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Publication 51

12. How Do Employment Taxes Apply to Farmwork?(p22)

Type of employmentIncome Tax Withholding, Social Security, and Medicare (including Additional Medicare Tax when wages are paid in excess of $200,000) Federal Unemployment Tax
Farm Employment Includes:  
1. Cultivating soil; raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity; the care of livestock, poultry, bees, fur-bearing animals, or wildlife. Taxable if $150 test or $2,500 test is met. See section 4. Taxable if either test in section 10 is met.
2. Work on a farm if major farm duties are in management or maintenance, etc., of farm tools or equipment or salvaging timber, or clearing brush or other debris, left by hurricane.
3. Work in connection with the production and harvesting of turpentine and other oleoresinous products.
4. Cotton ginning.
5. Operating or maintenance of ditches, reservoirs, canals, or waterways used only for supplying or storing water for farming purposes and not owned or operated for profit.
6. Processing, packaging, etc., any commodity in its unmanufactured state if employed by farm operator who produced over half of commodity processed or by group of up to 20 unincorporated farm operators if they produced all the commodity.*
7. Hatching poultry on a farm.
8. Production or harvesting of maple syrup on a farm.
Farm Employment Doesn't Include:  
1. Handling or processing commodities after delivery to terminal market for commercial canning or freezing. Taxable under general employment rules. Farm rules don't apply.Taxable under general FUTA rules. Farm rules don't apply.
2. Operating or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs or waterways not meeting tests in (5) above.
3. Processing, packaging, delivering, etc., any commodity in its unmanufactured state if group of farm operators don't meet the tests in (6) above.
4. Household employment.  
Special Employment Situations:  
1. Services not in the course of employer's trade or business on farm operated for profit (cash payments only).Taxable if $150 test or $2,500 test is met (see section 4), unless performed by parent employed by child. Taxable only if $50 or more is paid in a quarter and employee works on 24 or more different days in current or prior quarter.
2. Workers admitted under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act on a temporary basis to perform agricultural labor ("H-2A" workers). Exempt.Exempt.
3. Family employment.Exempt for employer's child under age 18, but counted for $150 test or $2,500 test. Taxable for spouse of employer.Exempt if services performed by employer's parent or spouse or by employer's child under age 21.
*For federal unemployment tax, farmwork includes workers employed by a group of operators, if they produce more than one-half of the commodity.