Best Nanny Payroll Service 2020


Becoming a household employer means a lot more than finding the perfect nanny, in-home caregiver, or housekeeper. It also means learning how to pay payroll taxes, offer benefits, and file new-hire paperwork with your state. Luckily, nanny payroll services come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention a variety of price points. Business.org reviews the year’s best.

The hardest part of hiring a nanny is finding the perfect candidate—or so you thought when you started looking. But now that you’ve located your real-life Mary Poppins, the actual hardest part of hiring a household employee starts to set in: paying their taxes.

But before you can even pay your household employee’s taxes, you have to get a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) so you can pay their taxes. You have to fill out the right documents to report the new hire to your state government. Based on where you live, you might need workers compensation insurance. And at the end of the fiscal year, you need to file all tax paperwork to the IRS and distribute the right forms to your employees so they can track their taxes too.

Remember when you thought hiring a nanny was going to simplify your life? Ah, the good old days.

Here’s the upside, though: it’s not hard to find payroll software or services that handle just about every aspect of paying your nanny (or your gardener, babysitter, nurse, or house cleaner). Read on to see our favorite nanny payroll software for household employers.

Ranking factors

Here’s the criteria we used to find our top nanny payroll picks:

  • Pricing, including year-end tax filing fees, registration fees, and monthly or quarterly costs
  • Customer service, including live chat options, hours of availability, email response times, customer service ratings, and Better Business Bureau complaints
  • Hands-off automation, including options for automated payroll tax filing, end-of-year taxes, and payroll runs
  • User-friendliness, including website accessibility, ease of use, mobile apps, and employee access portals
  • Additional perks, including workers compensation and 401(k) options
  • Tax services, including year-end tax filing guarantees, audit assistance, and tax filing help

Best nanny payroll pricing
BrandStarting base costYear-end tax filing feeAutomatic payroll runsLearn more
SurePayroll$39.99/mo.$45 + $4/employeeYesSee Plan
NannyChex$80/quarterFreeYesSee Plan
Payroll by Wave$20/mo.*$4/employeeNoSee Plan
GTM Payroll Services$65/quarter$100YesSee Plan
Poppins Payroll$39/mo.FreeYesSee Plan
Data effective 10/22/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
*All states start at $20/mo. except for CA, FL, IL, NY, NC, TN, TX, VA, and WA, which start at $35/mo.

SurePayroll: Best overall

SurePayroll
SurePayroll
With its super-affordable monthly price, complete automation, and easy mobile access, SurePayroll is a prime choice for household employers who need total payroll help at a low cost.

Need a nanny payroll service that takes just about everything off your plate without making you pay through the nose? That service is SurePayroll. As a cloud-based nanny payroll solution, SurePayroll includes these features at $39.99 a month for one employee:

  • Automatic state, local, and federal tax filing
  • New-hire state reporting
  • Automated payroll runs
  • Automated direct deposit
  • Online employee pay stub access

SurePayroll has a 100% tax filing guarantee, which means that if it makes a mistake while filing your taxes, it’ll deal with fines and penalties from the IRS instead of shoving the error off on you.

SurePayroll is also one of the only payroll software providers out there with a mobile app. Whether you travel frequently or just like the convenience of paying your nanny or gardener from your phone instead of your laptop, SurePayroll’s iOS and Android apps offer on-the-go payroll flexibility.

Payroll taxes

Employers must withhold a certain amount of taxes from their employees’ paychecks. If you’re a household employer rather than a small-business owner, you aren’t usually required to withhold state and federal income taxes (though if your employee asks you to, you could consider it).

You need to withhold only Social Security and Medicare taxes, then file these taxes with the appropriate government agencies. Nanny payroll software and services calculate taxes for you, deduct the right amount from your employee’s paycheck, and file your taxes on time with the correct agency.

Any downsides? SurePayroll doesn’t have an email option for customer service—you have to call in for help. The website isn’t the most thorough source of information either. Unless you enter your name and email address to get a quote (which is what we did), you can’t see the nanny payroll pricing and features.

