Do-it-yourself guides for hiring a nanny, paperwork, and the nanny tax

Federal Taxes and Forms

  • IRS topic on Employment Taxes for Household Employees: Main page
  • IRS household employer tax guide: Entry page | .pdf
    • This is the main IRS guide for household employers. It only covers federal regulations and taxes. Make sure the document covers the tax year you are looking for. The IRS seems to regularly update the link to point to the document for the current year.
  • IRS tax guide for employers in general (if you agree to withhold income tax for your nanny, this document contains tables clarifying how much to withhold per pay period): Entry page | .pdf
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): Applying online for an EIN
    • Process for applying for an EIN online. Note that, indeed, the online service is only working during business hours. For us, it failed in not obvious ways when we tried to apply during the night. Getting errors? Just try again the next morning. (What can we say...)
  • I-9 form: Main page | .pdf
    • This is the form for employment verification. It needs to be completed before the nanny starts, and you need to keep it for you records. The link above also contains a Spanish version. Talk to your nanny about the form and what he or she needs to provide in order to complete it.
  • W-2 and W-3 filing: Checklist | Electronic filing instructions
    • This needs to be done once a year. The Social Security Department is offering an online service to do this. Follow the links.
  • Estimated taxes: Main page | .pdf
    • Paying estimated taxes during the year might avoid a penalty if you pay taxes only at year end.
  • W-4 form: Main page | .pdf
    • If you or your nanny is interested in you as the employer witholding income tax, then ask the nanny to fill out this form.
  • IRS employer's tax guide: Entry page | .pdf
    • This is the IRS document that covers all employers. The main reason we are linking it here is that it contains tables for income tax witholding. As a household employer, you are typically not required to withold income taxes for you nanny. But you can do it if your nanny wants this.
  • IRS links to employer forms: Main page

State-Specific Taxes and Regulations

  • Overview of paperwork requirements per state: Main page
  • Unemployment insurance and state agencies: Main page
  • (Washington State) Secure Access Washington is Washington State's umbrella site for a variety of online services for employers. Once you are set up, you can access all the main services you need from this site: Main page
  • (Washington State) Overview of requirements for hiring employees: Main page
  • (Washington State) Employer taxes: Main page
  • (Washington State) Apply for a state business license: Main page
  • (Washington State) Registering your nanny with the Department of Social and Health Services: Main page
  • (Washington State) File quarterly wage reports and pay UI taxes via SAW: Main page
    • If you haven't setup the Employer Account Management System (EAMS) in SAW, this site has step-by-step set up instructions to do this. Once you have this done, filing quarterly reports is as easy as logging into SAW and choosing EAMS under the list of services. This then let's you file the wage report and pay the taxes.
  • (Washington State) Change your business address: Main page
  • (Washington State) Paid Family and Medical Leave program: Main page
  • (Seattle) Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance: Main page


  • Example Payroll Excel spreadsheet: Excel | .pdf.
    • This is a simple Excel spreadsheet that I used for preparing bi-weekly payroll for the nannies we employed. It is specific to my situation. For example, there is a line in the sheet for the worker's compensation and unemployment insurance taxes we needed to pay in the State of Washington. If you live in another state, you will have to adapt this Excel file. Also, make sure to look at the formulas and check them. So far, I had a good experience with the process, but it is absolutely possible that there are mistakes. Please also look at our disclaimer. More information about payroll and background is discussed here.
    • If you don't want to do payroll by yourself. One of the more popular payroll services for nannies. We heard mainly good things about it. Of course, it is a service and must be paid, so will be an additional cost for you.
    • Another quiet popular nanny payroll service. In case you don't want to do it yourself.
  • Generic query for nanny payroll services