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Maryland Fact Sheet Household Tax Compliance Tips


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Payroll tax compliance for your new employee does not need to be terrifying, time consuming or expensive. HomeWork Solutions is a nationally recognized “household payroll” service company, providing household employers nationwide with trusted and time saving payroll and payroll tax solutions.

WORKER CLASSIFICATION IS THE KEY

You become a household employer when you hire an individual to perform duties and provide services under your direction in your private home. Generally, these workers are your employees, not independent contractors. Failure to properly classify the worker and make the appropriate employment tax filings and payments is considered tax fraud by the IRS.

PAYROLL TAX RESPONSIBILITIES

You are responsible for federal employment taxes when you pay household workers as little as $1,000 in a calendar quarter or when you pay any individual employee age 18 or over $2,200 in a calendar year.

You have both Federal and State tax filing responsibilities. Federal employment taxes are reconciled with the household employer’s annual Federal Income tax return. Your state may require quarterly unemployment tax filings, as well as reports and remittance of state income taxes withheld, if applicable. Employee wages are reported to the Social Security Administration. Your employee is due a W-2 form in January.

Social Security and Medicare Taxes

The household employer is responsible for the payment of all Social Security and Medicare taxes to the IRS. You may choose to either collect your employee’s taxes via payroll deductions or fund these taxes yourself.

Unemployment Taxes

You will make contributions to the IRS and Maryland to fund unemployment and worker re-training programs.

Income Taxes

Federal and state income taxes are ultimately the responsibility of the household employee; however, best practice is to deduct these taxes from your full time employee’s wages to help them avoid owing large sums when they file their annual income tax returns.

OTHER LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Verification of Work Eligibility

All U.S. employers are required to verify a candidate’s employment eligibility using Form I-9.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Compliance

Maintain accurate and contemporaneous records including time tracking, gross pay calculations, and detailed records of all deductions from the employee paycheck.

Pay no less than minimum wage on an hourly rate basis.

More detail about FLSA Requirements can be found here.

Health Insurance

You are not required to provide employee health insurance, however there are financial and retention advantages to contributing some or all of your employee’s health insurance premium. HWS is happy to discuss this with you.

MARYLAND LABOR LAWS

Minimum Wage

Maryland defers to FLSA minimum wage standards for all household employees, including senior caregivers and companions. Pay may be no less than the greater of the state or federal minimum wage.

Minimum wage in Maryland is $11.00 per hour. Employees under 18 years of age must earn at least 85% of the minimum wage rate.

  • Montgomery County MD minimum wage is $12.50 for household employers, but will rise to $13.00 on July 1, 2020. Employees 18 and under who work less than 20 hours a week are exempt, so the state minimum wage applies.
  • Prince George’s County MD minimum wage is $11.50 for household employers, but will change to the general minimum wage in Maryland after 12/13/20.

Overtime Pay

All workers receive an overtime differential of 1.5 times the hourly wage for hours over 40 in a 7 day week. Live-in employees must receive overtime compensation.  Overtime or premium pay is not required for hours worked in excess of 8 per day or on weekends or holidays.

Paid Time Off

Maryland does not mandate any paid time off for non-exempt workers.

  • Montgomery County MD mandates up to 56 hours/yr. of sick leave earned as 1 hour per every 30 hours worked. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide leave; however, only 32 hours must be paid and 24 hours can be provided on an unpaid basis. Montgomery County MD’s domestic worker rights bill imposes additional compliance requirements.

If you do not specify in your employment policies or work agreement with your employee, you are required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. 

Mileage Reimbursement

The federal government establishes and updates a maximum rate for non-taxable mileage reimbursement each year.  The current rate is $0.575 per mile.

Payroll Frequency

Maryland allows you to pay your household worker daily, weekly, bi-weekly or semi-monthly, but does not permit monthly pay cycles. Pay upon separation is due on the next scheduled pay date.

Payroll Documentation

For each pay period, you must send each of your employees a statement of their gross earnings and deductions from those gross earnings.

You must give an employee at least one pay period advanced notice of any change in a payday or wage.

Employment Contract Requirements

Maryland does not require a written employment agreement.

  • In Montgomery County, You are required to present a written contract to employees and offer to negotiate employment terms. An employee can agree to work without a contract only if a disclosure statement is signed by the employee. The full details can be viewed at montgomerycountmd.gov under the “contract” tab, along with a model contract.

A free sample work agreement can be found here.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Maryland requires that all household employers obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance for any employee who earns more than $1000 in a calendar quarter. HWS ALWAYS recommends obtaining a Workers Compensation Insurance policy for the protection it provides in the event of a work-related injury sustained by your employee. A policy can usually be obtained easily and cost effectively by contacting your Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance provider. HWS can help you obtain this insurance through our insurance partner (just give us a call), or you may purchase this from the MD Injured Workers Insurance Fund (https://www.iwif.com/).

State Unemployment Insurance

Maryland requires a new employer state unemployment insurance tax of 2.6% for the first $8,500 wages paid to each employee. This may vary if you have previous employees.

Frequency of Tax Filings

Maryland typically requires quarterly tax filings to the Comptroller of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (DLLR). This is in addition to federal tax filing.

HWS WILL HELP YOU DO THE RIGHT THING

HWS knows that most families want to pay their household employees legally and insure that the employee receives workers compensation and unemployment insurance protections. You also want to establish a principled relationship with your employee who is caring for and interacting with precious family members. Getting the relationship started on the right footing, including complying with legal and tax formalities, helps set the tone for the relationship.

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