These helpful answers come from Homework Solutions, the nanny tax and payroll experts. Caring Nannies is not in any way responsible for the answers or for payroll taxes of your employee. We suggest you contact Homework Solutions (Call 1-800-NaniTax (800-626-4829) for your payroll needs/further questions or a competent accountant or the Internal Revenue Service.
1. I have a domestic (nanny, elder caregiver, housekeeper) working in my home. What taxes do I need to pay?
In general, the Internal Revenue Service requires payroll tax filings by a domestic employer who pays a household employee more than $1400* cash wages in a calendar year. These payroll tax obligations that may include:
(*Wage test is $1300 for 2001 & 2002,$1200 for 2000,$1100 for 1998 & 1999,years 1995-1997 were $1000)
2. What taxes does my employee pay?
Your employee contributes to or pays:
3. How are the employee's payroll taxes paid?
You, the employer, are required to collect the employee's social security and medicare taxes. Should you fail to collect, you remain responsible to remit these taxes for the employee. Deducting federal income taxes and most state income taxes is optional. If income taxes are not withheld by the employer then the employee is required to make periodic payments of any amounts due.
4. How often do I need to pay these taxes?
Employers of domestic workers must, at a minimum, make annual payments for Social Security, Medicare and Withheld Income Tax (if applicable). Wage reporting must occur quarterly. Generally, state unemployment taxes and withheld state income taxes must be paid on a quarterly basis and Federal Unemployment is due annually. You are required to give your employee a wage and tax statement (Form W-2) no later than January 31.
5. Congress just simplified the "nanny taxes." What does that mean to me?
Congress revised the "Nanny Tax" legislation in October 1994, offering employers alternative means to remit the federal payroll taxes for wages paid after 1/1/95. Most payments to household workers under 18 years of age are now exempt. The legislation requires employers to disclose the wages paid to household staff on the employer's personal income tax return. Failure to disclose this information will compromise the integrity of your personal tax return.
Most important, this 'simplification' only affects your FEDERAL
employment tax obligations. Most state reporting requirements remain on
a quarterly schedule.
6. My nanny (domestic) says she's an independent contractor and doesn't want taxes withheld. Can I do that?
The simple answer is no. The IRS has strict guidelines to define
employees and independent contractors (Refer to IRS Publication 926).
Nannies and other domestics are generally considered employees. It does
not matter how the employee refers to herself or how you refer to her in
an employment contract. You are obligated for all payroll tax filings
7. Do I need to pay minimum wage?
Domestic employees have been covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act
since 1974 and must be paid at least the Federal minimum wage, currently
$5.15 (effective 9/1/97). You are required to pay a domestic employee
who lives out overtime (for hours above 40 in a week). Overtime is one
and one-half times the normal hourly rate. Live-in employees must be
paid for every hour they work but are not automatically entitled to the
overtime differential. (There are many states which enforce higher
minimum wages. Where Federal and state law have different minimum wage
rates, the higher standard applies.)
8. What about workman's compensation and disability insurance?
state regulations governing who needs to obtain worker's compensation and disability insurance vary. We recommend discussing your local regulations with a licensed insurance broker. Go to http://www.4nannytaxes.com/info/workerscomp.cfm to see USA Today July 1997 Worker's Comp Information
9. Am I required to hire U.S. citizens?
You may legally hire a U.S. citizen, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or an alien with a valid work permit. You are required to verify your candidate's employment eligibility using Form I-9.
10. My employee is not a legal resident. What should I do about employment taxes?
The IRS maintains that the immigration status of your employee has no bearing on your obligation for employer taxes. The IRS requires that workers ineligible for Social Security Numbers file form W-7 to request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This number will be used on all tax reports and returns, including Form W-2. The IRS is currently prohibited from sharing this information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service by law. Non-payment of taxes is a reason for an alien's immigration petition to be declined.
11. What is "New Hire Reporting"?
Effective January 1998, Federal welfare reform legislation (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996) requires all employers to report information on all newly hired workers within a specified period, generally 2 weeks, or incur a penalty. Each state has designated an agency responsible for the collection of data and enforcement of the requirement. These laws are intended to expedite enforcement of child support orders.
12. I have heard that I can get a personal tax break for childcare? Is that true?
There are two popular strategies that families use to minimize their personal income taxes. Many families can utilize a flexible spending plan (cafeteria plan) offered by their employer for child and dependent care expenses. Your human resources department can provide you with plan details. Another strategy is the Child Care Credit available to many parents. This credit can directly reduce the parent's income taxes by between $480-$1,440 a year.
13. Is health insurance for my nanny taxable?
Health insurance may be provided as an employee benefit. The employer generally pays the premium directly to the insurance carrier and the premium is not taxed as income to the employee.
14. How do we handle the taxes if we share a nanny with another family?
Generally, when you share a nanny with another family, you both become employers. Presuming that you each pay the nanny for the work performed for your individual family, each employer is responsible for withholding payroll taxes and the periodic remittances of payroll taxes.
15. What may happen if I don't pay the taxes?
Failure of limitations on the failure to report and remit federal payroll taxes. You are most likely to be "caught" when a former employee files for unemployment or social security benefits. Employers are generally required to pay back taxes, penalties and interest charges, and usually professional fees for an accountant and/or attorney. HomeWork Solutions ( http://www.4nannytaxes.com/index.cfm ) can assist employers becoming current with back tax obligations.
16. Do the rules ever change?
Yes.Many rule changes resulting from the Federal "simplification" are still being defined. For example, in 1997 all household employers are required to submit Form W-3 to the Social Security Administration for the first time. Effective in 1998, Federal household employment taxes are subject to penalties if not paid in periodically by the employer, either by submitting quarterly payments or adjusting withholding on the employer's paycheck. HomeWork Solutions' professionals keep current with these changes and notify clients accordingly.
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