Minnesota Nanny Tax Rules

Our Guide for Minnesota Household Employers

Need help with the legalese around nanny taxes? Trying to figure out how to pay your household employee the right way?

We’ve put together a bunch of useful info for you here. If it still seems like too much, we can handle everything for $49 a month. You can even try Poppins for free!*

Am I a household employer?

If you pay a household employee such as a nanny, babysitter, caregiver or house manager more than $2,700 a year or $1,000 in a quarter to perform work in your home (or occasionally even out of your home such as in a nanny share), you are a household employer.

Why pay nanny taxes?

There are important benefits to following the law. It gives your employee Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance benefits. It also allows her to build her credit. Paying legally sets you up to take advantage of tax credits for dependent care. Finally, you never know when you might get nominated for the Supreme Court. And, we all know how that ends if you haven’t paid your nanny taxes.

So what are my tax obligations as a Minnesota household employer?

As a household employer, you must comply with certain tax obligations, commonly referred to as the “nanny taxes” or “household payroll taxes.” It’s complicated, but generally, after you have registered as an employer with all the appropriate agencies, you must:

  • Register – You need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number and register with the Minnesota Employment and Economic Development Department and the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
  • Report your employee – All employees must be registered with the State within 20 days of hiring.
  • Payroll - At every pay period, withhold Social Security, Medicare and income taxes from the employee’s paycheck per the employee’s W4 and M-4 elections and make employer contributions to the Social Security and Medicare and unemployment funds.
  • Quarterly - submit the proper paperwork and payments to the correct agencies. The agencies will typically include the IRS and the State.
  • Year-End - provide your employee with his or her W-2 form, submit such information to the Social Security Administration, submit state reconciliations and prepare a Schedule H to file with your individual tax returns.

You can find all the information about your federal obligations in the IRS’s Publication 926 – Household Employer’s Tax Guide and your Minnesota obligations in An Employer’s Guide to Employment Law Issues in Minnesota (note that this information may be a bit dated), the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Employer Handbook and the Minnesota Department of Revenue Withholding Fact Sheet.

The IRS estimates that it would take you 60 hours to comply with the federal nanny tax regulations. That does sound, well, taxing. Poppins can take care of all of it for $49 a month! That includes all your state and federal registrations, new hire reporting, payroll calculations and direct deposit, quarterly state and federal filings and the year-end documents for you and your employee. You can even try Poppins for free!*

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What are the required tax and legal forms?

If you decide to handle payroll and taxes yourself, you’ll need to know about these forms:

Form I-9: Have your employee complete this form when hired and provide the required proof of ID.

Form W-4: Have your employee complete this form which dictates how federal income tax is withheld.

Form 1040-ES: On a quarterly basis send this form to the IRS along with payment to report taxes from previous quarter. Don’t forget that federal quarter dates do not always line up with calendar quarters!

Form W-2: Fill out Form W-2 if you pay wages of $1,000 or more, and give Copies B, C and 2 to your nanny. Copy A (along with Form W-3) goes to the Social Security Administration.

Schedule H: If you pay your nanny cash wages of $1,000 or more in a calendar quarter or $2,700 in a calendar year, file Schedule H.

Minnesota Directory of New Hires: Complete this form to report your new employee to the State.

M-4: Have your employee complete this form which dictates how Minnesota income tax is withheld.

But if that sounds like too much, Poppins can take care of all these filings for $49 a month! We gather all the information we need from you during signup, generate your forms through our system, make all the appropriate tax calculations, and submit everything on your behalf.

Do I need to have a written contract with my employee?

All Minnesota employers must provide employees with a written notice detailing important terms of employment, including how much the employee will earn, when they will be paid. The notice must include a statement, in multiple languages, that informs employees they may request the notice be provided to them in another language. The state provides a form that can be used by employers.

The City of Minneapolis has additional pre-hire written notice requirements. Minneapolis also provides a form that can be used by employers.

Both Minneapolis and non-Minneapolis employers are required to provide employees in writing any changes to the information in the notices before the date the changes take effect, and must keep signed copies of the notices.

