Employing Casual Harvesters & Beaters

05 August 2015

Farmers are being reminded by HMRC that they must ensure that they comply with the rules when employing casual workers for harvesting and shoot beating.

Firstly –  you must ensure that individuals are eligible to work in the UK by requesting the relevant documentation, checking and taking copies for your records.  There are stiff penalties if one of your workers is found to be illegal and you did not check their papers.  Details of how to find out an employee’s eligibility can be found here.

Secondly  – you must pay the workers through PAYE if:

  • They work for you for a period of over 2 weeks OR
  • They work on any other activity other than harvesting or beating OR
  • They are family members.

You may not have to deduct tax if:

  • They work for less than 2 weeks, AND
  • They have not worked for you since 6 April of the current tax year.


  • They work for you for 1 day or less, AND
  • You pay them off at the end of the period, AND
  • They have no further contract of employment.

(Note in both cases, the pay is still taxable income, but it is up to the individual to ensure any tax due is paid over.)

National Insurance must be applied as normal to casual harvesters and beaters where earnings for each job exceed the Secondary Threshold (for employers) or the Primary Threshold (for employees).

In ALL cases, whether or not you apply deductions of tax and NI, you must keep a record of workers for at least 3 tax years following the employment and these details reported under RTI rules. This should include full names and addresses, date of birth, gender, NI number and how much you paid them.

If you have any doubts about how to pay your casual workers this summer, please contact us.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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