Tax Resources for Au Pairs: A Guide to Filing for 2019

5 minutes

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It is now officially tax season in the United States, and InterExchange Au Pair USA would like to provide you with helpful information for filing and paying your taxes for the calendar year 2019. The due date for filing is July 15, 2020. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers au pairs employees for tax purposes, so au pairs must file and pay income tax for money earned in the United States in 2019. We recognize that filing and paying your taxes can be confusing, so please read the following information carefully.

Please note: The information provided here is provided as general guidance only. InterExchange Staff and InterExchange Au Pair USA Local Coordinators are not licensed tax advisors and cannot provide official tax advice. We encourage you to review the links in this message and in the Resources tab in Passport, your online InterExchange portal. If you still have questions, you should contact a tax advisor.

Step 1: Review Your Orientation Training

Watch the section on Taxes in our Know Before You Go online training. The tax information section begins at minute 28:00. You can also find this Orientation video under the Resources tab in Passport.

Step 2: Calculate Your Earnings

You will need to calculate your earnings from January 1 through December 31, 2019 (do not include any earnings from 2018 or 2020) and file your taxes. Using your Au Pair Schedule and Weekly Planner or other record of your earnings, add all the weekly stipend amounts that you received from your host family during the calendar year 2019.

Step 3: Determine If You Owe Money to the IRS

Visit the IRS website and read the instructions for au pairs here.

Step 4: Decide Either to Use a Tax Service or to File Your Taxes Yourself

There are many tax services and professionals who can help you file your taxes. Search the internet to find a good and reliable resource, but please be cautious about using tax services that are advertised online specifically to au pairs and sharing your Social Security Number (SSN) online. Alternatively, you can follow the steps below to complete them yourself.

Step 5: If you decide to file taxes without the help of a tax service, review the following information:

Form and Instructions for 1040-NR-EZ

Download and fill out the Form 1040-NR-EZ. Keep the following information in mind while filling out your form:

  • Your Identifying Number is your Social Security Number. Have this number ready. You will need this number to complete your forms.
  • Credits: For tax purposes, the IRS doesn’t consider au pairs to be “students” in the United States. Therefore you are not eligible to exclude au pair wages from gross income under the student article of any U.S. income tax treaty. Au pairs are not eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Hope Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit.
  • As of 2018, the Personal Exemption has been eliminated. In previous years, a Personal Exemption was an amount of money you could earn without having to pay tax on that amount.
  • As non-resident aliens, au pairs are not eligible for a Standard Deduction. The Standard Deduction is another amount of money that is not taxed.
  • As non-resident aliens, au pairs will owe tax on all of the money they earned in 2019.
  • Look up your taxable income amount in the tax table at the end of the instructions and see the amount you will owe in taxes. This is the amount you will pay to the IRS. For example, you earned $10,179 you would owe $1031 in taxes.
  • Remember to sign your form at the bottom. Forms are only considered valid if they are signed.
  • You must also fill out the opposite side of the form with your information (Page 2).

Step 6: Pay Your Taxes

In the event that you owe money for taxes, you must make payment for the total amount due. There are several options for making your tax payment:

  • To pay by credit or debit card you can pay your taxes online using the options provided by the IRS. Print your confirmation after payment is made. There is a fee for this option
  • Pay by Phone
  • Pay Online
  • IRS2GoApp is the official online mobile app of the IRS.
  • To pay by check or money order write your check or money order in US dollars and make it payable to the “United States Treasury” for the full amount due.
  • Write “2019 Form 1040NR-EZ” and your full name, address, daytime phone number, and Social Security number on your check or money order.

Step 7: Mail in Your Forms

Where to File provides instructions on submitting your Form. Before mailing in your tax return:

  • Keep a copy of all your documents including the tax return and check.
  • Include a copy of the credit/debit card payment confirmation if paid online.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When do I file a U.S. tax return?

A U.S. tax return MUST be electronically filed or postmarked before July 15th 2020.

2. Do I need to include a W-2 form with my tax filing?

Since au pair wages are paid for domestic service in a private home, they are not subject to mandatory U.S. income tax withholding and reporting on Forms 941 and W-2. However, au pair wages are includible in the gross income of the recipients, and au pairs are required to file U.S. individual income tax returns.

3. What should I indicate for line I?

If this is your first year as an au pair you will mark “NO”. If you are an extension au pair and you filed a tax return last year, you will mark the year of that return and the form filed (1040NR-EZ).

4. Am I eligible for any Tax Treaty benefit as referenced on line J?

No. Since au pairs are not considered full-time “students” by the IRS they are not eligible for any Tax Treaty benefit their home country may have with the United States. You may skip this question by indicating “not applicable”.

5. Do I pay state and local taxes?

Please check with your local laws regarding state and local taxes.

Theresa Edwards

Theresa Edwards has worked in the au pair industry the last 24 years. She began as a Local Coordinator and over the course of her career has mentored Field Staff, supervised thousands of placements in the U.S., and developed sales & marketing, as well as, training for the field. Theresa and her family have also hosted au pairs and now their extended family reaches Europe and Brazil where they are considered "host-grandparents" to the children of their personal au pairs. Theresa is currently the Director of Field Services for InterExchange's Au Pair USA program.

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