General Instructions

Purpose of Form 943

These instructions give you some background information about Form 943. They tell you who must file Form 943, how to complete it line by line, and when and where to file it.

If you want more in-depth information about payroll tax topics relating to Form 943, see Pub. 51 or visit and enter “employment taxes” in the search box.

Federal law requires you, as an employer, to withhold taxes from your employees' pay. Each time you pay wages, you must withhold - or take out of your employees' pay - certain amounts for federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax. You must also withhold Additional Medicare Tax from wages you pay to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. Under the withholding system, taxes withheld from your employees are credited to your employees in payment of their tax liabilities.

Federal law also requires you to pay any liability for the employer's portion of social security tax and Medicare tax. This portion of social security tax and Medicare tax isn't withheld from employees.

If you have household employees working in your private home on your farm operated for a profit, they aren't considered to be farm employees. To report social security tax, Medicare tax, Additional Medicare Tax, and federal income tax withholding on the wages of household employees, you may either: 

  • File Schedule H (Form 1040) with your Form 1040, or

  • Include the wages with your farm employees' wages on Form 943.

If you paid wages to a household employee in a home that isn't on a for-profit farm, you must report the taxes on Schedule H (Form 1040). If you paid wages to other nonfarm workers, don't report these on Form 943. Taxes on wages paid to nonfarm workers are reported on Form 941 or 941-SS, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, or Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return. See Pub. 926 for more information about household employees.

Who Must File

File Form 943 if you paid wages to one or more farmworkers and the wages were subject to social security and Medicare taxes or federal income tax withholding under the tests discussed below. For more information on farmworkers and wages, see Pub. 51.

The $150 Test or the $2,500 Test

All cash wages that you pay to farmworkers are subject to social security and Medicare taxes and federal income tax withholding for any calendar year for which you meet either of the tests listed below. 

  • You pay an employee cash wages of $150 or more in a year for farmwork.

  • The total (cash and noncash) wages that you pay to all farmworkers is $2,500 or more.

If the $2,500-or-more test for the group isn't met, the $150-or-more test for an individual still applies.


Special rules apply to certain hand-harvest laborers who receive less than $150 in annual cash wages. For more information, see section 4 of Pub. 51.

When To File

For 2015, file Form 943 by February 1, 2016. However, if you made deposits on time in full payment of the taxes due for the year, you may file the return by February 10, 2016.

Final Return

If you stop paying wages during the year and don't expect to pay wages again, file a final return for 2015. Be sure to mark the box above line 1 on the form indicating that you don't have to file returns in the future. If you later become liable for any of the taxes, notify the IRS.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If you don't have an EIN, you may apply for one online. Go to and enter “EIN” in the search box. You may also apply for an EIN by faxing or mailing Form SS-4 to the IRS. If you haven't received your EIN by the due date of Form 943, write "Applied For" and the date you applied in this entry space.

Forms W-2 and W-3

By February 1, 2016, give Form W-2 to each employee who was working for you at the end of 2015. If an employee stops working for you before the end of the year, give him or her Form W-2 any time after employment ends but no later than February 1, 2016. If the employee asks you for Form W-2, give him or her the completed form within 30 days of the request or the last wage payment, whichever is later.

Compensation paid to H-2A visa holders.    Report compensation of $600 or more paid to foreign agricultural workers who entered the country on H-2A visas in box 1 of Form W-2. Compensation paid to H-2A workers for agricultural labor performed in connection with H-2A visas isn't subject to social security and Medicare taxes, and therefore shouldn't be reported as wages subject to social security tax (line 2), Medicare tax (line 4), or Additional Medicare Tax withholding (line 6) on Form 943, and shouldn't be reported as social security wages (box 3) or Medicare wages (box 5) on Form W-2.

  An employer isn't required to withhold federal income tax from compensation it pays to an H-2A worker for agricultural labor performed in connection with this visa unless the worker asks for withholding and the employer agrees. In this case, the worker must give the employer a completed Form W-4. Federal income tax withheld is reported on Form 943, line 8, and in box 2 of Form W-2. These reporting rules apply when the H-2A worker provides his or her taxpayer identification number (TIN) to the employer. For the rules relating to backup withholding and reporting when the H-2A worker doesn't provide a TIN, see the Instructions for Form 1099-MISC and the Instructions for Form 945.

