The Employer’s 2024 Guide to Hiring New Employees in Wyoming

Barbara C. Neff

Wyoming has a well-earned reputation as one of the most business-friendly states in the United States, but that doesn’t mean businesses with employees there don’t face a variety of both state and federal legal obligations. The good news is that following the steps below when you bring on new employees in Wyoming will help you stay on the right side of the law(s).

1. Register as an employer with the IRS and Wyoming

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to register as an employer with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the State of Wyoming.

You register with the IRS to obtain a federal employer identification number. You can apply for that using IRS Form SS-4, “Application for Employer Identification Number.”

Wyoming doesn’t have corporate income or franchise taxes, or individual income taxes, so there’s no need to register as an employer with the state Department of Revenue. But any business conducting work in the State of Wyoming or hiring a Wyoming resident as an employee must register with the Division of Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance (part of the Department of Workforce Services) to have their coverage requirements determined (see steps 5 and 6 below for more details on coverage).

You complete the Joint Business Registration online. All employers are required to do this, including owners/sole proprietors and contractors who expect to be exempt from workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance requirements. You must register to obtain the necessary exemption letter from the Division of Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance. It typically takes two days for a registration to be processed.

Out-of-state employers must also fill out the Out of State Questionnaire. You can submit it by email to [email protected] or [email protected].

2. Confirm eligibility to work

Every new employee in the United States must complete the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification.” The employee is required to fill out Section 1 of the form by their first day of employment. You’ll need to complete Section 2 by the end of the third business day after the employee begins work. Keep it on file for three years after the date of hire or one year after the employment ends, whichever is later.

Wyoming doesn’t require employers to use the federal E-Verify system.

3. File a new hire report

Under the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), all employers must report certain information on their newly hired employees to a designated state agency. In Wyoming, that’s the New Hire Reporting Center.

The information is used to track down people who are delinquent on their child support obligations. Wyoming also uses it to help detect and prevent fraudulent payments to recipients of unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and welfare benefits.

You must submit reports for:

  • New employees who reside or work in Wyoming to whom you expect to pay earnings. Employees must be reported even if they work only one day and are terminated before you satisfy the new hire reporting requirement.
  • Re-hires or employees who return to work after being laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment for at least 60 consecutive days.

No employer is exempt from the reporting requirement, but you aren’t required to report independent contractors.

You must submit a report within 20 days of a new employee’s hire date. The state provides multiple methods for submitting your new hire information. Employers that submit reports magnetically or electronically must submit the reports in two monthly transmissions not more than 16 days apart.

4. Understand your federal payroll tax obligations

Unlike employers in most states, Wyoming employers don’t need to withhold state income taxes from their employees’ pay because the state doesn’t impose such taxes. You’re not free of payroll withholding obligations entirely, though.

You generally must withhold federal income tax from an employee’s paycheck. You’ll need to collect IRS Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Certificate,” from each new hire on the day they start work. The form is used to determine how much of their pay you should withhold for federal income taxes. Make sure your employees complete it properly.

You aren’t required to submit Form W-4 to the IRS, but you must keep a copy on file for at least four years. It provides verification that you’re withholding federal income tax according to the employee’s instructions and must be available for IRS inspection upon request. 

You must also withhold each employee’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). FICA is a federal tax that employers and employees split.

The 2024 tax rates for both employees and employers are 6.2% of the first $168,600 of an employee’s earnings for Social Security (for a total tax of 12.4%) and 1.45% of all wages for Medicare (a total of 2.9%).

You may also be required to withhold the Additional Medicare Tax, which is 0.9% of an individual’s wages paid in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year.

You must deposit federal income tax withheld and both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes. You should determine which schedule you’re required to use—monthly or weekly—before the beginning of each calendar year.

