If you didn't hire employees then the best approach is to indicate as such. If you're still not certain, check with a local tax attorney.
Evan A. Nielsen is licensed to practice law in California and handles federal tax matters throughout the U.S. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for a particular matter. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult an attorney.
If you never hired an employee at all then you shouldn't owe anything for unemployment insurance; however, if the person in question was an attorney you were going to hire to give you legal advice, then that person would generally not be an employee. Given what appears to be some confusion over what you have to file and when, I would strongly urge you to consult with a competent local tax professional to get this matter cleared up.
My answer does not constitute legal advice and may not be relied upon by anyone for any purpose and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship or an offer to form such a relationship. This disclaimer is intended to be fully compliant with the requirements of Treasury Department Circular 230 and the terms thereof are fully incorporated by reference. If you wish to consult with me please contact me at dana@nytaxcounsel or visit my website at www.nytaxcounsel.com
You should definitely consult with a Tax Attorney. However, you probably are not liable for the UI and the determination of amount due should be reversed.
You want to respond to the address provided setting forth the reasons why you do not owe the tax. You should call the UI help line at (518) 485-6654 and ask for guidance. Explain the situation and most importantly get the representative you deal with to put appropriate notes in their system to indicate that you called.
Obviously you are better off getting a tax attorney to handle this matter for you, but it is probably not justified over a $348.50 charge. You need to follow-up with NYS periodically by calling and sending additional letters (always send Certified RRR), and you may not get a response immediately, so stick with it. Good luck.