SurePayroll’s pricing
Starting costYear-end tax filing chargeMin. annual cost (one employee)Additional cost per employeeLearn more
$39.99/mo.$45$524.88$10/mo. + $4 for year-end tax filingSee Plan
Data effective 10/22/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Cost is a main area where SurePayroll wins big. About half the nanny software companies we review here charge a $100 registration fee, and almost every company charges a full $100 for year-end tax filing. Comparatively, SurePayroll is a steal.

There’s only one plan with SurePayroll, so the features don’t change the more employees you have. Just plan on paying $10 extra per month for each employee and $4 extra for each at the end of the year.

SurePayroll also has a handful of add-on costs that could up your monthly price:

  • Accounting software integration at $4.99 per month
  • Time-tracking software integration at $9.99 per month
  • Local tax filing in Ohio and Pennsylvania at $9.99 per month
  • Multi-state tax filing (if you have employees in multiple states) at $9.99 per month
Nanny payroll software

In spite of the name, nanny payroll software and services aren’t just for people who hire nannies. This type of software serves household employers with any type of household employee, including housekeepers, gardeners, chefs, cleaners, nurses, and more. In fact, in spite of the way these services are advertised, it’s more accurate to call them household payroll services rather than nanny payroll services.

NannyChex: Best outsourced service

NannyChex
NannyChex
As a fully outsourced payroll service, NannyChex handles payroll taxes, sick time and vacation tracking, Employer Identification Number setup, and tax agency correspondence. Just enter some basic employee and pay rate info; after that, you’re good to go.

Nanny taxes aren’t new. They’ve been a confusing thorn in employers’ sides for decades—which is why NannyChex has been around to help parents and other employers since 1995.

Unlike SurePayroll, NannyChex isn’t software. It’s a fully outsourced service, meaning you enter your information online and the service basically takes care of the rest:

  • Automatic tax withholding and filing
  • Direct deposit
  • New hire reporting
  • Employer Identification Number setup
  • Workers compensation audits
  • Sick time, vacation time, and paid-time-off tracking
  • Tax agency correspondence

NannyChex is definitely pricier than SurePayroll (that’s the cost of outsourcing payroll to a service rather than using payroll software), but it doesn’t have a sign-up fee and you can cancel service anytime. NannyChex’s service also hangs on to and archives your tax documents for up to five years and acts as a point of contact if the IRS needs to get in touch.

NannyChex’s plans and pricing
Plan typeStarting cost
Year-end tax preparation charge
Payroll processing feeLearn more
Taxes only$125/quarter$195N/ASee Plan
Full service$80/quarter$150$6.25 per weekly payment or $12.50 per biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly paymentSee Plan
Data effective 10/22/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

NannyChex offers two payroll plans: taxes only or full service. While you can reach out to NannyChex for help calculating paychecks if you choose the taxes-only plan (and use its free payroll calculator to get started), you’ll make all payments yourself. If you stick with the plan for a year, the quarterly charge and year-end tax prep charge add up to $695 per year.

With the full service plan, NannyChex pays your nanny on your behalf, usually through direct deposit. You don’t have to run payroll on your own or even write a check (unless you want to).

NannyChex full-service pricing

If you pay an employee every week for a year, NannyChex charges you $6.25 a week, or $325 a year. With the quarterly charge and year-end tax filing charge, that’s $795 per year.

If you pay an employee every month for a year, NannyChex charges you $12.50 per paycheck, or $150 a year. With the quarterly charge and year-end tax filing charge, that’s $620 per year.

Payroll by Wave: Most affordable

Payroll by Wave
Payroll by Wave
In 41 states, Payroll by Wave can’t file taxes for you, but it can calculate payroll taxes and directly deposit paychecks into your employees’ accounts for $20 a month. In the remaining nine states, Payroll by Wave files your payroll taxes for just $15 more than its already unbeatable price.

In an accounting competition, Wave takes the cake with its completely free accounting software. Its payroll plans aren’t quite free, but they’re the next best thing: in 41 states, monthly payroll costs just $20 a month plus $4 per employee (we talk more about which states cost more and why below).

