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Publication 926

Household Employer's Tax Guide


For Wages Paid in 2011

What's New(p1)


Social security and Medicare tax for 2011.(p1)

For 2011, the employee tax rate for social security is 4.2%. The employer tax rate for social security remains unchanged at 6.2%. The 2011 social security wage base limit is $106,800. In 2011, the Medicare tax rate is 1.45% each for employers and employees, unchanged from 2010. There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax.
Employers should implement the 4.2% employee social security tax rate as soon as possible, but not later than January 31, 2011. After implementing the new 4.2% rate, you should make an offsetting adjustment in a subsequent pay period to correct any employees' overwithholding of social security tax as soon as possible, but not later than March 31, 2011.
Social security and Medicare taxes apply to the wages of household employees you pay $1,700 or more in cash or an equivalent form of compensation. For more information, see Social security and Medicare wages on page 4.

FUTA tax rate for 2011.(p2)

The FUTA tax rate will remain at 6.2% through June 30, 2011. The tax rate is scheduled to decrease to 6.0% beginning July 1, 2011.

Credit reduction states.(p2)

For 2010, Indiana, Michigan, and South Carolina, are credit reduction states. A state that has not repaid money it borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits is a "credit reduction state." The Department of Labor (DOL) determines these states. If an employer pays wages that are subject to the unemployment tax laws of a credit reduction state, that employer must pay additional federal unemployment tax. If you paid any wages that are subject to the unemployment compensation laws of the States of Indiana, Michigan, or South Carolina, your FUTA tax credit is reduced. See page H-5 in the 2010 Instructions for Schedule H (Form 1040) for more information.

Advance payment of earned income credit (EIC).(p2)

The option of receiving advance payroll payments of EIC expired on December 31, 2010. Individuals who received advance payments of EIC in 2010 must file a 2010 federal income tax return. Individuals eligible for EIC in 2011 can still claim the credit when they file their 2011 federal income tax return. In addition, if any of your employees expect to be eligible for the EIC and will have income tax withheld from wages in 2011, they may reduce their withholding in order to receive the benefit of a portion of the credit throughout the year.



Photographs of missing children.(p2)

The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.


The information in this publication applies to you only if you have a household employee. If you have a household employee in 2011, you may need to pay state and federal employment taxes for 2011. You generally must add your federal employment taxes to the income tax that you will report on your 2011 federal income tax return.
This publication will help you decide whether you have a household employee and, if you do, whether you need to pay federal employment taxes (social security tax, Medicare tax, federal unemployment tax (FUTA), and federal income tax withholding). It explains how to figure, pay, and report these taxes for your household employee. It also explains what records you need to keep.
This publication also tells you where to find out whether you need to pay state unemployment tax for your household employee.

Comments and suggestions.(p2)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Business Forms and Publications Branch 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at * (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
Tax questions.(p2)
If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Do You Have a Household Employee?(p2)

You have a household employee if you hired someone to do household work and that worker is your employee. The worker is your employee if you can control not only what work is done, but how it is done. If the worker is your employee, it does not matter whether the work is full time or part time or that you hired the worker through an agency or from a list provided by an agency or association. It also does not matter whether you pay the worker on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis, or by the job.


You pay Betty Shore to babysit your child and do light housework 4 days a week in your home. Betty follows your specific instructions about household and child care duties. You provide the household equipment and supplies that Betty needs to do her work. Betty is your household employee.

Household work.(p2)

Household work is work done in or around your home. Some examples of workers who do household work are:

Workers who are not your employees.(p3)

If only the worker can control how the work is done, the worker is not your employee but is self-employed. A self-employed worker usually provides his or her own tools and offers services to the general public in an independent business.
A worker who performs child care services for you in his or her home generally is not your employee.
If an agency provides the worker and controls what work is done and how it is done, the worker is not your employee.


You made an agreement with John Peters to care for your lawn. John runs a lawn care business and offers his services to the general public. He provides his own tools and supplies, and he hires and pays any helpers he needs. Neither John nor his helpers are your household employees.

More information.(p3)

More information about who is an employee is in Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide.