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Publication 926

Household Employer's Tax Guide

(Rev. March 2012)

What's New(p1)

Future developments.(p1)
The IRS has created a page on for information about Publication 926 at Information about any future developments affecting Publication 926 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted on that page.
Social security and Medicare tax for 2012.(p1)
For 2012, the employee tax rate for social security is 4.2%. The employer tax rate for social security remains unchanged at 6.2%. The 2012 social security wage base limit is $110,100. In 2012, the Medicare tax rate is 1.45% each for employers and employees, unchanged from 2011. There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax.
Social security and Medicare taxes apply to the wages of household employees you pay $1,800 or more in cash or an equivalent form of compensation. For more information, see Social security and Medicare wages under Social Security and Medicare Taxes, later.
FUTA tax rate for 2012.(p1)
The FUTA tax rate remains unchanged at 6.0%.
Credit reduction states.(p2)
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 in any credit reduction state, your FUTA tax credit is reduced. See the Instructions for Schedule H (Form 1040) for more information.


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 2012, you may need to pay state and federal employment taxes for 2012. You generally must add your federal employment taxes to the income tax that you will report on your 2012 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 Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. You can also send us comments from, select "Comment on Tax Forms and Publications" under "Information about."
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, 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 the above address.

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.(p2)

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.