But Wave’s free accounting app doesn’t cut corners to get you affordable service, and neither does its super-cheap nanny payroll software, which tackles some of the most important aspects of payroll:

  • Automatic payroll tax calculation (not filing)
  • Guaranteed payroll tax accuracy
  • Direct deposit or check printing
  • Employee self-service portal (to access W-2s and pay stubs)
  • Automatic payroll reminders
  • Workers compensation add-ons

Like NannyChex, Payroll by Wave doesn’t require a contract or sign-up fee, which makes it perfect for employers who hire seasonal workers. If you hire a gardener for only a few months out of the year or aren’t sure how long you’ll need an in-house nurse, Wave won’t penalize you for wrapping up your payroll service.

Payroll by Wave plans and pricing
Plan typeStarting costAdditional cost per employeeAutomatic payroll tax filingLearn more
Self service$20/mo.$4NoSee Plan
Full service$35/mo.$4YesSee Plan
Data effective 10/22/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Wave is definitely among the most affordable nanny payroll software options, but it’s more affordable in 41 states than it is in the other 9. In every state except for a chosen few, Wave will calculate your payroll taxes but won’t automatically remit them to the federal or state governments (which is why the software is so inexpensive).

In a few states, though, Payroll by Wave does offer full-service payroll, which means Wave calculates, withdraws, and automatically files taxes for you. Those states include the following:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington

In these states, you can’t opt out of full-service payroll. You will pay $35 even if you’d rather pay the self-service price.

But even at $15 more a month, Payroll by Wave is hard to top. In a self-service state (and with one employee), you’ll pay $288 per year, and in a full-service state, that number goes up to only $420.

NannyChex full-service pricing

If you pay an employee every week for a year, NannyChex charges you $6.25 a week, or $325 a year. With the quarterly charge and year-end tax filing charge, that’s $795 per year.

If you pay an employee every month for a year, NannyChex charges you $12.50 per paycheck, or $150 a year. With the quarterly charge and year-end tax filing charge, that’s $620 per year.

GTM Payroll Services: Best customer service

GTM Payroll Services
GTM Payroll Services
GTM Payroll Services’ price packs a punch, but with its great customer service and comprehensive benefits plans, it’s a good fit for household employers who want competitive benefits and anytime assistance.

GTM Payroll Services calculates payroll taxes, files them on your behalf, and automates payroll so your employees always get paid on time. But it stands out from the other providers in our list in one crucial area: customer service.

For most nanny payroll providers, customer service feels like an afterthought. They lack live customer service chats and offer either phone or email help, not both. GTM Payroll Services is one of the only nanny payroll services with a super-responsive live chat plus phone and email options.

And while GTM doesn’t have an app (SurePayroll is the only app provider on our list), its site is mobile friendly. Using the web browser on your phone, you can securely visit GTM’s site and run payroll for your nanny or other household employee.

GTM Payroll Services also has a few key add-ons:

  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Employee health benefits (including medical, vision, and dental insurance plans)
  • 401(k) options
  • Travel insurance
  • Employee background checks

These services aren’t available in all states and they each cost a fee, but if you want to woo household employees with competitive benefits, GTM can make the process of picking the right benefits virtually pain-free.

GTM Payroll Services plans and pricing
Plan typeCost per additional employeeSetup feeYear-end tax filing chargeLearn more
$65/mo.$20/mo.$95$100See Plan
Data effective 10/22/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Now for the bad news: GTM Payroll Services is the priciest payroll provider in our top five. Not only does it charge $65 a month—much higher than any other service we’ve discussed so far—but it also charges extra for registration and setting up your account. And there’s a whopping $60 charge per quarter for each additional employee.

In short, if a comprehensive payroll solution with standout customer service is what you’re looking for, it’s hard to top GTM Payroll Services . . . but you’ll definitely be paying for the help.

Legal compliance alert: Can I pay my nanny through my small business?

No, you cannot pay your nanny through your small business. If you’re going to pay a household employee, the federal government requires you to obtain a new Employer Identification Number. Making small-business tax deductions based on a household employee’s salary is against the law and can result in hefty fines—it’s not worth the risk.

Poppins Payroll: Most user-friendly

Poppins Payroll
Poppins Payroll
Although its service is currently limited to just a few states, Poppins Payroll is a powerful up-and-comer with low prices, extensive bookkeeping, and ultimate user-friendliness.

