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Publication 51

10. Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax(p20)

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. For a list of state unemployment agencies, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's website at Only the employer pays FUTA tax; it is not withheld from the employees' wages. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 940.
For 2015, you must file Form 940, 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-2A" visa workers. However, wages paid to "H-2A" 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 by EFT. The deposit rules for FUTA tax are different from those for income, social security, and Medicare taxes. See Deposit rules for FUTA tax, later in this section.

FUTA tax rate.(p20)

The FUTA tax rate is 6.0% for 2015. The tax applies to the first $7,000 you pay to each employee as wages during the year. The $7,000 is the federal wage base. Your state wage base may be different. Generally, you can take a credit against your FUTA tax for amounts you paid into state unemployment funds. The credit may be as much as 5.4% of wages subject to FUTA tax. If you are entitled to the maximum 5.4% credit, the FUTA tax rate after credit is 0.6%. You are entitled to the maximum credit if you paid your state unemployment taxes in full, on time, and on all the same wages as are subject to FUTA tax, and as long as the state is not determined to be a credit reduction state. See the Instructions for Form 940 to determine the credit.
In some states, the wages subject to state unemployment tax are the same as the wages subject to FUTA tax. However, certain states exclude some types of wages from state unemployment tax, even though they are subject to FUTA tax (for example, wages paid to corporate officers, certain payments of sick pay by unions, and certain fringe benefits). In such a case, you may be required to deposit more than 0.6% FUTA tax on those wages. See the Instructions for Form 940 for further guidance.

Successor employer.(p20)

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.(p20)

Generally, deposit FUTA tax quarterly. To figure your FUTA tax, multiply .006 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 by EFT 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.
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. If you file Form 940 electronically, you can e-file and e-pay (EFW). For more information on paying your taxes with a credit or debit card or using EFW, visit the IRS website at

Filing Form 940.(p20)

By January 31, file Form 940. If you make deposits on time in full payment of the tax due for the year, you may file Form 940 by February 10.
You may download a copy of Form 940 and Instructions for Form 940 from You may also request a copy by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) in time to receive it and file when due.