Obeying the Law

opinion 1
I want to do the right thing and work on the books. How do I figure out what forms I and potential employers need? I’m taking on a part time nanny job for an infant and a toddler. Do you think $250 is a fair (after tax) weekly rate for 20 hours a week? Should I at least expect to make the daycare fee? Around here a daycare would charge about $350 for those hours for kids that age.


take it said...

To me, it is neither here nor there what a daycare charges. That is what these people are offering you. I feel it sounds good, depending on your experience and what area you are in.

Daycares are expensive. The rules are also more rigid and they close on many holidays on which parents need childcare. Daycares also have many people watching, trained in CPR, it's really safer if you ask me overall: everything is documented and witnessed and supervised. Not so with babysitting and nannying.

OP, you will no doubt get many nanny posters saying, "No way, you should get double that." But let's wake up and smell the coffee. Of course there are highly paid nannies in our country who make oodles of money. But that's not the reality for the majority of us at all.

Take the job. It's not bad money for part time.

AnnabelLeigh said...

Kudos to you for obeying the law. I wish all nannies would.

Is $250 enough for you? If not I would might reconsider. Don't assume you'll be able to make up the difference by finding another part time gig. Balancing to part time jobs can be hell. I know I've tried it.

Dr. Juris said...

Take the job: I'm not a nanny, but I can tell you that nannies charge more than daycares because they are providing one-on-one services to someone's children within the comforts of that person's home. If they want a nanny, they should be prepared to pay for one. Additionally, nannies generally charge more for infants, and keeping up with a baby and a toddler is a lot of hard work and she should be fairly compensated for it.

That being said, OP, how much experience do you have? What are your qualifications for this job? Do you have an special training or certifications? Additionally, you should plan for job creep and draft your contract accordingly, and set your rate based on what you are prepared to do as a nanny. If you have agreed to some housework, the fee should be higher. If it's strictly children and you're being paid hourly for any hours over 20, then there is less to worry about.

GET A CONTRACT. Plan, plan, plan. And don't undersell yourself! :)

Kate said...

Don't take this as gospel, but I think you will need a w-4,w-3, and w-2.

As for the pay, I don't know your experience but take home $250 works out to about $16/hr gross, not too bad in my opinion, especially if you only have to look after the babies.
Make sure you get a contract that details everything, be ridiculous about it if you think you need to.

I would really be firm about days and hours especially if you'll need to take on another job.

Dr. Juris said...

I found this AWESOME resource, btw:

Highly recommend looking over those links to answer some of your questions.

NoTaxNanny said...

OK so I am confused. I just started reading ISYN recently and I can relate to most of what you all are saying. What I don't get is this tax thing. I have been a nanny for over 10 years, and only once in all that time did I have a nanny job where I had to file taxes. This was only because the mom was a government employee. Almost everyone wants to pay under the table, and that always seems like a great deal to me.

So why are all the nannies suddenly saying that paying taxes is so great, and to avoid families who don't want to pay taxes? What possible benefit for the nanny is there to being on the books? I have always had situations where both me and the family I work for benefit from keeping it off the books. I don't see any reason to change that, the only entity who benefits is the government.

Am I missing something?

Susannah said...

For me it's nice to have that proof of employment when I'm buying a car, looking to rent, loans for school etc.

I know it'll be shot to heck by the time I get to retire, but there's that to social security benefits.

Being a legal employee entitles me to fair wages and resources if things go bad.

Plus I'm just paranoid that if I don't someone will find out and I'll be screwed.

Scttygrrl said...

No tax nanny, in addition to both you and your employer breaking the law, you will not get any Social Security credits, workmen's comp, or unemployment benefits. Your employer is most at risk in this deal, should you file for the latter benefits. If being a nanny is your sole source of income, you will never qualify for credit, such as a car loan, without sufficient reported income.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

NoTaxNanny, beyond the obvious, that paying taxes is the law, and you and nannies like you are tax cheats, let's talk abut what you lose by working illegally:

No employment record if you are fired = no unemployment available to you

No way to get credit, rent or buy a home/car.

No chance at Social Security and Medicare benefits if they continue to exist when you try to retire.

No worker's comp if you get hurt on the job.

No recourse if you are abused/harassed/assaulted at work, because when you file a complaint you are in the system and someone will find out that you are a tax cheat.

And best of all, if you piss off an employer badly enough that they decide to report your wages after firing you, YOU get to pay the IRS lots and lots of money in taxes and penalties. Sure, they'll get hit too, but I bet they can take the financial hit better than you can.

Your employers save about 10 - 15% of your gross pay a week, but they lose the chance to take a child-care tax credit if they qualify.

