ESS Enhancement FAQ

Basic Information

What information do I need to submit in my wage report?
How do I obtain a State Unemployment Tax Account (SUTA) number?
How do I register to access the Employer Self Service portal?
Does DWD accept paper filings?
What is the difference between gross, taxable and subject wages?
What Internet browser should I use?

Agency Requirements

What is the quarterly due date?
How can I make quarterly tax payments?
Am I required to file electronically?
Can I file a report with a missing Social Security Number (SSN)?

Technical Requirements

What file formats does DWD accept?
Are there file naming requirements for quarterly reports?
Can I report zero wages? How can I report them?
Can the file upload be zipped or compressed?
How will any errors in a file upload be displayed?
What are the file size restrictions?
Does my file need to be sorted in a particular way?

TPA and ASO Specifications

What is the difference between a TPA and an ASO?
Can the same Agent have a TPA and an ASO account?
How many multiple employer files can be submitted per quarter?
How many individual employer files can be submitted per quarter?
Do all client reports need to be submitted electronically?
Are there programming changes required for the upcoming enhancements?
Are the filler fields available for TPA use?
Will one client in error fail an entire file or just the individual client?

Payment Requirements

Are there special payment requirements for bulk filers?

Special Considerations

Can I submit an amended or changed report?
How do I request a wage base credit?

File Specifications

What information do I need to submit in my wage report?

To begin, you will need the SUTA account number and the quarter/year for which you want to file a report.

You are required to submit the following information for each worker that performs services for remuneration (ie. gets paid) in the quarter:

  • Social Security Number
  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Middle Initial (if any)
  • Gross Wages subject to unemployment tax (do not include Section 125 cafeteria plan payment or other excluded payments. See the Employer Handbook for more information.)
  • SOC code (This is a six-digit representation of the person's job title. You can look it up here.)
  • Most recent hire date (the date reported for Indiana New Hire purposes)
  • Part-time, full-time, or seasonal worker status
  • Indiana Zip Code where the worker primarily performs services
  • FEIN number to be used on the worker's W2 or 1099
  • Yes/No indicator if the worker was compensated during the week containing the 12th day of each month in the quarter

Return to top

How do I obtain a State Unemployment Tax Account (SUTA) number?

If you are a new employer in Indiana and have paid $1 or more to a worker performing covered services within the state, please register via ESS.

To successfully complete the registration, you will need to know the employer's FEIN, legal name, NAICS code, and mailing address. Other required information includes: the Indiana location where work is being performed; the date on which the first payroll payment was made; and the SSN, EIN or ITIN of the responsible party.

Not all entities that have payroll are required to pay unemployment taxes. Please review our Employer Handbook before starting the registration process.

If you have previously been issued an Indiana SUTA account number and have lost the information, you may be able to recover the number by calling 800-891-6499 and selection option 2 then option 2 again.

If you are associated to the account as an authorized user or a responsible party, we can provide the information over the phone.

If you cannot recover the information over the phone, we will send the account number to the last known address of the employer or account administrator.

Return to top

How do I register to access the Employer Self Service portal?

Please visit ESS and click "New User" to begin the registration process.

The registration process will require a valid email address to be provided to begin.

Once created, your user account can be associated to one or more existing employer (SUTA) accounts by an account administrator - or you can register a new Indiana employer.

Each time an administrator adds your user account to an existing SUTA account, you will receive a notice. If you believe this was done in error, you can remove yourself from access to the employer account.

If you are using your user account to register a new Indiana employer, you will automatically be associated to the account you create as an administrator on the new account.

Return to top

Does DWD accept paper filings?

The Department of Workforce Development will not accept paper filings unless the employer has requested and been granted an electronic reporting waiver. Employers must utilize the updated Employer Self Service portal to file all reports.

Return to top

What is the difference between gross, taxable and subject wages?

Gross wages include all compensation received by a worker during a specific length of time. Not all compensation is subject to unemployment tax. Qualifying Section 125 Cafeteria Plans are a good example of something that is part of the worker's total compensation - included in gross wages - that is excluded for unemployment tax purposes.

Subject wages are gross wages less excluded wages. This amount is called subject wages because it is the total of all wages that are subject to unemployment tax. The Employer Handbook has a chart that defines different kinds of payments as being taxable or excluded (exempt).

Taxable wages, or the taxable wage base, is the first $9,500 of subject wages earned by a worker from an employer in the calendar year.

Return to top

What Internet browser should I use?

The Employer Self Service Portal is best supported by Internet Explorer 9+, and latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Return to top

What is the quarterly due date?

The quarterly due date is always the last day of the month immediately following the end of the quarter. The due dates for the year as follows:

  • Quarter 1 Due Date = April 30
  • Quarter 2 Due Date = July 31
  • Quarter 3 Due Date = October 31
  • Quarter 4 Due Date = January 31

DWD encourages employers to submit reports well in advance of the due date.

Return to top

How can I make quarterly tax payments?

Quarterly tax payment can be made electronically through the Employer Self Service portal. The updated ESS will include integrated payment options, simplifying the entire payment process.

If you are unable to pay online, you will be able to print a payment coupon and submit a physical check to DWD at PO Box 847 in Indianapolis, IN 46206-0847.

For proper credit, you must include the payment coupon with your check. Please write your SUTA number on all communication and remittances to the IDWD.

Payments received after the due date will be subject to interest and penalty assessments.

Return to top

Am I required to file electronically?

Yes, employers are required to file quarterly reports electronically unless the employer has applied for and been granted an electronic reporting waiver.

Employers can submit reports through manual entry or file upload on the Employer Self Service portal.

Return to top

Can I file a report with a missing Social Security Number (SSN)?

