How to Pay Domestic Help

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Whether you have hired someone to clean your house or assist with child care, you need to pay the individual who provides domestic services to you. However, how to pay that individual can often be a tricky situation. Domestic helpers often seek to be paid in cash under the legal radar. Protect yourself and your family by hiring and paying someone legally so that if something does go awry, you have a legal recourse. Always require domestic help to fill out an I-9 Form and provide government-issued identification.

  • Have your domestic helper fill out an I-9 form to verify his legal work status in the United States.

  • Obtain government-issued identification for the domestic helper and verify that it is authentic.

  • Visit E-Verify, the Homeland Security Department's website to determine eligibility to work, with the completed I-9 Form in hand.

  • Prepare and pay taxes for your domestic helper using a W-2, if applicable. All employers are responsible for withholding Social Security and Medicare taxes if the domestic helper is paid more than $1,700 annually with one exception. If a domestic helper is an independent contractor using an IRS 1099 form, the employer is not responsible for withholding taxes.

  • Fill out Schedule H on IRS Form 1040 to report household domestic employment.

  • Pay your employee wages owed at least bi-monthly, absent any applicable taxes.

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