Also, did I mention the whole tax cheat thing? Kind of scummy.

NoTaxNanny said...


How is keeping my money away from the government scummy? Scummy would be stealing from my MB and DB. Scummy would be lying about what I do with the kids. Keeping the governments grubby paws off my money is not scummy, most people I know are delighted and envious that I don't pay taxes. We all need this money to pay our bills, not to but fancy furnishings for the white house.

-Unemployment. I was told after my one and only on the books job that I was still ineligable for unemployment since I was a 'domestic worker'.

-Social security. Ok, I am 30. I don't kid myself that I will see anything from social security either way.

-I already own my car, and had no problem getting it. Whenever I rent a place to live I bring a note from whoever I work for saying how much I get and they rent me the place. End of story. No one cares.

-I would never file workman's comp on a family I worked for. It would have to be something like the dad physically attacking me or something, and for that I could press charges regardless.

I understand some of the points you all made, and if working on the books makes you happy, more power to you. I still don't see why you nannies are so pissed about those of us who choose to work away from government control. I'm not hurting you or anyone else, why do you care?

Vegas said...

Hey Notaxnanny, are you from Nevada? I have worked there for years, and yeah, no nannies I know pay taxes. Screw the government, we all work off the books!!

OP said...

Thanks for the advice on paying taxes. I'd like more on that.

Ther rest of you nannies who don't pay taxes good for you . i want to pay taxes so please stay out of this post. You can start another about how amazing it is not to pay taxes.

MissMannah said...

"I'm not hurting you or anyone else, why do you care?"

Not paying taxes hurts everyone in the country. And it makes the rest of us nannies who do pay taxes look bad. Don't you know what income taxes pay for? Not just fancy furnishing on the White House. They pay for our national defense, medical and economic programs, science research and international diplomacy...just to name a few. So yes, by not helping out you are hurting us and your country. Essentially by not paying taxes, you are being a bad citizen.

OP, sorry for veering your thread off-course but that non-tax-paying nanny really pissed me off. I'm afraid I can't offer much in the way of advice because I told my employer to take care of my taxes for me (LOL) because really, it is her job to do that. She got herself a employer ID # and is deducting federal, state, SS and Medicare from my check. I have absolutely no idea from there what to tell you. The pay sounds really good but I don't know what is standard for your area.

Lady NaNa said...

I don't know what area you are in, but this rate seems low to me. It breaks down to 12.50 an hour, and for two kids you should be making 15-20.

You also want to figure out how much you'll be making before and after taxes. And negotiate your pay at the before taxes rate. Be careful not to negotiate the rate net and then expect the employer to "gross it up." This happens often (speaking from experience) and it can leave both sides feeling frustrated and a little resentful. Breedlove has a great net/gross calculator. They also have great info on nanny laws and what your employer will have to do to keep everything above board.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Funny, I heard the same thing. That Nannies cannot qualify for unemployment benefits because they are domestic employees.

Does anyone know if this is true?

Scttygrrl. Why employees need to pay nanny taxes. If a said...

Nannies are eligible. They are household employees, not independent contractors. Employers will get a nasty surprise if their ex- employee applies for benefits.

OP said...

Thank you all for the tips. I didn't mean to seem crabby before, I was getting bit annoyed with some trying to turn it into a debate for if they should pay taxes, or why it's awesome that they don't.

That breedlove calculator is amazing.

The plan is to start at 20 hours and increase to more once mom is back to her regular schedule when the baby is a few months older. Should I request to be paid at the higher hour rate now?

Erica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Juris said...

Instead of figuring out an overall gross amount of money paid per week (since you'll be increasing your hours), I would just start right out the gate getting paid per hour. That will also serve you better if the parents are late coming home, etc.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I think that right now you should set up your contract to say that you will be guaranteed pay for 20 hours each week at $X, and that any hours over 20 will be paid at an hourly rate of $X per hour. You can then amend the contract once you are working 40 hours or what have you to guarantee you 40 hours pay a week and then OT kicks in at an actual OT rate.

You want your pay guaranteed for 52 weeks a year regardless of whether they use your services or not. You do NOT want to go hourly officially, because then you start getting nickled and dimed to death.

I would say in your contract now, assuming $250 per 20 hour week:

Nanny will work up to 20 hours per week. Nanny will be paid $12.50 per hour, with a guaranteed weekly salary of $250 per week. Hours worked over 20 will be paid at $12.50 per hour. Employers will guarantee to pay nanny $250 per week regardless of whether she works the full 20 hours that she is available to them.

