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What if I only hire occasionally?

There are tax considerations even when you hire only occasionally:

Federal Trigger: In 2017, $2,000 a year was the annual dollar amount paid someone working in or around your home that makes them your W-2 employee. Take for example that gardener who maintains your yard working some 10 or 15 hours a month, or the babysitter or senior caregiver you hire on occasion, if the amount you pay any of them aggregates to $2,000 or more per the calendar year, the IRS wants you to treat them as your (W-2) household employees.

State (EDD) Trigger: In 2017, $750 a quarter paid out to anyone working in or around your home compels you to register with the EDD (California’s Employment Development Department), report employee wages, and withhold SDI on the whole amount paid out.

State (UI and ETT) Triggers: In 2017, $1,000 a quarter paid out to anyone working in or around your home compels you to start paying UI (California’s Unemployment Insurance) and ETT (California’s Employment Training Tax).

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