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Publication 51

(Circular A), Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide


(Including 2010 Wage Withholding and Advance Earned Income Credit Payment Tables)

What's New(p1)



COBRA premium assistance credit extended.(p1)

The credit for COBRA premium assistance payments has been extended. It now applies to premiums paid for employees terminated before March 1, 2010, and to premiums paid for 15 months. See COBRA premium assistance credit on page 5 for more information.

Verifying social security numbers.(p2)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) no longer manually verifies social security numbers (SSNs) over the telephone. SSA now offers an automated telephone service, Telephone Number Employer Verification (TNEV), that lets employers and authorized reporting agents verify up to 10 employee names and SSNs. For more information, see Verification of social security numbers in section 1.

New procedure for withholding income taxes on wages of nonresident alien employees for 2010.(p2)

The procedures for withholding income taxes on wages of nonresident alien employees have been updated to reflect the Making Work Pay credit that was enacted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). See Withholding adjustment for nonresident aliens in section 9 of Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide.

Social security and Medicare tax for 2010.(p2)

Do not withhold social security tax after an employee reaches $106,800 in social security wages. There is no limit on the amount of wages subject to Medicare tax. Social security and Medicare taxes apply to the wages of household workers you pay $1,700 or more in cash.

Additional withholding on pensions for 2010.(p2)

An optional procedure was developed for those making pension payments subject to withholding. The procedure is an approximate offset for the withholding reduction made to the withholding tables to reflect the Making Work Pay credit. Eligibility for the credit requires earned income, which does not include pension payments. For more information, see Publication 15 (Circular E).




Additional employment tax information.(p2)

Visit the IRS website at and select the "Employment Taxes" link for a list of employment tax topics. For employment tax information by telephone, call 1-800-829-4933; or call IRS TeleTax at 1-800-829-4477 for recorded information by topic.

Disregarded entities and qualified subchapter S subsidiaries (QSubs).(p2)

The IRS has published final Regulations section 301.7701-2(c)(2)(iv) under which QSubs and eligible single-owner disregarded entities are treated as separate entities for employment tax purposes. For more information, see Publication 15 (Circular E).

Differential wage payments.(p2)

Qualified differential wage payments made to former employees serving in the Armed Forces after 2008 are subject to income tax withholding but not social security, Medicare, or Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) taxes. For more information, see Publication 15 (Circular E).

Change of address.(p2)

If you changed your business mailing address or business location, notify the IRS by filing Form 8822, Change of Address. For information on how to change your address for deposit coupons, see Making deposits with FTD coupons in section 7.

Electronic payment.(p2)

Now, more than ever before, businesses can enjoy the benefits of paying their taxes electronically. Whether you rely on a tax professional or handle your own taxes, the IRS offers you convenient programs to make it easier.
Spend less time and worry on taxes and more time running your business. Use Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to your benefit.
For EFTPS, visit or call EFTPS Customer Service at 1-800-555-4477 (business) or 1-800-316-6541 (individual).
Use the electronic options available from IRS and make filing and paying taxes easier. For more information, see Publication 966, The Secure Way to Pay Your Federal Taxes.

Credit and debit card payments.(p2)

You can use your American Express® Card, Discover® Card, MasterCard® card, Visa® card, or debit card to pay the balance due shown on Form 943. To pay by credit or debit card, call the toll-free number or visit the website of any service provider listed below. You will be charged a convenience fee for this service. You can find out the amount of the fee by calling below or visiting the website.
Federal tax deposits cannot be paid by credit or debit cards. For more information, see Publication 3611, Electronic Payments.

When you hire a new employee.(p2)

Ask each new employee to complete the 2010 Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, or its Spanish version, Formulario W-4(SP), Certificado de Exención de Retenciones del Empleado. Also, ask the employee to show you his or her social security card so that you can record the employee's name and social security number accurately. If the employee has lost the card or recently changed names, have the employee apply for a duplicate or corrected card. If the employee does not have a card, have the employee apply for one on Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. See section 1 for more information.

Eligibility for employment.(p3)

You must verify that each new employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. This includes completing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You can get the form from USCIS offices or by calling 1-800-870-3676. Contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283, or visit the USCIS website at for more information.

New hire reporting.(p3)

You are required to report any new employee to a designated state new-hire registry. Many states accept a copy of Form W-4 with employer information added. Call the Office of Child Support Enforcement at 202-401-9267 (not toll free), or visit its website at for more information.

