19: Payroll and Worker Documentation

19: Payroll and Worker Documentation

Employee or Independent Contractor

Hiring labor in the State of New York imposes high liabilities and paperwork burdens on the employer.  Because of this, employers may be tempted to classify their workers as independent contractors, but a person is only an independent contractor when he or she is legitimately an individual in business for himself and for hire to the general public.  If there is any ambiguity on the status of the individual, courts generally interpret the individual as being an employee. If you would like a decision on if the individual is an employee or an independent contractor, file the following form with the IRS:

IRS Form SS-8: Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding

Hiring Forms: I-9


Employers must keep an I-9 form from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service on file for all employees. The I-9 requires copies of documentation (a driver’s license and social security card for most), and the employer should closely follow the exact instructions on the form.

Payroll Service

Given the complexities and liabilities of properly administering payroll, it is recommended that small employers hire a payroll service. This can assist the farmer with deadlines, proper handling of accounts, and avoid the need for the farmer to stay current with changing procedures.

Reference Publications:

IRS Publication 51, Agricultural Employers Tax GuideReference publication explaining federal regulations and contains a calendar of when forms need to be filed throughout the year.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p51.pdf
NYS Publication 50, Employers Guide
to Unemployment Insurance, Wage Reporting, and Withholding Tax
State Reference Publicationhttps://on.ny.gov/2Mmlyt4
Agricultural Employer’s Checklist 2014Cornell Cooperative Extension publication that goes through the employee hiring process step by stephttp://bit.ly/CSFPemployerchecklist
Multiple available from Farm CommonsFarm Commons has several publications that help farmers with both the decision-making process and logistics of hiring employeeswww.farmcommons.org

Fact Sheet Overview

    Which Forms to File

    Which specific forms your farm is required to file depends upon the farm size and the specifics of your operation. We recommend that you seek the advice of a payroll specialist and read the reference publications listed above to determine which forms are required for your operation.

    If you decide to do payroll on your own, a list of forms you should become familiar with follows. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the forms your operation needs to be compliant.

    Payroll Forms

    Form SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN)Your business must obtain an EIN if you have employees or will file for other taxes such as excise taxes.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf
    Form NYS-100 New York State Employer Registration for Unemployment Insurance, Withholding, and Wage ReportingTo be filed when you become an employer. You will be assigned an Employer Registration Number, which is separate from your federal EIN.http://www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/ui/nys100.pdf
    W-2Form stating wages and withholdings made for an employee throughout the year. A copy is sent to the employee, the Social Security Administration, the IRS, the NYS Department of Taxation, and to county/local governments that have an income tax such as New York City.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw2.pdf
    W-3Similar to the W-2, filed with the Social Security Administration.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw3.pdf
    W-4Form filled out when an employee starts so that their employer knows to withhold the correct amount of taxes.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf
    Form NYS-45 Quarterly Combined Withholding, Wage Reporting,
    and Unemployment Insurance Return
    State form to be filed quarterly.https://on.ny.gov/36SXyVx
    Form 940 Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax ReturnRequired if you had cash wages greater than $20,000 or employed 10 or more workers throughout the day for 20 or more weeks in the year.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f940.pdf
    Form 941 Employers Quarterly Federal Tax ReturnRequired to report wages paid, tips received, federal taxes withheld, Social Security and Medicare withholding, and advance EIC payments for non-farm workers.www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f941.pdf
    Form 943 Employers Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural EmployeesForm 941 for farms.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f943x.pdf
    Form 1099Must be furnished to people who received $600 or more in non-employee compensation throughout the year.Instructions:
    Form 945 Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income TaxUsed to report income tax withheld for non-payroll wages.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f945x.pdf
    Form 4029 Application for Exemption From Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Waiver of BenefitCertain members of religious organizations (generally
    Amish or Mennonite in agriculture) may file this form to exempt themselves (and their employer) from Social Security and Medicare taxes.