A g r i c u l t u r a l   E m p l o y e r   C h e c k I i s t

Updated September 2007

Nancy Harms – Telfarm Training Coordinator, 517-355-4700, harmsn@msu.edu or http://www.canr.msu.edu/telfarm

Dr. Vera Bitsch – Associate Professor, Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics bitsch@msu.edu,
http://www.msu.edu/user/bitsch, 517-353-9192


Get FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number)

·       Fill out form SS-4; this form assigns a 9 digit FEIN to the employer

·       IRS will send you the required preprinted deposit slips to begin making Social Security and Federal Tax Withholding deposits through your local bank

·       Call IRS, 1-800-TAX-FORM or 1-800-829-1040 or http://www.irs.gov/

Form UC 518 (Registration for Michigan Taxes)

·       This form registers you to withhold State income tax from employees’ wages and the State will send you the forms for making State tax deposits

·       1-800-367-6263 or http://www.michigan.gov/treasury

I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility and Identity Verification): Employer is required to keep on file

·       Requires proof of identity and eligibility for work in the U.S. of each prospective employee

·       Get form and instructions from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
http://www.uscis.gov/ or 1-800-375-5283 (National Call Center)

W-4 and MI-W4, both Federal and Michigan (Employee’s Withholding Exemption Form):

Employer is required to keep on file

·       Establishes employee’s name, address, SS#, marital status and number of exemptions

·       IRS, 1-800-TAX FORM or 1-800-829-4933 assistance for businesses

·       Federal W-4: http://www.irs.gov/; State MI-W4: http://www.michigan.gov/treasury

Michigan “New Hire” Report

·       Complete and send within 20 days of hiring or rehiring an employee

·       Get forms, 1-800-524-9846 or http://mi-newhire.com/MI-Newhire/

Workers Compensation Insurance

·       Covers work related injuries and illness; purchase coverage from a private insurer

·       Michigan Bureau of Workers’ and Unemployment Compensation
http://www.michigan.gov/wca/ or 1-888-396-5041

Display Posters

·       Required posters must be prominently displayed in employees’ language(s)

·       Order poster package from Michigan Farm Bureau, 1-800-292-2680 Ext. 2311


Pay at least Michigan Minimum Wage ($7.40/hour; subject to change): few exceptions

Withhold 6.2% (Social Security, OASDI) and 1.45% (Medicare) from each employee’s gross paycheck
Total 7.65% (see exceptions in Circular A, Publication 51 and Circular E, Publication 15)

Withhold Federal Income Tax (FITW) using tax table in Circular E, Publication 15

Deposit employee’s share of Social Security and Medicare withheld plus matching employer’s contribution (Total 15.3%) to local depositor bank with coupon book sent to you by IRS, include the employee’s share of Federal tax withheld in the deposit amount and check the 943 box; deposits can also be made electronically (EFTPS) after obtaining a PIN number from the IRS

Withhold State Income Tax from employee’s wages according to tax guide P.A. 281 (see references)

Deposit State taxes withheld from employees’ wages to the State of Michigan using the State deposit coupon book provided to you after completing Form UC 518


Detailed statement of earnings with paycheck which must include: Employee’s name, address, hours worked, pay basis, pay period dates, current and cumulative earnings and withholdings, deductions and purpose, piece rate units and hours, employer’s name, address and FEIN

Employee must sign agreement for any deductions other than required by tax or court mandates

Employee’s copies of annual W-2 wage statement by January 31 of the following year


W-3 – Summation of all W-2 forms with all Copy A of W-2 forms to SSA by 2/28

IRS Form 943 – Summarizing all agricultural wages and Federal/SS deposits, due by 1/31

Annual State (Sales, Use, & Withholding) Form due with all Copy I of W2s by 2/28


State and Federal Unemployment: Required if gross payroll in agricultural business exceeds $20,000 in a calendar quarter, or if 10 or more workers during any 20 weeks in a calendar year

·       Must complete Form UC 518 to get unemployment authorization number

·       Submit Forms UIC 1017 and UIC 1020 quarterly

·       1-800-638-3994 or http://www.michigan.gov/uia/

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)

·       Anyone who resides away from permanent residence and those working seasonally in agriculture

·       Small business exemption and if owner and/or immediate family perform all regulated functions

·       Also regulates crew leaders and farm labor contractors

·       Subject to additional regulations

·        http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/mspa/index.htm

Labor and Economic Growth, State and Federal laws and regulations

·       OSHA/MIOSHA safety requirements and inspections

·       Youth employment restrictions

·       Medical, disability and termination restrictions

·       http://www.michigan.gov/cis

Michigan Department of Agriculture

·       Pesticides and Plant Pest Management Division: Worker Protection Standards, certification

·       http://www.michigan.gov/mda


Every farm operation that employs workers should keep a current copy of the following publications

Available through IRS, 1-800-829-3676 or http://www.irs.gov/

·       IRS Publication 51 – Circular A, Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide

·       IRS Publication 15 – Circular E, Federal Tax Withholding Contribution Rate Schedule

·       IRS Publication 225 – Farmer’s Tax Guide

·       446 Michigan Income Tax Withholding Guide at http://www.michigan.gov/treasury

Other References and Contacts

·       Extension Bulletin E2966 – Labor Laws and Michigan Agriculture by Susan Reed and Vera Bitsch at http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/intro.cfm

·       Michigan Farm Bureau - RCAP Manual (Regulatory Compliance Assistance Program)
Craig Anderson, 1-800-292-2680 Extension 2311 or http://www.michiganfarmbureau.com/

·       Michigan Migrant and Seasonal Farm Worker Program, http://www.michaglabor.org/

·       Social Security Administration, 1-800-772-6270 or http://www.ssa.gov/employer

·       U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division,
1-866-4-USA-DOL or http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/ or
517-322-1825 in Lansing

Disclaimer: This publication contains information on the laws and regulations of concern for Michigan agricultural employers. It is not an all-inclusive listing. It does not constitute a legal document and the publishers assume no liability for actions taken based on the information provided. It is a reference for general educational use. Information is taken from reliable sources as of September 2007. It is the employer’s responsibility to keep abreast of current laws and changes.


MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

Last updated September 29, 2008

Vera Bitsch' Homepage

Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics

Michigan State University