Forms in Spanish.(p3)

You can provide Formulario W-4(SP) in place of Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, to your Spanish-speaking employees. For more information, see Publicación 17(SP), El Impuesto Federal sobre los Ingresos (Para Personas Físicas). You may also provide Formulario W-5(SP), Certificado del Pago por Adelantado del Crédito por Ingreso del Trabajo, in place of Form W-5, Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificate.
For nonemployees, Formulario W-9(SP), Solicitud y Certificación del Número de Identificación del Contribuyente, may be used in place of Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.
References in this publication to Form W-4, Form W-5, or Form W-9 also apply to their equivalent Spanish translations—Formulario W-4(SP), Formulario W-5(SP), or 
Formulario W-9(SP).

Information returns.(p3)

You may be required to file information returns to report certain types of payments made during the year. For example, you must file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to report payments of $600 or more to persons not treated as employees (for example, independent contractors) for services performed for your trade or business. For details about filing Forms 1099 and for information about required electronic filing, see the 2010 General Instructions for Certain Information Returns (Forms 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, and W-2G) for general information and the separate, specific instructions for each information return that you file (for example, 2010 Instructions for Form 1099-MISC). Do not use Forms 1099 to report wages or other compensation that you paid to employees; report these amounts on Form W-2.
See the separate Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 for details about filing Forms W-2 and for information about required electronic filing. If you file 250 or more Forms W-2, you must file them electronically. SSA will not accept Forms W-2 and W-3 filed on any magnetic media.

Information reporting call site.(p3)

The IRS operates a centralized call site to answer questions about reporting on Forms W-2, W-3, 1099, and other information returns. If you have questions related to reporting on information returns, you may call 1-866-455-7438 (toll free) or 304-263-8700 (not toll free). Hearing-impaired individuals may use the TTY/TDD service at 304-267-3367 (not toll free). The call site can also be reached by email at

Private delivery services.(p3)

You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to send tax returns and payments. The list includes only the following.
Your private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.
Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box address.

Web-based application for an employer identification number (EIN).(p3)

You can apply for an employer identification number (EIN) online by visiting the IRS website at and selecting "Employer ID Numbers (EINs)."

When a crew leader furnishes workers to you.(p3)

Record the crew leader's name, address, and EIN. See sections 2, 10, and 11.

Contacting your Taxpayer Advocate.(p3)

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.
You can contact TAS by calling the TAS toll-free case intake line at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059 to see if you are eligible for assistance. You can also call or write to your local taxpayer advocate, whose phone number and address are listed in your local telephone directory and in Publication 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service – Your Voice at the IRS. You can file Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), or ask an IRS employee to complete it on your behalf. For more information, go to

Photographs of missing children.(p3)

The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.



The following are important dates and responsibilities. See section 7 for information about depositing taxes reported on Forms 941, 943, 944, and 945. Also see Publication 509, Tax Calendars.


If any date shown below falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is the next business day. A statewide legal holiday delays a filing due date only if the IRS office where you are required to file is located in that state. For any due date, you will meet the "file" or "furnish" requirement if the form is properly addressed and mailed First-Class or sent by an IRS-designated delivery service by the due date. See Private delivery services, earlier.

By January 31(p4)


By February 15(p4)

Ask for a new Form W-4 or Formulario W-4(SP) from each employee who claimed exemption from federal income tax withholding last year.

On February 16(p4)

Begin withholding federal income tax for any employee who previously claimed exemption from federal income tax withholding but has not given you a new Form W-4 for the current year. If the employee does not give you a new Form W-4, withhold as if he or she is single, with zero withholding allowances. The Form W-4 previously given to you claiming exemption is now expired. See section 5 for more information. However, if you have an earlier Form W-4 for this employee that is valid, withhold based on the earlier Form W-4.

By February 28(p4)


By March 31(p4)

File electronic Forms W-2 and 1099. File electronic Forms W-2 with the SSA and Forms 1099 with the IRS. For more information on reporting Form W-2 information to the SSA electronically, visit the SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information webpage at

By April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31(p4)

Deposit FUTA taxes. Deposit FUTA tax if the undeposited amount is over $500.

Before December 1(p4)

Remind employees to submit a new Form W-4 if their withholding allowances have changed or will change for the next year.

On December 31 (p4)

Form W-5, Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificate, expires. Eligible employees who want to receive advance payments of the earned income credit for the next year must give you a new Form W-5.


This publication is for employers of agricultural workers (farmworkers). It contains information that you may need to comply with the laws for agricultural labor (farmwork) relating to social security and Medicare taxes, FUTA tax, and withheld federal income tax (employment taxes). Agricultural employers report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld federal income tax on Form 943 and report FUTA tax on Form 940.
If you have nonfarm employees, see Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide. If you have employees in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, see Publication 80 (Circular SS). Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide, contains more employment-related information, including information about sick pay and pension income. Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, contains information about the employment tax treatment and valuation of various types of noncash compensation.