And when your hours increase, to 50, for example:

Nanny will work up to 50 hours per week. Nanny will be paid $12.50 per hour for the first 40 hours, and nanny will be paid overtime at a rate of $18.75 for the next 10 hours she works, with a guaranteed weekly rate of $687.50 per week. Hours worked over 50 will be paid at $18.75 per hour. Employers will guarantee to pay nanny $687.50 per week regardless of whether she works the full 50 hours that she is available to them.

And I am glad you plan to pay your taxes. It's the professional thing to do. :-)

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Sorry OP, just have to say this to ol' NoTaxNanny:

Professionals pay their taxes. Professional nannies, Lawyers, doctors, engineers, estate managers, athletes, garbage men, maids, and janitors. If you are a tax cheat, that is unprofessional and scummy.

And if you are paid legally, there is no reason you would not be able to claim unemployment. It may be a harder fight, but it can be done. You have to be able to PROVE employment though, which is why you have to have those old tax forms and pay stubs.

And for those of you, like me, who hate paying taxes but do it anyhow because it's the law, check out the ideas behind the Fair Tax. It eliminates the income/ss/Med taxes on a federal level, and replaces them with a consumption tax.

The fair tax eliminates the ability to be a scummy tax cheat like ol' NoTaxNanny, because unless she stops using money and only barters for all goods and services, she will be back to paying taxes like all the other law abiding citizens.

nanners said...

Workmans comp is for if you get injured on the job. Accidents happen all the time -- trip down the stairs, trip on a toy and break an ankle, etc. It is to cover them and you in case of an accident in the home.

curiousme said...

I've heard you don't have to worry about taxes if you earn no more than $1700 from an employer. Is this true?

Gillian said...

I babysat for a few different families last year all together making about $6000. Should I have had them take taxes out? How am I supposed to report that do I even need to?

Nanny Deb said...

The maximum you can earn from an employer without paying taxes is, indeed, $1700.

If you want to learn more from a true expert in this field, I would suggest looking through the information available at

Co-ed Nanny in CA said...

I am a nanny who works off the books. I am going to school and if I reported how much I made working as a nanny, I would lose all of my scholarship and grant monies.

If the govt would make it easier for us struggling low income people to get ahead, maybe we would report everything.

If you make too much, which is really not much, they just take away ALL of your benefits instead of adjusting accordingly.

I work with a nanny agency that actually offers Cash paying jobs vs. On the books jobs and I always choose the cash paying jobs.

OPagain said...

I'm not asking if you all think paying taxes as a nanny is a good idea or not. I'm sure you all have a million reasons that justify not doing so. I AM PAYING TAXES! My question clearly states that so if you want post your own story/question on why it's awesome not to pay taxes.

I can't think of why anyone would post on a question that is clearly about paying taxes, if they don't pay taxes. You don't keep quiet about it. Unless it's your guilty conscience.

Also, I would think that agency could be in a ton of hot water if it was discovered they encouraged tax evasion.
As for you Co-ed nanny I would suspect you wouldn't care about the benefits of being on the books. Being a nanny is just your thing until you get your "real job" ?

For those of you who actually answered my question, thanks it was very helpful. I plan on having a contract that states wages, hours etc.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I hope that any agency that encourages tax evasion gets reported to the IRS. That sort of behavior makes them just as irresponsible as care and sittercity are when it comes to being responsible for the actions of clients.

BTW, a nanny I know who complained to care about an ad that said the nanny hired by a family would be 1099'd (treated as a con tractor, which is illegal) was told that any illegal activity in an ad should be reported to care with the button found in the upper right corner of an ad.

So, nannies who believe in adhering to minimum wage laws and tax laws, when you see a position on care offering "$5 - $5" per hour, or a position that states nanny will be 1099'd, log in and report that employer. Naturally care won't actually DO anything, but why not give them a little extra work to do, right?

Noa said...

Tha't pretty awesome tales!

Honestly, when I first got into being ananny I didn't realize you couldn't be 1099'd either until further research on my own.

MissMannah said...

Not that the parents really care. If you tell them in the interview it is illegal to use a 1099, they'll just find someone else who doesn't care. They know they hold the power cards.

OP, you're kind of being a jerk now by not allowing natural conversation. Lighten up!

opagain said...

Thank you for caling me a jerk. Obviously you know me so well. I thought this was a site that fellow nannies could use as a resource.

I don't see what's so natural about bragging about not following the law. I've seen only one post that asked why someone should pay taxes the rest is just bragging.
I'll gladly lighten up and find another place to ask questions.

Long Time Browser said...

Don't take it personally, OP.

MissMannah, is a known self- righteous, know-it-all, ass.

