COVID-19 & Idaho’s Return to Work Incentive

By June 26, 2020June 30th, 2020COVID-19

Idaho will provide a one-time bonus to qualified associates to offset short-term unemployment benefits and bring associates back to the workplace. Idaho employers can apply for the bonuses for their eligible associates. The bonus will be $1,500 for full-time work (minimum of 30 hours per week) and $750 for part-time work (minimum of 20 hours per week). Eligible associates will receive the bonus for four weeks following their return to work. Eligible entities may apply starting at noon MT on July 13, 2020 and distribution of bonuses will be subject to available funding. Also, the state will award bonuses on a first-come, first-served basis until bonuses are fully expended.

How to Apply for Associates:

The Idaho State Tax Commission will handle all applications. First, employers must establish a secure Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) account to protect their information. Small businesses interested in applying should start this process as soon as possible. Employers will submit applications on behalf of their eligible associates.

If the employer is a tax professional, without a TAP account, and they intend to apply on behalf of an employer who is a client, they will need to follow the registration steps below. Once an account is validated, access to a clients’ accounts will be granted. Click on the Advanced Use of TAP link below for instructions on requesting access. This process will take longer and requires client permission. The state suggests tax professionals request a TAP account as soon as they can to expedite efforts.

Follow the below steps to apply:

  • Step 1- Log into TAP account.
  • Step 2 – Skip to step 3 unless a third party filing on behalf of authorized client.
  • Third parties, select client from the client list.
  • Step 3 – Click the ‘Return To Work’ link in the “I Want To” section at the top right.
  • Step 4 – Complete and submit application.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis:

  • July 13: applications for associates who returned from May 1 through June 14.
  • July 20: applications for associates who returned from May 1 through July 1.

Applications will be accepted through August 7, 2020.

Bonus Details:

  • Total program offers $100 million.
  • Return to work bonus will provide $1,500 for full-time associates (minimum of 30 hours per week) and $750 for part-time associates (minimum of 20 hours per week) and have been back to work for at least four weeks.
  • Only one bonus will be issued per associate.
  • Bonuses will be subject to qualification.
  • The program targets associates who forgo additional unemployment and return to work.

All bonuses should be reported, by individual, at Transparent.Idaho.Gov.

Who is Eligible for Incentive Pay?

Any eligible Idaho employer with associates who stop collecting unemployment and return to work can apply for a Return to Work Bonus. Employers can apply for the bonuses for associates who meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a resident of Idaho and worked for an Idaho employer in 2020.
  • Submitted a request for unemployment benefits during COVID-19, starting on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Completed four consecutive weeks of work for a private or non-profit employer.
  • Returned to work with the employer any time from May 1, 2020 through July 1, 2020.
  • Earned wages of $75,000 or less annually.
  • Intended position is to continue beyond four weeks.

“Eligible Idaho Employer” Definition:

An employer who issues W2s to Idaho employees directly or through a contract with a professional employer organization.

When to Apply:

A business can apply on or after noon MT on July 13, 2020.

Can Employers Update Applications?

Yes, employers can add associates as they meet the qualifications, if bonus funds are still available.

Can Associates With Multiple Jobs Receive Multiple Bonuses?

No, associates can only receive one bonus from this program.

Will Associates Need to Be Employed Prior to March 1, 2020 to Qualify?

No, associates may be returning to work with a new employer as well.

Bonus Amounts:

$1,500 for full-time associates, averaging 30 hours or more per week.

$750 for part-time associates, averaging 20 hours or more per week.

When Will Associates Receive Their Bonuses After Application Submission?

The state notes that associates will receive their payments at least one week after the application is approved.

What Information Will Be Reported to Transparent Idaho?

The Transparent Idaho website will include a list of bonus recipients that includes the individual’s name, the Idaho industry sector, the primary city location, and total bonus award.

What Information Will Employers Need to Apply?

The State Tax Commission will handle applications. All applicants must first establish a Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) account.

Register with TAP for the Return to Work Bonuses:

  1. On the TAP home page, click “Don’t have a logon? Register here” beneath the “Log In” button.
  2. Leave “No” selected where asked if a code was received. Click “Next.”
  3. Fill in all the required fields. If a field turns red/pink, hover over it to see the error and correct it. (Call the efile Help Desk at (208) 332-6632 if unable to correct the fields in error)
  1. For the “You Are” field, use the drop-down arrow to select:
    – BUSINESS if an owner or employee of a business (but not the sole owner).
    –If the sole owner of a business and have employees.
    – 3RD PARTY TAX PROFESSIONAL if a tax preparer or accountant managing clients’ taxes.
  1. Click “Submit.”  The Tax Commission will send a letter. This letter has a registration code. When you receive the letter, return to the TAP home page and click “Don’t have a logon? Register here” beneath the “Log In” button.
  2. Click on “Yes” to indicate that a registration code was received, then click “Next.”
  3. On the “Verify” page:
  1. Enter the registration code exactly the way it appears in the letter (it is case sensitive).
  2. Select the option under “You Are” that matches the selection made during pre-registration.
  3. Enter the EIN or SSN used during pre-registration.
  4. Click “Next.”
  5. Complete the required fields.
  6. Click “Submit.”

First, gain full access to the TAP account:

  • If a letter isn’t received, contact the state at or call (208) 332-6632.
  • If the user is a tax professional who needs to file/pay for clients, read the state’s Advanced Use of TAP guide.

After logging in to TAP, applicants will need the following information to complete their application:

  • Their Employment Identification Number (EIN) if applicable.
  • Employee name, SSN, address, contact number, average hours worked per week, number of weeks worked, and bank account for direct deposit of the bonus.

Why About Paper Applications?

The state advises that the program was set up to help employers’ associates as soon as possible. Manually processing paper applications would slow down the program and limit its effectiveness.

Submitting Applications Without Computer Access:

A tax professional or a close family member may be able to help an employer set up a Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) account and fill out the Return to Work application.

Where Can I Find More Information?

The applications and approval processes are fully automated, allowing bonus payments to be issued rapidly. Information about the status of the bonus application can be found in every employer’s TAP account. For more information, email or call (833) 492-0068. Please be aware that high call and email volumes may delay responses.


Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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