Virtually all employers are covered by Montana’s Unemployment Insurance Law and are, therefore, subject to the state unemployment insurance tax (MT Code Sec. 39-51-101 et seq.). For example, covered employers include:
• Employers that paid at least $1,000 in gross wages in the current or preceding calendar year;
• Anyone who acquired the business of a covered employer;
• Agricultural employers that, in the current or preceding calendar year, either paid $20,000 or more for such labor in any quarter or employed 10 or more people on 20 days in each of 20 different weeks;
• Employers of domestic workers if they paid $1,000 or more in any quarter in the current or preceding calendar year; and
• Employers subject to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) (MT Code Sec. 39-51-202).
The law excludes certain services from coverage, including, for example, services provided by:
• Students working for schools, colleges, or universities;
• Students working for work-study programs;
• Spouses of students working for schools;
• Real estate and insurance salespersons;
• Newspaper distributors who are minors;
• Cosmetologists and barbers paid directly by customers;
• Certain services of floor-covering installers; and
• Freelance correspondents with a written acknowledgment that services aren’t covered (Mont. Code Ann. Sec. 39-51-204).
Employers not required to participate in the unemployment insurance program may apply for voluntary coverage of their employees (Mont. Code Ann. Sec. 39-51-1102). If approved, voluntary coverage must remain in place for a minimum of 2 years.