Amen! said...

I for one find it hilarious how high and mighty MissMannah gets when she admits to slaving away at her job for $10/hr and can't confront her bosses.but she supposedly has all this experience. Laughable really. I guess the only place she can be a bad ass is on the internet!
Sorry for ruining your thread op, but it had to be said.

Not a Miss Mannah Fan said...

I agree with the above posters about Miss Mannah. She has no manners whatsoever. She constantly criticizes people and loves attention. We should all just ignore her and then she will stop.

RebekahM(OP) said...

Hey ladies! Let's play nice! It;s the op. I've been a bit cranky about the non-taxers because I've recently taken a hit because of willingness to go off book. I don't want to cause a fight. Even though I still don't appreciate being called a jerk.
I just started working as a nanny, and I didn't realize you couldn't 1099.

It's amazing how many people don't want to pay taxes.

I had a family just this past week, I found them with an agency, they were very interested but didn't want to pay taxes, they had several chances to change their minds. Agency ended up finding them a nanny who would take her weekly 500 under the table gladly. I'm out of luck!
I just don't see how you'd be happy with shelling thousands out a year with no record of it. It benefits the parents too they could claim that money if they paid taxes.
I'm actually not sure the job I mentioned in my original post will work out. Potential MB originally seemed ok with taxes, but just mentioned 1099, so I don't know how it will turn out. We'll meet tomorrow. If this job falls through too, I will be so tempted just to work off the books just to have some money. I would try daycare, nut all the daycares around here at least want a BA in Early Childhood. I don't have that, and it seems as though all my years working with kids and the various certifications and classes I've taken are meaningless.

MissMannah said...

"she admits to slaving away at her job for $10/hr and can't confront her bosses"

Apparently you don't pay too much attention to my post, do you? I think it is common knowledge on these boards that I constantly urge nannies to confront their bosses and that I have confronted mine in the past. I have also said many times that I live in a part of the country that $10 is considered a good wage. So before laughing at how much of a "bad ass" I am, why not actually read what I say?

OP, I didn't say you are a jerk, I said you were kind of being one by limiting conversation. Your questions were answered, so why were you getting so touchy about other people talking about taxes or, in this case, lack of? This isn't about me wanting attention or my lack of manners, this is about your curious control issue. I already know I don't use my manners on the internet, I don't see any reason to.

Nema said...

Why didn't you post my comment? Miss Mannah is indeed a little bitch?
What does she get to hide behind the skirts of the mods?

It's ok for her to be rude to countless posters and name call but not the other way around?

Is she tired of being passive agressive?

BTW darling Miss Martyr, good nannies with 11 years of experience get paid more than $10/hr.

So are you a crappy nanny or you don't have the balls to get the pay you supposedly deserve based on experience?
Seems like someone does all their barking and biting on the internet.

MissMannah said...

Are you people paying attention? I just said I live in a cheap part of the country. How much clearer can I make this?

Not that it is any of your business, but I make $12 per hour to watch one baby, which is much higher than the norm. I was offered that, based on my experience, I would have never asked for it because it is just unheard of around here.

Nanny has the flu today ♥ said...

Miss Mannah likes to hide behind her moniker and bash people.

Kudos to those who actually have a registered name and more kudos to those who put up a picture.

Those are the genuine posters here.

Nema said...

I made a mistake! I can own up to that unlike some of us. I see we're making friends with the mods, cozy up nice and tight.

I sure hope you don't talk to your charges with that mouth of your's.

You seem to have a hard time dealing with anyone who questions your "authority".
It's no wonder your last boss had no problem letting you go. He probably detected your short fuse.

You wouldn't ask because despite your claims of nanny greatness deep down you know you are a subpar nanny.
That's probably why you were so snippy with OP, she's making more than you per hour as a new nanny. Perhaps we're a bit envious.

Nema said...

Upon further thought I realized I crossed the line with my recent posts. I'm no better than what I've accused Miss Mannah of being.

There is no justification for me being as nasty as I was.

I apologize to Miss Mannah and the other posters here.

I think I need to take a much needed break from the internet.

MissMannah said...

Thank you, I accept your apology. I know you were just blowing off steam, as we all tend to do when things become a little too heated, especially on a website, when it is so easy. Though I must admit, I really have no idea why I became your target because I don't know what I said or did to you.

Most things I can let roll right off my back, but saying I am a subpar nanny is going a little too far. Insulting my child-caring skills is one thing that can really hurt me because it is the one thing I really take pride in.

BTW, my last boss had no problem letting me go because he didn't want to pay me as much anymore. It was really quite simple.