What Hath Zoe Baird Wrought? The New FICA Amendments on Domestic Service Employees
6 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2013
Revelations in 1993 that presidential nominees had failed to pay employment taxes for their maids and nannies prompted public offense at the fact that rich people nominated to high offices to enforce and interpret the law had themselves violated the rights of their own low-paid domestic employees. The scandal may have created the expectation that Congress would act to deter such wrongdoing, but, in a characteristic public policy inversion, the people Congress helped turned out to be not those household workers, but their privileged employers. Thus, whereas Congress purportedly had intended to make it easier for the well-off to pay Social Security taxes for those they employed in their houses, it wound up making it easier and lawful not to pay them.
Keywords: domestic service employees; FICA tax; Social Security; Internal Revenue Code; IRS; independent contractors
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