Telephone help.(p5)


You can call the IRS toll free with your employment tax questions at 1-800-829-4933.

Help for people with disabilities.(p5)


Telephone help is available using TTY/TDD equipment. You can call 1-800-829-4059 (toll free) with any question or to order forms and publications. See your tax package for the hours of operation.

COBRA premium assistance credit.(p5)


The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) provides certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. COBRA generally covers multiemployer health plans and health plans maintained by private-sector employers (other than churches) with 20 or more full and part-time employees. Parallel requirements apply to these plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Under the Public Health Service Act, COBRA requirements apply also to health plans covering state or local government employees. Similar requirements apply under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and under some state laws. For the premium assistance (or subsidy) discussed below, these requirements are all referred to as COBRA requirements.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) allows a credit against "payroll taxes" (referred to in this publication as "employment taxes") for providing COBRA premium assistance to assistance eligible individuals. For periods of COBRA continuation coverage beginning after February 16, 2009, a group health plan must treat an assistance eligible individual as having paid the required COBRA continuation coverage premium if the individual elects COBRA coverage and pays 35% of the amount of the premium.
An assistance eligible individual is a qualified beneficiary of an employer's group health plan who is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage during the period beginning September 1, 2008, and ending December 31, 2009, due to the involuntarily termination from employment of a covered employee during the period and elects continuation COBRA coverage. The assistance for the coverage can last up to 9 months. The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (DDAA) extended the end of the eligibilty period from December 31, 2009, to February 28, 2010. DDAA also extended the period of assistance from 9 months to 15 months.
Administrators of the group health plans (or other entities) that provide or administer COBRA continuation coverage must provide notice to assistance eligible individuals of the COBRA premium assistance. Any individual who became a COBRA premium assistance eligible individual on or after October 31, 2009, must be sent a notice about the extended provisions of DDAA.
The 65% of the premium not paid by the assistance eligible individual is reimbursed to the employer maintaining the group health plan. The reimbursement is made through a credit against the employer's employment tax liabilities. The employer takes the credit on line 13a of Form 943 once the 35% of the premium is paid by or on behalf of the assistance eligible individual. The credit is treated as a deposit made on the first day of the return period. In the case of a multiemployer plan, the credit is claimed by the plan, rather than the employer. In the case of an insured plan subject to state law continuation coverage requirements, the credit is claimed by the insurance company, rather than the employer.
Anyone claiming the credit for COBRA premium assistance payments must maintain the following information to support their claim, including the following.
For more information, visit the IRS website at and enter keywords COBRA Health Insurance Continuation Premium Subsidy.

Comments and suggestions.(p5)


We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Business Forms and Publications Branch 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at * (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.(p5)

See Quick and Easy Access to IRS Tax Help and Tax Products at the end of this publication. You can order your 2009 and 2010 employment tax and information return forms, instructions, and publications online at Select "Online Ordering for Information Returns and Employer Returns." You can also visit to download other forms and publications.
Instead of ordering paper Forms W-2 and W-3, consider filing them electronically using the Social Security Administration's (SSA) free e-file service. Visit SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information website at, select "Electronically File Your W-2s," and provide registration information. You will be able to create and file "fill-in" versions of Forms W-2 with SSA and can print out completed copies of Forms W-2 for filing with state and local governments, distribution to your employees, and for your records. Form W-3 will be created for you based on your Forms W-2.

Tax questions.(p6)

If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-4933 (businesses) or 1-800-829-1040 (individuals). We cannot answer tax questions sent the address provided earlier for comments and suggestions.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide
 15-A Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide
 15-B Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits
 225 Farmer's Tax Guide
 535 Business Expenses
 583 Starting a Business and Keeping Records
 1635 Understanding Your EIN

1. Taxpayer Identification Numbers(p6)


previous topic occurrence Individual Taxpayer Identification Number next topic occurrence

If you are required to withhold any federal income, social security, or Medicare taxes, you will need an employer identification number (EIN) for yourself. Also, you will need the social security number (SSN) of each employee and the name of each employee as shown on the employee's social security card.

Employer identification number (EIN).(p6)


An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that the IRS issues. The digits are arranged as follows: 00-0000000. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. Use your EIN on all of the items that you send to the IRS and SSA.
If you do not have an EIN, you may apply for one online. Go to the IRS website at Click on the tab for businesses and go to "Employer ID Numbers." Click on "Apply for an EIN online" and then "APPLY ONLINE NOW." You may also apply for an EIN by calling 1-800-829-4933, or you can fax or mail Form SS-4 to the IRS. Do not use a social security number (SSN) in place of an EIN.
If you do not have an EIN by the time a return is due, write "Applied For" and the date you applied for it in the space shown for the number. If you took over another employer's business, do not use that employer's EIN.
See Depositing without an EIN in section 7 if you must make a tax deposit and you do not have an EIN.
You should have only one EIN. If you have more than one, and are not sure which one to use, call the toll-free Business and Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933 (TTY/TDD users can call 1-800-829-4059). Provide the EINs that you have, the name and address to which each number was assigned, and the address of your principal place of business. The IRS will tell you which EIN to use.
For more information, see Publication 1635, Understanding Your EIN, or Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records.

