I think someone (semi-falsely, read on) wrote that they paid me a nominal amount on their tax return filed this year. I did not file, and did not need to. Several questions about filing, residence, and liability follow, somewhat NYC specific.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
-I don't know where my residency is, for one, or where I am liable for taxes. I'm from Washington (no income tax, and so I've only ever worried about federal taxes). I vote in Washington, and my permanent residence is there (I think), but I'm a student nine months out of the year in NYC.
-In NYC, one family I babysat for (once! We're talking double digits here!) called me around April 14 and asked for my SSN etc. There was significant phone tag, so I never actually talked to him, but I asked how he was planning on reporting it (I was surprised that he was reporting at all - I babysit extensively here, and the only other family that pays on the books established that up front, provided me with a W-4, etc.) - I understand that babysitting work does not qualify as the sort of work a contractor would do, but nevertheless I'd like to know if he were reporting it that way. He said that he would "report that they paid me [amount]." I gave him my info over the phone (in retrospect stupidly). I assume that he did not treat me like a contractor (for which I understand you owe on 100% of income regardless of income), but I am not entirely sure. I've also never paid taxes, so I don't even know how reporting this stuff works.
-I was only employed by them this calendar year, so even if I needed to report that, that would happen in the beginning of 2013. I suspect he reported it for last year, based on when he called. I reminded him in my phone message that it had happened this year, but it's possible he missed that/forgot anyways.
-I didn't file this year. I had no income on the books in 2011 whatsoever, and I have not needed to file in past years (made triple digit amounts, no witholding outside of Medicare etc., no worries about state-level junk before this year).
-I'm not sure if I owe any taxes on that income - obviously it comes nowhere near the federal minimum, but it doesn't look like there's a minimum on city-level income tax. If I did owe taxes, that would be next spring - but if he reported it differently, would somebody come after me?
-I'm not sure if I will need to file for 2011. I will make somewhere between $1k-$3k from the one family that pays on the books, and probably (hopefully!) about the same from summer work. My other income (all babysitting or similar) is off the books, and in small enough quantities that I don't feel especially obligated to report it (should I? I mean, I know it's the law, but...).
-If something looks fishy in this situation (I know it's not a lot of money, but I don't know if they enforce official policy uniformly), would the onus be on me to prove that employment occurred this calendar year?
-I never signed any sort of forms for him (1099, W4, nothing). Nor did I receive any paperwork to fill out, or with any information.
-While I'm posting this question, the aforementioned family that pays on the books (legitimately) pays me physically in cash. I have not been keeping track of the exact total. Will they be liable for sending me some sort of stub eventually with the total when tax time comes? This job started right at the beginning of this calendar year, so it's not a concern quite yet.
So, I'm pretty sure I've done nothing wrong legally, and I don't think I would have needed to file even if that income had been made in 2011 (although it doesn't look like the city-level income tax has a filing minimum). Given that I didn't actually talk to the family before filing day, how should I handle this now? They've expressed interest in employing me further in the future, so I would of course like to keep this relationship good. Should I ask him anything, and if so, what? Should I contact anyone else to follow up?
This is so ridiculous! This is not a family of politicians or lawyers or accountants or government employees (like the other family), and this is not a large amount of money (it is with the other family). I was shocked to get that call - I've made more from big political power players and they've never been concerned with taxes. What a pain. This may all be a nonissue, and I apologize in that case, but I'd like to be safe/prepared - worrying about tax on income for which I never received formal paperwork is uncharted territory.