If you reach a time in your life when you need to hire a caregiver either for yourself or a loved one, your first instinct may be to tackle the job by yourself. After all, you’re a DIY kind of person and believe eliminating the “middle man” would save you some money. Before you tackle this job, be sure you know what it really involves. You will in effect become an employer. This means you will have to:
*complete an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form showing that your employee can legally work in the United States
*arrange for background checks and drug tests of the caregiver
*do an interview and check references
After you’ve hired your new employee, all the real paperwork begins. You are now responsible for the withholding of federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and State employment taxes. You will also need to file Federal Unemployment Taxes and will have to provide a Form W-2 to your employee by January 31st. You’ll need to make arrangements for insurance if your “employee” gets hurt on the job. If you skip this step you just leave yourself open to a lawsuit if an injury occurs. If you decide to pay the caregiver in cash and skip all these steps you would be committing tax fraud which is illegal and can result in jail time, back taxes, and a variety of penalties.
Another option you may think of is to claim the caregiver is an “independent contractor” thereby freeing you of these responsibilities. That would be virtually impossible to do because by definition an independent contractor sets the schedule and decides how services are performed. Is that what you want for your loved one—-caregivers who do what they want, when they want, and how they want? Going this route is considered tax evasion by the IRS.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when you need to get help for yourself or a loved one is the fact that you already have plenty on your plate. You are surely dealing with constraints on your time and with the health issues of the one who needs care. What if your employee becomes ill or can’t come to work for some reason? Who will care for your loved one? Think long and hard before you make this choice. Employing an agency will give you the freedom to concentrate on your loved one instead of the books. We can help. Visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com