ServiceLink: How to Hire a Private Duty Caregiver

Important information regarding employment of individuals:

  • Under common law rules, anyone who performs services for an individual is the individual's employee if the individual who is paying for services can control what will be done and how it will be done. This is true even if the individual gives the employee freedom of action. What matters is that the individual who is paying for services has the right to control the details of how the services are performed (IRS Publication 15a) and is considered the common law employer.


  • Individuals who are paid to provide direct service (respite care, personal care services, housekeeping, lawn work, etc.) are not considered to be independent contractors unless they are a legitimate independent business (such as a lawn care company). These individuals meet the definition of employee and must comply with all state and federal employment and tax withholding laws.

  • This information is important for family caregivers who privately pay for an individual to come into their home to provide services. Generally, the common law employer is responsible for withholding, filing and paying federal income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA), and the federal and state unemployment insurance taxes (FITA and SUTA).


  • A common law employer can be held liable for employment taxes plus interest and penalties if a worker is incorrectly classified as an independent contractor.
For more information, call our Caregiver Specialist Toll Free 1-866-634-9412 or locally at (603) 528-6945.


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