You’ll also need to pay federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) if you:

  • Paid wages of $1,500 or more to employees in any calendar quarter during the current or previous tax year, or
  • Had one or more employees for at least some part of a day in any 20 or more different weeks in the previous year or 20 or more different weeks in the current tax year, counting all full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

The tax due is 6% of the first $7,000 of an employee’s wages during the year.

Deposits for the federal unemployment tax are required for the quarter within which the tax due exceeds $500. Deposits must be made by the end of the month following the end of the quarter.

You’ll want to stay on top of your reporting, as well as your deposits, on all of these. You do that on IRS Form 940, “Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return,” and IRS Form 941, “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return.”

Form 940 is due by Jan. 31, but if you deposit all FUTA tax when due, you have until Feb. 10 to file.

File your initial Form 941 for the quarter in which you first paid wages that are subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes or federal income tax withholding. The form is due by the last day of the month that follows the end of the quarter.

If you made timely deposits in full payment of your taxes for the quarter, you can file Form 941 by the 10th day of the second month that follows the end of the quarter. For example, you may file it by May 10 for the 1st quarter (as opposed to April 30 if you didn’t).

Going forward, you must file Form 941 every quarter (every three months), regardless of whether you have any taxes to report—unless you’re a seasonal employer or are filing your final return.

You must also file IRS Form W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” to report each employee’s annual wages, deductions, and tax withholding to the IRS and furnish a copy to each employee by the last day of January each year. Form W-2 shows the amounts of income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes you withheld in the prior year. You’re also required to send copies to the Social Security Administration. With no individual state income tax, you don’t need to submit a copy to the state.

5. Brush up on the state unemployment insurance requirements

Any business conducting work in Wyoming or hiring a Wyoming resident as an employee must register with the Division of Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance to determine its unemployment insurance tax rate. (The state unemployment insurance tax is separate from the federal unemployment tax.)

New employers—meaning those with less than three years of “experience”—are assigned a base rate calculated on their specific industry and three additional rate factors. The additional factors are the:

  • Noncharged/ineffectively charged factor (to replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund for benefits paid out that weren’t charged to an employer),
  • Employment Support Fund factor (to fund special programs and support employment programs throughout the state), and
  • Fund balance factor (to maintain the trust fund balance at a balance sufficient to cover benefits but not more than is needed).

The base rate and these three factors, when added together, will equal the total tax rate for the calendar year.

Once you complete your Joint Business Registration (and Out of State Questionnaire for businesses not residing in Wyoming), you’ll receive a notice of your rate. If you don’t complete the registration before you submit a quarterly wage report (see below), you’ll be assigned the highest base rate possible, 8.5%.

After you have at least three years of experience on your account with the department, you’ll be assigned a base rate calculated on your specific benefit ratio. The benefit ratio equals 1) total benefits charged to your account and paid during the preceding experience period divided by 2) total taxable wages payable for that experience period.

Annual rate notices are mailed no later than December 31 of the prior year. Unemployment insurance taxes are paid online.

The taxable wage base for 2024 is $30,900—so you apply your assigned tax rate to only the first $30,900 of an employee’s annual wages.

Quarterly wage reports are due:

  • April 30
  • July 31
  • Oct. 31
  • Jan. 31

Some wages are exempt from unemployment insurance taxes, though, including those paid to: 

  • Sole proprietors,
  • A sole proprietor’s spouse, parents, and dependents under age 21,
  • Partners in a partnership,
  • Dependents on partners in a partnership, and
  • Members of a limited liability company (unless they elect optional coverage).

6. Secure your workers’ compensation insurance coverage

After you’ve registered your business with the Division of Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance, you’ll be assigned a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code based on your business’s primary industry or source of income. The division will then determine if your business falls into what’s called a required industry (those considered “extra hazardous”) or an optional industry.

Businesses in required industries must carry Wyoming Workers’ Compensation coverage for their employees’ work-related illnesses and injuries. The coverage is available only through the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. Businesses in optional industries can elect coverage from Wyoming Workers’ Compensation or use a private insurance company.

