Written by attorney C. C. Abbott

Immigration: The H-2A Visa Holder and Tax Obligations

The H-2A visa is provided to farm workers who under the United States as guest workers and are required by the visa regulations to work solely for the farmer, farm labor contractor, or growers association who applied and received a DOL certification for such guest workers.

The H-2A visa holders have unique Federal Tax rules that are applied to their employment based on their immigration status. H-2A workers will receive a Tax Form 1099 from the DOL certified employer for each year the guest worker is employed of that employer. The Form 1099 is mandatory for each H-2A worker, unlike other workers who will receive a W-2 forms.

Another important distinction between the H-2A guest worker and other workers is the fact the H-2A workers are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. The DOL certified employer is never to deduct either Social Security or Medicare taxes from the H-2A worker's salary.

Thirdly, H-2A guest workers are not required to file a tax return unless the worker's income exceeds the personal exemption amount that is set for that tax year. This is only the rule if the gust worker has no other US income and the guest worker does not become a resident alien under tax regulations.

If an H-2A visa holder has any concerns about wage claims or tax issues, the guest worker should contact an experienced attorney who can examine the facts of the case and provide a legal opinion.

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