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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: particular occupations: agricultural casual and harvest workers - NIC liability

There are special rules for NIC that apply only to casual employees

  • who are not members of the farmer’s family and
  • are taken on for harvest work.

The normal NIC procedures apply to any part-time or casual employee who is

  • taken on for non-harvest work, or
  • is a member of the farmer’s family, regardless of the type of work they do.

There are different treatments for agricultural casual and harvest workers.

‘Irregular Casuals’

A special arrangement was introduced for NICs in the last NFU arrangements. It was introduced to assist farmers where the nature of certain harvest work made it virtually impossible to keep the records necessary to properly establish liability and collect NICs. The workers are identified as ‘irregular casuals’.

‘Irregular casuals’ are workers taken on who work in large gangs

  • specifically to harvest a particular crop, and
  • are able to come and go as they please, and
  • will be paid according to the amount of produce they pick - piecework.

Provided that all of the above criteria are satisfied NIC will not be due.

Harvest workers taken on for more than two weeks

No special rules apply and normal procedures for NICs must be followed.

Harvest workers taken on for less than two weeks

NIC is due when earnings reach or exceed the Earnings Threshold (ET).

If the worker is a daily paid casual and works several days in a week the payments should be aggregated for NIC purposes, (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  

NIC should be accounted for on the first day that payments reach or exceed the weekly ET. Where further payments are made in the same week the extra NIC due should be accounted for each time a payment is made.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) COG904570.