96-9.6. Election to reimburse Unemployment Insurance Fund in lieu of contributions.

(a) Applicability. - This section applies to a governmental entity, a nonprofit organization, and an Indian tribe that is required by section 3309 of the Code to have a reimbursement option. Each of these employers must finance benefits under the contributions method imposed under G.S. 96-9.2 unless the employer elects to finance benefits by making reimbursable payments to the Division for the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

(b) Election. - An employer may make an election under this section by filing a written notice of its election with the Division at least 30 days before the January 1 effective date of the election. An Indian tribe may make separate elections for itself and each subdivision, subsidiary, or business enterprise wholly owned by the tribe. A new employer may make an election under this section by filing a written notice of its election within 30 days after the employer receives notification from the Division that it is eligible to make an election under this section.

An election is valid for a minimum of four years and is binding until the employer files a notice terminating its election. An employer must file a written notice of termination with the Division at least 30 days before the January 1 effective date of the termination. The Division must notify an employer of a determination of the effective date of an election the employer makes and of any termination of the election. These determinations are subject to reconsideration, appeal, and review. An employer that makes the election allowed by this section may not deduct any amount due under this section from the remuneration of the individuals it employs.

(c) Reimbursable Amount. - An employer must reimburse the Unemployment Insurance Fund for the amount of benefits that are paid to an individual for weeks of unemployment that begin within a benefit year established during the effective period of the employer's election and are attributable to service that is covered by section 3309 of the Code and was performed in the employ of the employer. For regular benefits, the reimbursable amount is the amount of regular benefits paid. For extended benefits, the reimbursable amount is the amount not reimbursed by the federal government.

(d) Account. - The Division must establish a separate account for each reimbursing employer. The Division must credit payments made by the employer to the account. The Division must charge to the account benefits that are paid by the Unemployment Insurance Fund to individuals for weeks of unemployment that begin within a benefit year established during the effective period of the election and are attributable to service in the employ of the employer. All benefits paid must be charged to the employer's account except benefits paid through error.

The Division must furnish an employer with a statement of all credits and charges made to its account as of the computation date prior to January 1 of the succeeding year. The Division may, in its sole discretion, provide a reimbursing employer with informational bills or lists of charges on a basis more frequent than yearly if the Division finds it is in the best interest of the Division and the affected employer to do so.

(e) Annual Reconciliation. - A reimbursing employer must maintain an account balance equal to one percent (1%) of its taxable wages. The Division must determine the balance of each employer's account on the computation date. If there is a deficit in the account, the Division must bill the employer for the amount necessary to bring its account to one percent (1%) of its taxable wages for the immediate four quarters preceding July 1. Except as provided in subsection (j) of this section, any amount in the account in excess of the one percent (1%) of taxable wages will be retained in the employer's account as a credit and will not be refunded to the employer. The Division must send a bill as soon as practical. Payment is due within 30 days from the date a bill is mailed. Amounts unpaid by the due date accrue interest and penalties in the same manner as past-due contributions and are subject to the same collection remedies provided under G.S. 96-10 for past-due contributions.

(f) Quarterly Wage Reports. - A reimbursing employer must submit quarterly wage reports to the Division on or before the last day of the month following the close of the calendar quarter in which the wages are paid. During the first four quarters following an election to be a reimbursing employer, the employer must submit an advance payment with its quarterly report. The amount of the advance payment is equal to one percent (1%) of the taxable wages reported on the quarterly wage report. The Division must remit the payments to the Unemployment Insurance Fund and credit the payments to the employer's account.

(g) Change in Election. - The Division must close the account of an employer that has been paying contributions under G.S. 96-9.2 and that elects to change to a reimbursement basis under this section. A closed account may not be used in any future computation of a contribution rate. The Division must close the account of an employer that terminates its election to reimburse the Unemployment Insurance Fund in lieu of making contributions. An employer that terminates its election under this section is subject to the standard beginning rate.

(h) Noncompliance by Indian Tribes. - An Indian tribe that makes an election under this section and then fails to comply with this section is subject to the following consequences:

(1) An employer that fails to pay an amount due within 90 days after receiving a bill and has not paid this liability as of the computation date loses the option to make reimbursable payments in lieu of contributions for the following calendar year. An employer that loses the option to make reimbursable payments in lieu of contributions for a calendar year regains that option for the following calendar year if it pays its outstanding liability and makes all contributions during the year for which the option was lost.

(2) Services performed for an employer that fails to make payments, including interest and penalties, required under this section after all collection activities considered necessary by the Division have been exhausted, are no longer treated as "employment" for the purpose of coverage under this Chapter. An employer that has lost coverage regains coverage under this Chapter for services performed if the Division determines that all contributions, payments in lieu of contributions, penalties, and interest have been paid. The Division must notify the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Labor of any termination or reinstatement of coverage pursuant to this subsection.

(i) Expired January 1, 2016.

(j) Refund. - If a reimbursing employer erroneously remits an amount in excess of the amount due, the employer may apply to the Division for a refund of the excess amount remitted within the time limits in this subsection. The Division must determine that the requested refund was in excess of the amount due and was erroneously paid. The Division must refund, without interest, the excess amount but in no event will the refund result in an account balance less than one percent (1%) of the reimbursing employer's taxable wages. The refund application must be filed by the later of the following:

(1) Five years from the last day of the calendar year with respect to which a payment was made.

(2) One year from the date on which such payment was made. (2013-2, s. 2(b); 2013-224, ss. 6, 7, 19; 2017-8, s. 3.3(a).)