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10. Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax(p21)


previous topic occurrence Unemployment Tax, Federal next topic occurrence

The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), with state unemployment systems, provides for payments of unemployment compensation to workers who have lost their jobs. Most employers pay both a federal and a state unemployment tax. A list of state unemployment agencies, including web addresses and phone numbers, is available in the Instructions for Form 940. Only the employer pays FUTA tax; it is not withheld from the employees' wages. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 940.
For 2010, you must file Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return, if you:
To determine whether you meet either test above, you must count wages paid to aliens admitted on a temporary basis to the United States to perform farmwork, also known as "H-2(A)" visa workers. However, wages paid to "H-2(A)" visa workers are not subject to the FUTA tax.
Generally, farmworkers supplied by a crew leader are considered employees of the farm operator for purposes of the FUTA tax unless (a) the crew leader is registered under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, or (b) substantially all of the workers supplied by the crew leader operate or maintain tractors, harvesting or crop-dusting machines, or other machines provided by the crew leader. Therefore, if (a) or (b) applies, the farmworkers are generally employees of the crew leader.
You must deposit FUTA tax with an authorized financial institution. If you are subject to the electronic deposit requirements, you must use EFTPS. See section 7 for more information on deposits. The deposit rules for FUTA tax are different from those for income, social security, and Medicare taxes. See Deposit rules for FUTA tax, later.

FUTA tax rate.(p21)


For 2009 and 2010, the FUTA tax rate is 6.2% on the first $7,000 of cash wages you pay to each employee. You may receive a credit of up to 5.4% of FUTA wages for the state unemployment tax that you pay. If your state tax rate (experience rate) is less than 5.4%, you are still allowed the full 5.4% credit. Therefore, your net FUTA tax rate may be as low as 0.8% (.008). FUTA tax applies, however, even if you are exempt from state unemployment tax or your employees are ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits. Form 940 takes state credits into account.

Successor employer.(p21)


If you have acquired a business from someone else, you may be able to claim a special credit as a successor employer. See the Instructions for Form 940.

Deposit rules for FUTA tax.(p21)


Generally, deposit FUTA tax quarterly. To figure your FUTA tax, multiply .008 times the amount of wages paid to each employee during the quarter. This amount may need to be adjusted, however, depending on your entitlement to the credit for state unemployment contributions. See the Instructions for Form 940. When an employee's wages reach $7,000, do not figure any additional FUTA tax for that employee. If the FUTA tax for the quarter (plus any undeposited FUTA tax from prior quarters) is more than $500, deposit the FUTA tax with an authorized financial institution, or by using EFTPS as explained in section 7, by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. If the amount is $500 or less, you do not have to deposit it, but you must add it to the amount of tax for the next quarter to determine whether a deposit is required for that quarter. To help ensure proper crediting to your account, write your EIN, "Form 940," and the tax period the deposit applies to on your check or money order.
If your liability for the fourth quarter (plus any undeposited amount from any earlier quarter) is over $500, deposit the entire amount by the due date of Form 940 (January 31). If it is $500 or less, you can make a deposit, pay the tax with a major credit card, debit card, or pay the tax with a check or money order with your Form 940 by January 31. Federal tax deposits cannot be paid by credit or debit cards.

Filing Form 940.(p22)


By January 31, file Form 940. If you make deposits on time in full payment of the tax due for the year, you have 10 additional days to file.
Once you have filed a Form 940, you will receive a preaddressed form near the end of each calendar year. If you do not receive a form, request one by calling 1-800-829-4933 in time to receive it and file when due. Alternatively, you may download a copy of Form 940 and Instructions for Form 940 from the IRS website at