Under the table childcare…

17 Sep

A semi-web-disabled friend wrote to call Bullshit on the USDA Expenditure study, which notes that families w/over $98,000 income pay a lifetime 0-17 expenditure of $19-$23k on kids, which includes childcare and education.

Interestingly, there was a recent article on the declining number of families (fuck it, let’s just say women. I mean, it’s mostly women who do the hiring, firing, management of market-exported domestic work anyhow) are reporting this income. Basically, it’s because the IRS doesn’t find you if you don’t – unless you have modest income, then they find you and fuck you over – and because it’s complicated to file the Schedule H paperwork.

NPR actually picked up the story as well, and added the fact that nannies’ preferences are also part of the story:

The tax applies to anyone employing a worker in their household to whom they pay more than $1,700 a year. That goes for housekeepers, nannies, and healthcare workers. The tax calls for withholding 15.3% a year to cover Medicaid and Social Security payments.

The problem is, hardly anybody pays it.

Two years ago, about 219,000 households filed the required Schedule H that goes along with the payments. That’s down from about 500,000 in 1994, reports columnist and Syracuse University lecturer David Johnston. He used a thesis by U-Mass Amherst graduate student Catherine Haskins as a springboard into the issue.

So, are that many fewer people hiring household help?

No way. Johnston says the paperwork has become too complicated to fill out, and many people can’t afford to pay the taxes. The biggest evaders are those who make less than $31,000 a year, he says. He also says more nannies are setting themselves up as businesses, exempting themselves from the tax.

So maybe the reason why lifetime expenditures are relatively low is that a) most people don’t live in NYC and pay a wheelbarrow filled with money for education and/or childcare; and b) apparently most people low-ball their payments to nannies. This, along with the hows and wheres education, is the biggest source of unknown and anxiety on the horizon for me. Of course, when it’s me, I’m sure we’ll have some better justification than ‘oops’ or ‘yeah, the world sucks’. Or, maybe not.

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One Response to “Under the table childcare…”

  1. Davin September 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Yeah, I’m way too lazy to look up the study, but slightly over $1000/kid/year seems comically low. I mean, really, we spend more than that per month on childcare, and Der Squiggler is at the cheapest daycare in the neighborhood. I bet the clothing costs alone are more than that, once they hit adolescence.

    And jiu-jitsu lessons aren’t free, neither.

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