It is a really good idea to have a written employment agreement with your employee. A written employment agreement spells out the obligations of both parties, including hours, compensation, duties, benefits and PTO. This is really important if the relationship doesn’t work out, and there is ever a dispute. Just as important, it helps you discuss the important issues with your employee at the outset. This way you make sure you have a good relationship and understanding before you even start.

We’ve put together a Sample Nanny Contract and a Sample Caregiver Contract for your reference. This should give you a good idea of the issues that are usually covered.

What other laws do I need to know about?

Time is money


The Minnesota minimum wage is $8.85 an hour for small employers (less than $500,000 in revenue). The minimum wage in Minneapolis is $14.50 an hour. The St. Paul minimum wage is $11.50 per hour for micro employers (5 or fewer employees) and will increase to $12.25 on July 1, 2024, to $13.25 on July 1, 2025, to $14.25 on July 1, 2026 and to $15 on July 1, 2027.


Household employers in Minnesota must pay overtime at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. You must also pay overtime if your employee lives in your home.


In Minnesota, household employees effectively must be paid by the hour, rather than by salary. The Poppins system ensures that all Minnesota payroll is hourly to comply with the law.


Minnesota law requires employers to give employees an itemized paystub with every paycheck. With Poppins Payroll, you can have paystubs emailed directly to your employee every payday.


Minnesota household employers are required to pay employees at least once a month.


Household employers in Minnesota must provide workers compensation insurance to employees who earn more than $1,000 in a quarter. Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to your employee in the event of an on-the-job injury. It can also limit an employer’s liability.

We’ve partnered with Bhalu Insurance, because they’re THE experts in Workers Comp Insurance for household employers. In fact, that’s literally all they do. Check out their site for a free quote or give them a shout. We think they’re pretty awesome.


If you choose to reimburse your employee for driving on the job, you can use the current federal mileage reimbursement rate. Mileage reimbursement is not considered taxable compensation. To ensure the amount is not taxed, enter mileage reimbursements as a “Reimbursement” amount on your payroll.


A terminated employee's paycheck must be paid within 24 hours of the employee's demand for wages. If an employee quits, wages are due on the next pay period that is more than five days after quitting. However, wages must be paid within 20 days of separation. An employer must give a truthful reason why an employee was terminated, if requested in writing by the employee within 15 working-days of termination. The employer has 10 working-days from receipt of the request to give a truthful reason in writing for the termination.


There are a number of other notices that Minnesota employers must post or provide to their employees. There are additional notices required by Minneapolis and St. Paul.


Household employers must keep accurate records of hours worked by employees and wages paid on an ongoing basis. These records must be kept for at least 3 years. With Poppins, we’ll keep all this information in your online filing cabinet, which you’ll be able to access even after you’re not using us to run your payroll.


Minnesota requires employers to provide employees with paid sick and safe leave if they work at least 80 hours in a year. An employee must earns leave at a rate of at least one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked. Employers can set the maximum amount of leave at 48 hours (or more) each year.

Employees can use their earned sick and safe time for reasons such as: the employee’s mental or physical illness, treatment or preventive care; a family member’s mental or physical illness, treatment or preventive care; absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of the employee or a family member; closure of the employee’s workplace due to weather or public emergency or closure of a family member’s school or care facility due to weather or public emergency; and when determined by a health authority or health care professional that the employee or a family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.

Employers must include the total number of earned sick and safe time hours available for use, as well as the total number of earned sick and safe time hours used, on earnings statements provided to employees at the end of each pay period. With Poppins, after you setup your sick leave policy, the balances will appear on your employee’s paystub. Employers also need to provide employees with a notice at the start of employment, in English and in an employee’s primary language, informing them about earned sick and safe time.


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Poppins Payroll® happily presents an easier way to handle taxes and payroll for nannies, housekeepers, senior caregivers and anyone else you employ in your home. Turns out you don’t have to empty your wallet to run a perfect payroll.

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