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Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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.

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.

RHODE ISLAND LABOR LAWS

Minimum Wage

Rhode Island defers to the FLSA, which requires that all domestics, excluding companions, be paid at no less than the greater of the state or federal minimum wage.

Minimum wage for domestic employees in Rhode Island is $7.25/hr, as they are specifically excluded from the state’s minimum wage law in RI General Law §28-12.

Overtime Pay

All live-out workers are to be paid an overtime differential of 1.5 times the hourly wage for hours over 40 in a 7 day week. Live-in domestics, again excluding companions, must be paid their hourly wage for all hours worked, without an overtime differential. Overtime or premium pay is not required for hours worked in excess of 8 per day.

Rhode Island requires employers to pay employees 1.5 times their regular rate for work on Sundays and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Victory Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, the day following is observed as the legal holiday. You cannot force employees who refuse to work on Sundays and legal holidays to work against their will.

Paid Time Off

Rhode Island does not mandate paid time off for non-exempt workers.

Unpaid Time Off

Rhode Island employees accrue one unpaid, sick and safe leave hour for every 35 hours worked. Employees may accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid leave per year. You may require a waiting period of 90 days from the beginning of employment until employees are allowed to use their unpaid leave. Accrued hours carryover to each new year.

You may give 40 hours of unpaid leave every year up front, instead of using the aforementioned accrual system.

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

Rhode Island allows you to pay your household worker on a daily or weekly pay cycle only. Pay upon separation is due on the next scheduled pay date.

Payroll Documentation

Each time you pay an employee, you must give them a statement that includes their hours worked during the applicable pay period, a record of all deductions made from their gross earnings during the pay period.

Employment Contract Requirements

Rhode Island does not have employment contract requirements. However, a free sample work agreement can be found here.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Rhode Island does not require household employers to obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance. However, 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).

State Unemployment Insurance

Rhode Island requires a new employer state unemployment insurance tax of 1.06% for the first $24,000 wages paid to each employee. This may vary if you have previous employees.

Frequency of Tax Filings

Rhode Island requires quarterly tax filings for the unemployment security tax, job development tax, and temporary disability insurance tax. Rhode Island requires daily, quarter-monthly, monthly, quarterly, or annual tax filings for income tax withholdings, depending on the maximum monthly amount that you have withheld before.

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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