You're about to become acquainted with another, albeit less enthralling, aspect of American culture: tax season. 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 2016. InterExchange recognizes that filing and paying your taxes can be confusing, so please follow the steps below to better understand the tax process.
Please note: The information below is a general guideline. InterExchange staff and InterExchange Au Pair USA Local Coordinators are not licensed tax advisors and cannot provide official tax advice. Please contact a tax advisor for any additional questions.
Step 1: Review Your Training
Watch the section on Understanding Compensation, Regulations and Taxes in our Know Before You Go online training. You can find this video under the Resources tab on Passport. Pay special attention to Lesson 6, Part 3.
Step 2: Social Security Number
Have your Social Security number ready when filing your taxes. You will need this number to complete your forms.
Step 3: Calculate Your Earnings
You will need to calculate your earnings from January 1 through December 31, 2016 (do not include any earnings from 2015 or 2017) and file your taxes. Using your Au Pair Schedule & Weekly Planner, add all the weekly stipend amounts that you earned from your host family during the calendar year 2016.
For example: Anna arrived to her host family's home in early June. She worked as an au pair for 28 weeks in 2016 and received $5,481 in minimum weekly stipend amounts in the year 2016.
($195.75 * 28 weeks = $5,481)
Step 4: Do You Owe Money to the IRS?
How do you know if you owe taxes? The exemption amount - that is, the amount you can earn that is considered tax-free - for the 2016 tax year is $4,050. If you made less than $4,050 in the calendar year 2016, you do not owe any money for taxes, and you do not need to file. If you made more than $4,050 in 2016, follow the additional steps below.
Step 5: Fill Out the 1040NR-EZ
Your Identifying Number is your Social Security Number.
You should not have any itemized deductions, so the amount entered would be $0. If you believe you do have itemized deductions, please contact a tax professional.
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.
Information on where to file is on Page 3 of the 1040NR-EZ instructions.
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: Make Copies of Your Documents
Make photocopies of or scan your 1040NR-EZ form and keep them for your records.
Step 7: Pay Your Taxes
Pay your taxes using the options provided by the IRS.
Kate Ferrin spent over ten years globetrotting doing a variety of things - studying in Hungary, housekeeping in Spain, marketing in Holland, teaching in Thailand, and more. After working for an intercultural youth exchange program in Chile, she came to New York and InterExchange in 2010 and is currently the Au Pair USA Participant Services Manager.