Filing on paper forms.   By February 29, 2016, send Copy A of all Forms W-2 with Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, to the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are filing less than 250 paper Forms W-2. The mailing address can be found on Form W-3 under Where To File Paper Forms. If you are required to file 250 or more Forms W-2, you must file them electronically unless the IRS granted you a waiver. Even if you are required to file less than 250 Forms W-2, we encourage you to take advantage of electronic filing.

Filing electronically.   Visit the SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information website at for information about filing Forms W-2 electronically. If you file electronically, the due date is March 31, 2016. The SSA no longer accepts any form of magnetic media for wage reporting. The SSA prepares Form W-3 based on your electronically filed Form W-2; a separate Form W-3 is not needed.

Where To File

Find the state of your legal residence, principal place of business, office, or agency in the table that follows. Send your return to the address listed for your location.


Where you file depends on whether or not you are including a payment. Be sure to use the correct address.

If you are in . . . Without a  
payment . . .
With a payment . . .
District of Columbia 
New Hampshire
New Jersey  
New York  
North Carolina  
Rhode Island  
South Carolina  
West Virginia  
Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service  
Cincinnati, OH  
Internal Revenue Service  
P.O. Box 804523 
Cincinnati, OH 
New Mexico  
North Dakota  
South Dakota  
Department of the Treasury  
Internal Revenue Service  
Ogden, UT  
Internal Revenue Service  
P.O. Box 37943  
Hartford, CT 
No legal residence or principal place of business in any state: Internal Revenue Service  
P.O. Box 409101 
Ogden, UT 
Internal Revenue Service  
P.O. Box 37943  
Hartford, CT 
If you are filing Form 943 for an exempt organization or government entity (federal, state, local, or Indian tribal government), use the following addresses regardless of your location: Department of the Treasury  
Internal Revenue Service  
Ogden, UT  
Internal Revenue Service  
P.O. Box 37943  
Hartford, CT 

Reconciliation of Form 943 to Forms W-2 and W-3

Certain amounts reported on Form 943 for 2015 should agree with the Form W-2 totals reported on the 2015 Form W-3. The amounts from Form 943 that should agree with the related boxes on Form W-3 are: federal income tax withheld (line 8 and box 2), social security wages (line 2 and box 3), and Medicare wages (line 4 and box 5). If the amounts do not agree, you may be contacted by the IRS or the SSA. For more information, see section 11 of Pub. 51. Keep all records that show why the totals don't match.

Depositing Taxes

If your total taxes after adjustments (line 11) are less than $2,500 for the year, you can pay the tax due with your return if you file on time. If your total taxes after adjustments are $2,500 or more for the year, you must make deposits by EFT throughout the year in accordance with your deposit schedule. There are two deposit schedules—monthly or semiweekly—for determining when you must deposit. Before the beginning of each calendar year, you must determine which of the two deposit schedules you must use. See section 7 of Pub. 51 for information and rules concerning federal tax deposits and to determine your status as a monthly or semiweekly schedule depositor.

Penalties and Interest

You can avoid paying penalties and interest if you do all of the following.

  • Deposit or pay your taxes when they are due.

  • File your fully completed Form 943 on time.

  • Report your tax liability accurately.

  • Submit valid checks for tax payments.

  • Furnish accurate Forms W-2 to employees.

  • File Form W-3 and Copies A of Form W-2 with the SSA on time and accurately.

Penalties and interest are charged on taxes paid late and returns filed late at a rate set by law. See sections 7 and 8 of Pub. 51 for details.

If you receive a notice about a penalty after you file this return, reply to the notice with an explanation and we will determine if you meet reasonable-cause criteria. Don't attach an explanation when you file your return.

Use Form 843 to request abatement of assessed penalties or interest. Don't request abatement of assessed penalties or interest on Form 943 or Form 943-X.

If federal income, social security, and Medicare taxes that must be withheld (that is, trust fund taxes) aren't withheld or aren't paid to the United States Treasury, the trust fund recovery penalty may apply. The penalty is 100% of the unpaid trust fund tax. This penalty may apply to you if these unpaid taxes can't be immediately collected from the employer or business. The trust fund recovery penalty may be imposed on all persons who are determined by the IRS to be responsible for collecting, accounting for, or paying over these taxes, and who acted willfully in not doing so. See section 7 of Pub. 51 for more information.

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