When you receive your EIN.(p6)

If you are a new employer that indicated a federal tax obligation when requesting an EIN, you will be pre-enrolled in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). You will receive information in your Employer Identification Number (EIN) Package about Express Enrollment and an additional mailing containing your EFTPS personal identification number (PIN) and instructions for activating your PIN. Call the toll-free number located in your "How to Activate Your Enrollment" brochure to activate your enrollment and begin making your employment tax deposits. Be sure to tell your payroll provider about your EFTPS enrollment. Consider using EFTPS to make your other federal tax payments electronically as well. You should activate your EFTPS enrollment now even if you plan to deposit using FTD coupons (Form 8109) because it may take 5 to 6 weeks to receive the coupons and you may be required to make a deposit while waiting for them.

Social security number (SSN).(p6)


An employee's social security number (SSN) consists of nine digits arranged as follows: 000-00-0000. You must obtain each employee's name and SSN as shown on the employee's social security card because you must enter them on Form W-2. You may, but are not required to, photocopy the social security card if the employee provides it. If you do not show the employee's correct name and SSN on Form W-2, you may owe a penalty unless you have reasonable cause. See Publication 1586, Reasonable Cause Regulations and Requirements for Missing and Incorrect Name/TINs.

Applying for a social security card.(p6)


Any employee without a social security card can get one by completing Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, and submitting the necessary documentation to SSA. You can get Form SS-5 at SSA offices, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or from the SSA website at The employee must complete and sign Form SS-5; it cannot be filed by the employer. You may be asked to supply a letter to accompany Form SS-5 if the employee has exceeded his or her yearly or lifetime limit for the number of replacement cards allowed.

Applying for a social security number.(p7)


If you file Form W-2 on paper and your employee has applied for an SSN but does not have one when you must file Form W-2, enter "Applied For" on the form. If you are filing electronically, enter all zeros (000-00-0000) in the social security number field. When the employee receives the SSN, file Copy A of Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, with the SSA to show the employee's SSN. Furnish Copies B, C, and 2 of Form W-2c to the employee. Up to five Forms W-2c per Form W-3c, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements, may be created and submitted to the SSA over the Internet. For more information, visit SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information webpage at Advise your employee to correct the SSN on his or her original Form W-2.

Correctly record the employee's name.(p7)


Record the name and number of each employee as they are shown on the employee's social security card. If the employee's name is not correct as shown on the card (for example, because of marriage or divorce), the employee should request a corrected card from the SSA. Continue to report the employee's wages under the old name until he or she shows you an updated social security card with the new name.
If SSA issues the employee a replacement card after a name change, or a new card with a different social security number after a change in alien work status, file a Form W-2c to correct the name/SSN reported on the most recently filed Form W-2. It is not necessary to correct other years if the previous name and SSN were used for years before the most recent Form W-2.

IRS individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) for aliens.(p7)


Do not accept an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) in place of an SSN for either employee identification or for work. An ITIN is issued for use by resident and nonresident aliens who need identification for tax purposes, but who are not eligible for U.S. employment. The ITIN is a nine-digit number formatted like an SSN (for example, NNN-NN-NNNN). However, it begins with the number "9" and has either a "7" or "8" as the fourth digit (for example, 9NN-7N-NNNN or 9NN-8N-NNNN).
An individual with an ITIN who later becomes eligible to work in the United States must obtain an SSN. If the individual is currently eligible to work in the United States, instruct the individual to apply for an SSN and follow the instructions under Applying for a social security number, earlier. Do not use an ITIN in place of an SSN on Form W-2.

Verification of social security numbers.(p7)


The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides several ways for employers and authorized reporting agents to verify employee social security numbers (SSNs). These services may be used for wage reporting purposes only.

Registering for SSNVS and TNEV.(p7)

You must register online and receive authorization from your employer to use SSNVS or TNEV. You cannot register through TNEV. To register, visit SSA's website at and click on the Business Services Online link. Follow the registration instructions to obtain a user identification (ID) and password. You will need to provide the following information about yourself and your company. When you have completed the online registration process, SSA will mail a one-time activation code to your employer. You must enter the activation code online to use SSNVS or TNEV.