You’ll also receive a base rate when your business NAICS code is assigned. The base rate, in conjunction with the experience modification rating (EMR), determines the amount of your workers’ compensation insurance premium. The EMR reflects both the frequency of your claims and the severity/monetary amount of the claims. It’s based on three years of claims history.

Once an EMR is assigned, the Division of Workers’ Compensation will use your business’s experience history to calculate the premium you owe above or below the applicable industry base rate. Generally, employers with EMRs less than 1.0 will pay less than the industry base rate, and those with EMRs greater than 1.0 will pay more.

New employers without a full year of premium obligation within the EMR period receive an EMR of 1.0 until they accrue a one-year claims history.

Several factors can affect the amount of your workers’ compensation premium, including:

  • Amount of payroll,
  • Severity of claims,
  • Frequency of claims,
  • Three-year premium total,
  • Chargeable actual losses,
  • Expected losses, and
  • Credibility factors.

On the other hand, Wyoming also offers multiple methods of reducing your premium. For example:

  • Employers with a drug-testing program may qualify for a 10% Drug and Alcohol Discount on their premium base rate.
  • Employers that adopt a written health and safety program that satisfies specific requirements may enroll in the Safety Discount Program. The program’s discount is applied in tiers, running from 3.33% to 10%.
  • Employers that invite and work with safety consultants may qualify for four tiers of Health and Safety Discounts, ranging from 3% up to 10%. The discounts are good for three years, but on-site audits may be performed during that time to validate the discount.
  • Employers can reduce premiums in exchange for an agreement to reimburse the Department of Workforce Services for all losses up to a specified deductible amount. The department will periodically bill you for reimbursement of payments until the per-injury deductible is met. Open enrollment for the Deductible Program is Sept. 1 through Oct. 31.
  • Employers that enhance or implement new safety practices (for example, purchasing new health or safety equipment) can subsidize their expenses through the Workplace Safety Contracts program. Participating employers pay only 10% of the allowable expenses.

Regardless of your premium, you must file quarterly—or, in some cases, monthly—payroll reports. Employers that don’t currently employ any Wyoming workers or aren’t currently paying wages are still obligated to file quarterly payroll reports. Quarterly reports are due by the last day of the month following quarter end (April 30, July 31, Oct. 31, and Jan. 31). Monthly reports are due by the last day of the following month (for example, the January report is due by Feb. 28 [29 in leap years]).

Note: Wyoming Workers’ Compensation coverage isn’t immediately extended to corporate officers, limited liability company members, sole proprietors, or partners. This coverage is optional to your active workers’ compensation policy and must be elected. If you don’t elect the coverage, you don’t need to include the wages paid to an officer, member, sole proprietor, or partner on your workers’ compensation payroll report.

Clerical coverage is another optional addition; it provides workers’ compensation coverage to your clerical employees at a lower base rate. You must apply for this coverage.

7. Post the legally required labor law posters

Employers must display a variety of federal and state employment law-related posters in a conspicuous location in the workplace. The posters generally inform employees of their rights and their employers’ responsibilities.

Federally mandated posters may include:

The U.S. Department of Labor has an online “poster advisor” to help employers determine which posters they need to display.

Wyoming employers must also post several state-specific posters, including:

  • Health and Safety Protection on the Job
  • Wyoming State Minimum Wage
  • Wyoming Unemployment Insurance
  • Workers Rights
  • Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Act

8. Comply with the applicable employment laws

Employers are subject to a wide range of federal and state employment laws, including the following:

Failure to comply with these laws can lead to costly fines, penalties, lawsuits, and reputational damage.


Making the steps outlined above part of your routine hiring process for new employees will help you comply with all of your legal duties and avoid administrative headaches, or worse, down the road. Gusto’s payroll service can simplify matters by making it easier to pay employees and automatically file your payroll taxes.

Barbara C. Neff has been writing about a variety of legal and other topics since 2001. She has a law degree and a master's degree in journalism.
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