If you pay someone to come to your home and care for your dependent or spouse, you may be a household employer. If you are a household employer, you will need an employer identification number (EIN) and you may have to pay employment taxes. If the individuals who work in your home are self-employed, you are not liable for any of the taxes discussed in this section. Self-employed persons who are in business for themselves are not household employees. Usually, you are not a household employer if the person who cares for your dependent or spouse does so at his or her home or place of business.
If you use a placement agency that exercises control over what work is done and how it will be done by a babysitter or companion who works in your home, the worker is not your employee. This control could include providing rules of conduct and appearance and requiring regular reports. In this case, you do not have to pay employment taxes. But, if an agency merely gives you a list of sitters and you hire one from that list, and pay the sitter directly, the sitter may be your employee.
If you have a household employee, you may be subject to:
- Social security and Medicare taxes,
- Federal unemployment tax, and
- Federal income tax withholding.
Social security and Medicare taxes are generally withheld from the employee's pay and matched by the employer. Federal unemployment (FUTA) tax is paid by the employer only and provides for payments of unemployment compensation to workers who have lost their jobs. Federal income tax is withheld from the employee's total pay if the employee asks you to do so and you agree.
For more information on a household employer's tax responsibilities, see Publication 926 and Schedule H (Form 1040) and its instructions.taxmap/pubs/p503-003.htm#en_us_publink1000203386
You may also have to pay state unemployment tax. Contact your state unemployment tax office for information. You should also find out whether you need to pay or collect other state employment taxes or carry worker's compensation insurance. A list of state unemployment tax agencies, including addresses and phone numbers, is in Publication 926.