Am I Required to Register as an Employer?


How Do I Register Online with the EDD?

Visit the Register for Employer Payroll Tax Account Number page to obtain a California Employer Account Number and tax rate information.

What Happens After THE EDD Receives Your Registration?

After registering with the EDD, you will receive an eight-digit employer account number (example: 000-0000-0), also known as a State Employer Identification Number, SEIN, state ID number, or reserve account number. This number is required for all interactions with the EDD to ensure your account is accurate. You will be required to provide this number when filing returns and making deposits in all electronic and paper filings. If a bank or payroll service prepares your return, be sure to provide them with your employer account number.

You will receive the following information by mail:

A personalized Payroll Tax Deposit (DE 88) coupon booklet will be mailed to you 4 - 6 weeks after you register.

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Not Sure if You Must Register with the EDD?

Review the information below:

Two Types of Employers

  • Employers who run a business can be a person or a legal entity and include:

    Sole Proprietors
    Partnerships
    Corporations
    Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations
    Limited Liability Companies
    Limited Liability Partnerships
    Public Entities (including state and federal agencies)
    Schools
    Associations and Trusts
    Estates
    Joint Ventures
    Indian Tribes

  • Household Employers who hire household workers can be:

    Private Households
    Local College Clubs
    Local Chapters of College Fraternities or Sororities

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When Does a Business Become Subject to State Payroll Taxes?

Generally, a business becomes subject to state payroll taxes upon paying wages over $100 in a calendar quarter to one or more employees. Wages consist of compensation for services performed, including cash payments, commissions, bonuses, and the reasonable cash value of noncash payments (like meals and lodging) for services. Once subject, an employer must complete and submit a registration form to EDD within 15 days. Our Payroll Tax Seminars page offers no-fee seminars to assist employers in complying with California’s payroll tax laws.

Examples of when a business becomes subject:

  • A sole proprietor hires an employee during the month of March at a wage of $75 per month. The employer is subject effective April 1 since the employer did not pay the employee over $100 during the first quarter of the year (January-March) but will pay over $100 during the second quarter (April-June).
  • A corporation operates without any employees except for the corporate president. The corporation is an employer and is required to register if the corporate president is paid wages of over $100 in a calendar quarter.
  • A two-person partnership operates a business in which each partner draws a salary of $1,000 during the first quarter of the year. When one partner goes on vacation, an employee is hired and paid $95 during the quarter. The partnership is not required to register as an employer since partnership draws are not considered wages and the employee who was hired did not receive wages of over $100 in the calendar quarter.

Visit the Register for Employer Payroll Tax Account Number page to obtain a California Employer Account Number and tax rate information.

Obtain more information about wages, subject wages, and personal income tax wages from the following:

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When Does an Employer of Household Workers Become Subject to State Payroll Taxes?

Visit our Household Employer Web page for information specific to Household Employers.

Employer Responsibilities

Reporting wages paid to your employees and State Personal Income Tax (PIT) withheld from their wages.

Paying Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Employment Training Tax (ETT) on your employee’s wages, as well as withholding and remitting State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Personal Income Tax (PIT) due on wages paid to your workers (see Rates, Withholding Schedules, & Meals and Lodging Values).

You must also report all new employees to the New Employee Registry within 20 days of their start-to-work date.

If you use the services of independent contractors, you may also have to report them.

The EDD’s e-Services for Business allows you to manage your account online. Enroll Today!

We offer no-fee seminars to assist employers in complying with California’s payroll tax laws. Visit the Payroll Tax Seminars page to find available classroom seminars or online courses.

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State Income Tax Withholding

Encourage your employees to withhold the correct amount of state income tax by having them fill out a California Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate (DE 4) in addition to the federal Form W-4. An online calculator is available to assist in the completion of the DE 4. California Withholding Schedules are available on the Rates & Withholding page.

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Sole Corporate Shareholder Exclusion

If you are a corporate officer and the sole shareholder (or the only shareholder other than your spouse) of a private corporation, you can elect to be excluded from State Disability Insurance coverage for benefits and contributions; see the Sole Shareholder/Corporate Officer Exclusion Statement (DE 459).

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Alternate Registration Option

Do not use this alternate method if you have already registered online. Visit the Register for Employer Payroll Tax Account Number page to register as an employer online.

Include your federal employer identification number (FEIN) on the registration form to ensure unemployment insurance tax credits apply correctly when claimed on your Employer’s Annual FUTA Tax Return (IRS Form 940). For information on federal filing requirements, contact the IRS.

Mail-in Registration

Complete the registration form for your type of business:

Mail or fax your completed registration form to the address or fax number below. The address and fax number are also listed at the top of the registration form for your convenience.

Employment Development Department
Account Services Group, MIC 28
PO Box 826880
Sacramento CA 94280-0001
Fax 916-654-9211

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Resources for New Business Owners

For assistance, call our toll-free number 1-888-745-3886 or visit your local Employment Tax Office.

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