combined, the short- and long-term provisions of House Bill 3389 provide significant relief to Oregon employers.

  • In 2021, after the bill passed, more than 4,000 employers took advantage of the option to defer tax payments. That resulted in approximately $1.1 million in interest and penalty forgiveness.
  • Through the bill’s short-term provisions, OED has provided Unemployment Insurance tax forgiveness to more than 19,000 employers and has issued more than $43.3 million in payments to eligible employers. The refunds issued varied widely in amount due to Oregon’s wide range of eligible employers, from very small businesses to larger corporations.
  • In 2022, most employers, about 125,000, saw a decrease in their tax rate from the prior year as a result of the passage of House Bill 3389.
  • Looking longer term, from 2021 to 2029, these changes are estimated to save Oregon employers $2.2 billion in unemployment insurance taxes.

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