Finances and Taxes

What is Form 943 and How Do I Fill it Out?

Paige Smith  
An Asian person on a phone looks at a document

If you have an agricultural business, you need to understand IRS Form 943 for tax purposes. Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Form 943, including who should fill it out, how to do it, and when to file. 

What is Form 943? 

IRS Form 943, also known as the Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees, is a tax form that outlines the amount of taxes you withheld from your agricultural employees. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act defines an agricultural employee as someone who does farming work or whose job is performed on a farm in conjunction with farming operations. If someone works on a farm but has a job that isn’t incidental to or in conjunction with your farming operations, they don’t count as an agricultural employee. 

Do you need to file Form 943? 

You need to file Form 943 if you paid wages to one or more agricultural employees, and those wages were subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes or federal income tax withholding. The cash wages you give your agricultural employees are subject to withholding if at least one of the following scenarios is true: 

  • You paid individual employees cash wages of $150 or more in a calendar year for farm work
  • The total (cash and non-cash) wages you paid to all farm workers is $2,500 or more

If the total wages you paid to all your agricultural employees don’t exceed $2,500, but you still paid one or more individuals $150 each, you have to file Form 943. On the other hand, if you didn’t pay individual farm workers $150 or more in a year, but you still paid $2,500 or more to all your workers combined, you have to file Form 943. 

What about Form 941? 

IRS Form 941 is the annual tax return form that most businesses file, whether they have agricultural employees or not. If you have agricultural and non-agricultural employees, you’ll probably have to file both Form 941 and 943. 

What information do you need to fill out Form 943? 

To fill out Form 943, you need your employer identification number (EIN), your legal name, and your business address. If you don’t already have an EIN, you can apply for one online. You also need the following information on hand:

How do you fill out Form 943?

Before you fill out the form, take the time to gather all your business documents and tax records. Make sure you fill out all three pages of the form and include your signature. As you fill out the form, keep the following rules in mind: 

  • Don’t enter dollar signs or decimal points. Commas are optional. 
  • Enter dollars to the left of the pre-printed line and cents to the right of it. 
  • Don’t round entries to whole dollars. Always write out the amount of cents, even if it’s zero. 
  • Enter any negative amounts using a minus sign. If you can’t, use parentheses. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to filling out each page of Form 943:

Page 1

IRS Form 943 Page 1
  • Download or print the form
  • Fill out your name, EIN, and address at the top. 
  • Line 1: List the number of agricultural employees you paid in the pay period that includes March 12, 2021. 
  • Line 2: Enter total wages subject to Social Security tax. Add any qualified family sick leave or family leave wages.  
  • Line 3: Multiply the amount in Line 2 by 12.4% to calculate the Social Security tax. 
  • Line 4: Enter the total wages paid to employees during the calendar year that were subject to Medicare tax. 
  • Line 5: Multiply the amount in Line 4 by 2.9% to calculate the total Medicare tax amount.
  • Line 6: Enter the total wages subject to Additional Medicare tax withholding.  
  • Line 7: Multiply the amount in Line 6 by 0.9% to calculate the total Additional Medicare tax amount. 
  • Line 8: Enter the amount of federal income tax withheld from employees. 
  • Line 9: Enter the total taxes before adjustments. You can do this by adding up Lines 3, 3a, 3b, 5, 7, and 8.
  • Line 10: Enter any tax adjustments for the current year, such as adjustments for sick pay. 
  • Line 11: Enter the total taxes after adjustments by adding up Lines 9 and 10. 
  • Line 12: If you qualify for the Credit for Increasing Research Activities, fill out Form 8974 and the remaining sub-lines. 
  • Line 13: Enter the total taxes after adjustments and credits by subtracting Line 12g from Line 11. 

Page 2

IRS Form 943 page 2
  • Line 14: Enter any deposits you made during the calendar year. 
  • Line 15: If Line 13 is more than Line 14j, enter the difference. 
  • Line 16: If Line 14j is more than Line 13, enter the difference.  
  • If Line 13 is less than $2,500, you don’t need to complete section 17 or fill out Form 943-A. However, if Line 13 was $2,500 or more, you need to fill out the rest of this section depending as follows: 
  • If you’re a semiweekly schedule depositor, fill out form 943-A and check the box. 
  • If you’re a monthly schedule depositor, complete section 17 and check the box. 
  • Line 18: Enter the amount of qualified health plan expenses you allocated to qualified sick leave wages for sick time taken before April 1, 2021. 
  • Line 19: Enter the amount of qualified health plan expenses you allocated to qualified  family leave wages for leave taken before April 1, 2021. 
  • Line 20: Enter the amount of qualified wages for the Employee Retention Credit. 
  • Line 21: Enter the amount of qualified health plan expenses for the Employee Retention Credit. 

Page 3

IRS Form 943 page 3
  • Line 22: Enter the amount of qualified sick leave wages for leave taken after March 31, 2021. 
  • Line 23: Enter the amount of qualified health plan expenses allocable to qualified sick leave wages reported on Line 22. 
  • Line 24: Enter the amounts under certain collectively bargained agreements allocable to qualified sick leave wages reported on Line 22. 
  • Line 25: Enter the amount of qualified family leave wages for leave taken after March 31, 2021. 
  • Line 26: Enter the amount of qualified health plan expenses allocable to qualified family leave wages reported on Line 25. 
  • Line 27: Enter the amounts under certain collectively bargained agreements allocable to qualified family leave wages reported on Line 25.
  • Line 28: If you’re eligible for the Employee Retention Credit in the third quarter solely because your business is a recovery startup business, enter the total of any amounts included on lines 12c and 14e for the third quarter. 
  • Line 29: If you’re eligible for the Employee Retention Credit in the fourth quarter solely because your business is a recovery startup business, enter the total of any amounts included on lines 12c and 14e for the fourth quarter.
  • Third-party designee: If you want to let a third party—like your business accountant—discuss your return with the IRS, check the box and add the corresponding information. 
  • Sign and date the form, then print your name and title. 

When do you need to file Form 943? 

You need to file Form 943 annually by January 31. You file the form once each calendar year every year. 

How can you file the form? 

You have two options for filing Form 943: electronically or by mail. If you want to file online, you can either search for a tax professional to guide you through the process or use your business’s payroll software for a seamless process. 

If you want to mail the form, the address you send it to depends on which state your business is in and if you’re sending payment with the form. See the IRS’ list of mailing addresses

Updated: May 14, 2022

Paige Smith
Paige Smith Paige is a content marketing writer specializing in business, finance, and tech. She regularly writes for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies and small business lenders. See more of her work here:

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