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A family I may work for withholds taxes from their baby-sitters. How is this done? Is there anyone federally or locally I can call to verify that these taxes are being received and not hoarded by the family? As tax time approaches, will I receive a W-2 form or a 1099 form? Will this form come from the government or the family?
Families can withhold taxes for domestic help in several ways. If you live on site, you will probably receive a W-2. If you baby-sit part time and live somewhere else, the family may opt to treat you as an independent contractor and use Form 1099. Either way, you will receive the form from the family, not the government.
Before you take this job, talk to the prospective employers and get the details. Will they actually withhold taxes, or will they just treat you as a contractor and file the paperwork for the Form 1099 without withholding? Sometimes that is legal, sometimes not. If they withhold taxes, how much will they keep back? In most cases, employers will have you fill out a Form W-4 to determine how much to withhold.
Regarding the tax payments, you can indeed learn whether the family is making the quarterly payments. Talk to your local Internal Revenue Service office to obtain that information. If your employers intend to pay you as a contractor without withholding, the IRS can also help you determine whether the family is acting appropriately.
Regardless of how the family handles the paperwork, you must file a return and satisfy any financial obligations come tax time. Many couples have run afoul of “nanny laws,” and the federal filing requirements protect the couple as much as they protect you.
When parents report their child-care payments to the federal government and treat caregivers as employees, those caregivers earn the right to collect Social Security related to those wages. But once the employers file the papers, the government connects every dollar to your Social Security number, effectively putting an end to most “You didn’t pay me. Oh yes I did” disputes. So make sure that whatever you owe, you pay.
My son is 16 and made varsity football this year. This year he also got his first girlfriend. I always used to wear his other jersey to the games to support him, but now his girlfriend is asking for the jersey to wear. Hello, young lady, I’m his mother and I’ve been wearing this jersey way longer than you have been around. How can I still be my son’s No. 1 fan with this girlfriend also joining the picture?
Nothing good can come from a power struggle between the mother and the girlfriend. Regardless of who wins, these fights tend to strain relations between the women, and can also make it tough on the boy at the center of the problem.
Do not, under any circumstances, force your son to choose. That’s not fair to him. Right now, you’ll probably end up on top. But if you choose this tack, eventually he will meet someone particularly special, and you will lose the fight. Better to avoid the conflict in the first place. Here are two options.
- If possible, acquire another personalized jersey. Pay for it yourself and give it to your son, who can then give it to his girlfriend.
- If you cannot obtain another jersey, act like the adult and give yours back to your son. Then purchase a generic school jersey or sweatshirt and have your son’s name printed on the back. You can wear it to his games with pride.
Remember, it’s not important to be the No. 1 fan. Just be his mother. That’s a far better role, anyway, and your claim on it is undisputed.
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