DEFINITION of 'IRS Publication 51 '

A document published by the Internal Revenue Service that provides the employers of agricultural workers with guidance on how to comply with tax withholdings. Farm employers are sometimes required to register with the U.S. Department of Labor, and are not allowed to label farm employees as independent contractors. Agricultural employers are to report each individual employee's Social Security, Medicare and federal income taxes on Form 943, and Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) on Form 940. Both forms are due by January 31.

BREAKING DOWN 'IRS Publication 51 '

Most farm workers pay Social Security and other federal taxes, just like non-agricultural employees. Foreign agricultural workers in the United States with H-2A visas are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. Payments made to foreign workers are not considered wages and thus do not have income taxes withheld, but are reported on Form 1099-MISC and still are taxed.


More information about taxes for agricultural workers can be found in Publication 225 (Farmer's Tax Guide). Employers of non-agricultural workers should refer to Publication 15 (Employer's Tax Guide), Publication 15-A (Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide) and Publication 15-B (Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits).

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