TN Small Businesses Avoid Big Tax Increases

Date: September 18, 2020


Newly-released projections from the University of Tennessee’s Boyd Center say that tax premiums paid by the state’s employers would have increased by at least 300% in 2021 had state officials not invested Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars into the state’s unemployment trust fund early.

Tennessee businesses would have had their unemployment taxes raised by $837 million.

Employer premiums would have also remained elevated for several years, placing an enormous burden on businesses. Tennessee would have transitioned from enjoying the lowest taxable wage base and tax table as of January 2020 to the highest in 2021. 

In a statement, Gov. Bill Lee said, “Preserving Tennessee’s thriving economy has been one of my top priorities throughout this pandemic. I thank the members of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for fiercely defending our Tennessee businesses and workers from the consequences of a significant tax hike.”

Any increase in taxes, during an already difficult time for the state’s employers, could have led to increased job losses across the state. By not raising taxes, Gov. Lee and the FSAG are helping employers rebound from the economic impacts of COVID-19 while continuing to employ and hire Tennesseans.


The Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced today that Tennessee’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% in August, a staggering 7% lower than in April and 1.2% lower than in July.

Beginning October 4, work search requirements for individuals seeking unemployment funds from the state will resume. Additional information can be found from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Connecting Tennesseans With Jobs

Thousands of businesses across Tennessee are ready to help the state’s economy rebound by reemploying out of work individuals., Tennessee’s workforce development website, currently has over 200,000 open positions for all job skill levels.

The more than 80 American Job Centers across Tennessee are open for business and offering job-seekers free personalized assistance with job procurement. The Tennessee Talent Exchange tool can quickly match individuals with available jobs in the grocery, retail and logistics industries as well.


Registered apprenticeships are a beneficial tool for those looking to change careers, acquire a new skill set, or obtain on the job training. There have been a record number of apprenticeships launched this year in more than 40 Tennessee counties.

Small Business Relief

More than 40,000 small business owners across 60 different industries qualify for the Tennessee Business Relief Program. Eligible businesses have until September 25, 2020, to confirm their information with the Department of Revenue in order to receive a relief payment between $2,500 and $30,000 in no-cost funds from the state. Small businesses can use the Department’s digital tool to determine eligibility.

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