Sunday, July 4, 2010
Be Smart By Being Legit With Your Nanny
Any suggestions on paying the nanny tax and cheapest/simplest way to do so?
In tax talk we affectionately or not so affectionately refer to anyone who cleans our house, takes care of our children, cleans our yard, drives us around, or takes care of our real Nana who resides in our upstairs guest room as "a nanny." And so the tax we must pay on someone who works for us in that capacity is referred to as the "nanny tax."
The most simple way although often not the cheapest is to hire someone though an agency. The reason that's not the cheapest is because they are legitimate -- mostly -- and so they can charge more than illegitimate workers.
By illegitimate workers I mean both undocumented aliens as well as good ol' Americans simply not claiming the money you pay them to cook your meals or watch your children. In this way on $15 per hour they are avoiding about $5 per hour in taxes; On $30 per hour they are cheating the government -- that's us the taxpayer -- out of about $10 per hour.
Your other simple choice is to hire someone who has her own business. She is then an independent contractor and you do not have to pay payroll tax on what you pay her.
The determination of whether a babysitter is self-employed follows the same rules as those for any other indie. More on that right here self-employed and/or employee .
So, if the worker does not come from an agency, nor is she self-employed, and you pay her $1,700 or more during 2010 then you must treat her as an employee and do the relevant paperwork.
IRS Publication 926, Household Employer's Tax Guide spells out what you must do. It's available here http://www.irs.gov/publications/p926/index.html.
I strongly urge you to be legitimate with a household employee.
It is fair to her. She will be racking up social security points and she will be covered by your homeowners insurance should something happen, such as tripping down the stairs or having the overhead light fixture crash on her while she's washing it. [Be sure to check your homeowners or apartment insurance.]
It is better for you because you will not be committing fraud and you won't lose your house when she sues you after the glass from the light fixture lands in her eye.