Employers are required to secure the worker's SSN - and e-verify the worker - prior to allowing the worker to perform services in Indiana.

If the employer has failed to secure the SSN, the employer is required to report subject wages. Please contact the IDWD if you are required to report for a worker and you do not have a valid SSN or ITIN.

Return to top

What file formats does DWD accept?

An updated ICESA file and an Excel saved as a .CSV will be accepted through the new Employer Self Service portal. Technical specifications for these file types are available at the end of this document.

Return to top

Are there file naming requirements for quarterly reports?

There are no file naming requirements for quarterly reports. All file names will be accepted.

Return to top

Can I report zero wages? How can I report them?

Employers can report zero wages for individual employees and zero wages overall for the quarter. Zero reports can be submitted through the Employer Self Service portal with one click. Individual employees with zero wages can be submitted through both manual entry and file upload.

If you are reporting for multiple employers through the Agent upload process, a zero report (NTR) for an employer is indicated by an "N" in A3 of a .CSV file or by a valid E row followed by an S row with 275 zero (0) characters in an ICESA file.

Return to top

Can the file upload be zipped or compressed?

Upload files cannot be zipped or compressed.

Return to top

How will any errors in a file upload be displayed?

Errors will be displayed all at once on screen and through a downloadable error report for file upload. On screen error display will show up to 100 errors per file uploaded. The downloadable report will list all errors.

Return to top

What are the file size restrictions?

There are no file size restrictions for quarterly reports, though some reports may be too large to process immediately. For those files, the agency will process them in less than 24 hours and notify you when the file has been reviewed.

Return to top

Does my file need to be sorted in a particular way?

ICESA files need to be sorted by employer, i.e. each S record should immediately follow its corresponding E record. There are no other sorting requirements. Employees can be listed in any order on each file type.

Return to top

What is the difference between a TPA and an ASO?

A TPA, Third-Party Administrator, can access the employer's account online through ESS and will be able to file reports or make payments either at the multiple account level, also known as Bulk filing level, or at the individual employer account level.

An ASO, or Accounting Services Organization, cannot access the employer's account online via ESS and can only file reports, utilize the Agent ESC data validation functionality, or make payments at the Bulk filing level.

Return to top

Can the same Agent have a TPA and an ASO account?

Because TPA and ASO entities are credentialed differently, it will be possible for an Agent to hold both types of account.

The TPA will use verified credentials to access ESS and can be associated to multiple employer accounts or even other TPA accounts if appropriately authorized. A TPA can perform any action authorized by an employer in addition to bulk filing quarterly reports, making bulk payments and validating employer data which is also known as Agent ESC.

An ASO will receive user credentials in ESS that will be created by DWD and then must be linked to the user's verified email address.

The ASO will have only three available actions - upload a bulk report, make a bulk payment and validate employer data (Agent ESC).

If you are currently approved to bulk file with Indiana, you will automatically be issued ASO credentials for 1Q2019 once you provide a unique email address to use as your user ID.

Return to top

How many multiple employer files can be submitted per quarter?

Bulk filers can submit one multiple employer file per quarter. If there are additional employers to be added after the multiple employer file has been submitted, the TPA will need to submit individual files for those employers.

ASOs cannot file at the individual employer level.

Return to top

How many individual employer files can be submitted per quarter?

A TPA can submit one file for each of their individual employers per quarter through employer level account access. A TPA can submit each of their employers individually if they so choose.

An ASO cannot submit at the individual account level.

Return to top

Do all client reports need to be submitted electronically?

Yes, all TPA client reports need to be submitted electronically through the Employer Self Service portal.

Return to top

Are there programming changes required for the upcoming enhancements?

There may be programming changes required for the upcoming enhancement to the Employer Self Service portal.

Namely, TPAs will need to adopt the new .CSV file format or update ICESA files to include the new data fields.

The new file specifications are included at the end of this document.

Return to top

Are the filler fields available for TPA use?

ICESA Filler fields will be available for TPA use. Use of these fields will not affect TPA ability to upload the file.

Please do not add fields to the .CSV files.

Return to top

Will one client in error fail an entire file or just the individual client?

For a multiple employer file to successfully be submitted, no client can be in error. If any client is in error, the entire file will fail.

A TPA can choose to update the information for that individual employer or remove the employer information from the file and submit the errored employer individually.

An ASO will need to correct the data for the client with the error and submit the file with no errors. If the ASO removes the client, there is no mechanism for an ASO to individually enter an employer report.

Return to top

Are there special payment requirements for bulk filers?

Once the bulk file successfully uploads, ESS will return the total amount due for all employers contained in that report. The bulk filer may pay this amount in full and ESS will apply the payment to each individual employer account in the file.

DWD will also provide a .CSV file detailing amounts due at the individual account level as a courtesy to bulk filers.

We are working with our electronic payment processor to create a bulk payment method by bank file upload so that agents that escrow taxes and agents that maintain separate bank accounts for their clients can use bulk reporting and payment functionality in ESS.

A TPA may also make individual payments by accessing each client's employer account in ESS.

Return to top

Can I submit an amended or changed report?

Employers can request changes to previously submitted reports via the updated Employer Self Service portal.

Employers will not be able to request an amendment or change through a paper form unless DWD has waived the electronic filing requirement for that employer.

For reports that were manually keyed in ESS, employers can update individual wage records.

For reports that were submitted through file upload, employers will upload a new, updated file with all their employees for the quarter.

Return to top

How do I request a wage base credit?

Employers can request a wage base credit via the updated Employer Self Service portal.

To do so, employers will need to provide the Social Security Number of the employee, the state where the wage base credit was accrued, and the amount of wage base requested.

Return to top