If your family member needs help with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, and laundry, but you are not able to provide assistance at all times, you will probably want to hire an in-home caregiver to help out. You may be tempted to go online and find someone to hire under the table. Some family members choose this option to save money, but it carries several risks.
Hiring a Caregiver under the Table Is Against the Law
First of all, hiring someone under the table is illegal. If you pay someone more than $1,800 to care for a loved one, the Internal Revenue Service considers that person your employee. That means that you are responsible for withholding and paying state and federal income taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Some people try to get around the tax issue by calling the caregiver a contractor and filing a W-9 to report the wages they pay the caregiver. The caregiver is then responsible for paying taxes. However, most caregivers do not meet the IRS’s definition of a contractor. The IRS is cracking down on people trying to skirt the law.
If you hire someone completely under the table and don’t report the income at all, things can get even more serious. You and the caregiver will be defrauding the government. If you get caught, you will have to pay back taxes, interest, and penalties. If you get caught several years after you hire the caregiver, you could owe thousands of dollars. You may think the chance of getting caught is low, but you can be found out if you get audited or if the caregiver files for unemployment benefits in the future.
A Caregiver You Hire under the Table Could Be Dishonest or Have a Criminal Record
When you hire a caregiver through an agency, that person will need to undergo a background check to look for a criminal record. The background check will also verify education and previous employment. Agencies often check caregivers’ driving records and make sure they have valid licenses. If you hire someone under the table, you will need to conduct a background check yourself. Since the relationship will be illegal, the caregiver may be tempted to lie about past employment or give false references with no fear of consequences.
When you hire a caregiver under the table, the person may be someone who could not get hired by an agency because of a criminal record. The caregiver may be more likely to steal from your loved one because he or she believes you would not report it, since that would mean exposing the fact that you yourself are engaged in illegal activity.
A Caregiver Hired under the Table May Not Have Insurance
Professional caregivers are often bonded and have disability insurance. When you hire someone under the table, he or she is unlikely to be bonded and insured. That means that if a caregiver gets hurt on the job, he or she can seek financial damages directly from you.
Caregivers Hired under the Table Have Higher Turnover Rates
If you hire a caregiver under the table, he or she may quit with little or no notice. Families experience much higher turnover when they hire caregivers under the table than when they hire through an agency. You will have no protection, since you will not have a contract or a legally binding agreement.
Find a Caregiver for Your Loved One from Dependable Care
Hiring a caregiver under the table is fraught with risks. It may cost more to hire someone through an agency, but you will have better protection for your family, and you will not have to worry about getting in trouble with the government later on.
Dependable Care has a team of trained caregivers who have helped many seniors and their families across Connecticut. We can find the right caregiver to help your loved one with cooking, cleaning, laundry, toileting, bathing, dressing, and other daily activities. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.