Au Pair Confused: How much income to report for taxes?

by cv harquail on March 11, 2013

Dear Au Pair Mom–

I’m confused about Income Taxes. I am a second year Au pair who extended with a new family.

Last year (2012) I worked 51 weeks and my host mom paid me $200 every week instead of $195.75. She declared $200 on her tax files. What number am I supposed to declare?

I read that tips are taxable and because she paid me by check not in cash I think I need to declare $200/week.

Is it legal that she paid me $200 or can I or her get in trouble for this?

Dear Au Pair–

Of course you’re confused! It’s confusing!

Here’s what’s straightforward and easy-

It is completely legal for your host mom to pay you more than the required stipend.

Many host parents ’round up’ to $200 these days because it’s easier.
(No decimal points to type in, no cents to balance in the checking account.  Serious time savings!)

You should declare (aka state as your income) exactly the amount that you were paid.

Reporting your actual income and paying your actual fair tax is something for every adult to practice. Feel proud that you are honest. Practice good citizenship.

(And take that, Gerard Depardieu!)

Once you take your tax forms to the post office (or submit them online) take yourself out to Starbucks.

AuPairMom’s one line of tax advice:

Be accurate. Be honest. Be proud that you’re a good citizen– even if you’re just here a year! 


Tristatemom March 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

We had a similar situation, paid the AP $200/week plus additional money for babysitting. All went well until AP went into her second year with a new HF (we needed a good driver and she was just not getting better). We provided AP with the total amount we paid her for the tax year. She went to APIA and complained that we made her work extra to avoid paying taxes. She also withheld her SSA # from us but we reported the income under her name anyway. It turned a previously great relationship sour and while I am sad that we have no contact anymore, I have to accept the fact that she had no problem ratting us out when it suited her purposes. I think she is still in the US and wonder sometimes if that tax issue will have negative implications for her.

HRHM March 12, 2013 at 3:51 am

I don’t see how she could avoid paying taxes by complaining. The IRS and the state department are two totally separate entities. If she got paid the money, the IRS will still want their pound of flesh, whether the rules were followed or not. And while the SD can keep you from hosting future APs, they cannot excuse her tax owed because you didn’t follow their rules. If the agency/lcc told her she didn’t have to pay, they may have just screwed her out of all future visas. Well I guess you reap what you sew.
Re: the SSN, we get copies of all her documents as soon as she gets here/them (passport, visa, license, ssn). If an AP balks that early in the year, it is a total red flag that they are planning on going of the reservation. That way, we have all her info if she loses something and again at tax time.

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