If you were hoping at least one nanny payroll service out there locked down a Mary Poppins reference, Poppins Payroll is absolutely here for you. Its name is definitely the best of the bunch, and in terms of cost and services, it rivals even SurePayroll. At $39 a month, Poppins Payroll will take on the following tasks:

  • Employer Identification Number registration
  • New-hire paperwork filing
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic electronic tax filing
  • Digital bookkeeping

Digital bookkeeping is where Poppins Payroll really stands out for us. While some payroll providers (like NannyChex) will hang on to your tax documents for a few years, Poppins Payroll keeps your tax and payroll documents for five years and makes them easily accessible to users on its intuitive interface.

Speaking of interfacing, Poppins Payroll is one of the only nanny payroll providers with an easy-on-the-eyes website. The format is cute and friendly, the FAQs are easy to read and understand, and the sample nanny contract is helpful for first-time household employers who want to check all the boxes. Design certainly isn’t everything, but in a field where sites tend to look outdated, Poppins pops.

Poppins Payroll pricing
Starting costRegistration feeYear-end feesLearn more
$39/mo.NoNoSee Plan
Data effective 10/22/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Like SurePayroll, Poppins Payroll has only one plan—and it’s a pretty good one. With no registration fees, no contract, and no year-end or quarterly fees, Poppins Payroll is perfectly primed to knock out some of the bigger names. The only reason it doesn’t? Poppins Payroll is brand-new to the game, and as best we can tell, it serves only a handful of states, including CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MD, NY, TX, VA, and WA.

Why’d we still rank Poppins Payroll so high if it serves so few states? Because the company’s only about a year old and it already offers full-service tax prep in 10 states compared to Payroll by Wave’s 9 states. It plans to expand to more states soon, so we’re going to keep our eye on the company, and we recommend you do too.

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Alternate nanny payroll options

If our top picks above don’t meet your needs, don’t worry—there are plenty more where those came from. Here are five more picks we think are worth your while.

Savvy Nanny: Best affordable alternative

Savvy Nanny starts at a supremely reasonable $40 per month (for up to four employees) with a $50 year-end tax filing fee, which means you’ll pay around $530 a year. While you have to email or call to sign up, subscribers can access live chat, phone, and email support six days a week.

Learn More

HomeWork Solutions: Best dedicated assistance

HomeWork Solutions is even older than NannyChex—founded in 1993 to NannyChex’s 1995—and puts its experience to good use. Pricing-wise, it’s comparable to GTM, including the $60-per-employee quarterly add-on. Once you open an account, you get a dedicated account representative who knows everything there is to know about your payroll.

Learn More

NannyPay: Best self service

NannyPay is a downloadable payroll software program that starts at just under $150 per year. There are a few trade-offs for the price: NannyPay doesn’t manage direct deposit on your behalf and you have to file all taxes yourself. But if you want accurate calculations and easy-to-generate, signature-ready tax forms, NannyPay has you covered.

Learn More

HomePay: Most established

At over $1000 per year, HomePay is easily the priciest of the bunch, which makes it a little hard to recommend. But it does offer workers compensation options and easy online account access for employers via myHomePay.com. Employees can also access their tax information using the web portal.

Learn More

Simple Nanny Payroll: Best calculator

Simple Nanny Payroll isn’t a full-service payroll option. Instead, it’s a DIY service that lets you calculate nanny payroll taxes and reach out to customer service for tax resources if you run into trouble. The payroll calculator is pretty handy, and the service costs only $29 for a full year. Simple Nanny Payroll isn’t too fancy, but it’s definitely a step above a spreadsheet; if you’re on a pretty limited budget and want to make sure you’re calculating taxes correctly, it’s a solid choice.

Learn More

The takeaway

With the right nanny payroll service, your household hiring decision really can make life easier. Once you take taxes off the table, you can focus on your employee’s work, benefits, and happiness—and on enjoying the tax-free time payroll software opens up for you.

Looking for bookkeeping software that makes running household finances a little easier? Our top bookkeeping software picks for small businesses could work for you too.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.