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. Fortunately, 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 services for household employers.
The 10 Best Nanny Payroll Services of 2021
We recently updated this page to reflect our top payroll picks’ most current pricing and plan information. We also made one ranking change: we switched out Wave Payroll for NannyPay. NannyPay’s DIY software is both more affordable than Wave and tailored specifically to household employers, so we moved it up to fifth place.
We recently reviewed this page and made a few ranking changes based on our top picks’ plan and pricing information. Most notably, we moved Paychex into our top five. It’s our top choice for household employers who want to offer benefits like health insurance to prospective employees.
Best nanny payroll services of 2021
- : Best overall
- : Most comprehensive
- : Best for 2+ employees
- : Best benefit add-ons
- : Best DIY software
- : Most user-friendly
- : Best dedicated assistance
- : Simplest setup
- : Best HR support
- : Cheapest calculator-only
Best nanny payroll pricing
Starting base cost
Tax filing fees
|SurePayroll||$49.99/mo.||Unlisted||Tax filing guarantees, new hire reporting, mobile app||See Plan|
|NannyChex||$6.25 per weekly paycheck or $12.50 per biweekly paycheck||$80.00/quarter + $150.00 for year-end tax prep||Comprehensive nanny payroll services, dedicated account representative||See Plan|
|Savvy Nanny||$40.00/mo.||$50.00 for year-end tax prep||No quarterly tax filing fee, up to 2 employees per plan||See Plan|
|Paychex||$59.00/mo. + $4.00/employee||Unlisted||Benefit add-ons, tax filing guarantee||See Plan|
|NannyPay||$149.95/yr.||None||Paycheck and pay stub printing, signature-ready Schedule H||See Plan|
Data effective 1/12/21. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
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
SurePayroll: Best overall nanny payroll service
If you don’t want to deal with any aspect of nanny payroll, from writing checks to remitting taxes, SurePayroll is hands-down the best choice. Its nanny payroll service is both comprehensive and fully automated: SurePayroll calculates, deducts, and files nanny taxes, then automatically pays your nanny via direct deposit. With SurePayroll’s auto-payroll feature, you don’t have to remember to pay your employee on time—the software does it automatically.
Best of all, SurePayroll plans include a tax filing guarantee. SurePayroll promises that the taxes it helps you calculate (or the taxes it files for you) are accurate. If they aren’t, SurePayroll deals with the IRS and pays all associated fines and fees.
And both SurePayroll plans include a tax filing guarantee: SurePayroll promises that the taxes it helps you calculate (or the taxes it files for you) are accurate. If they aren’t, SurePayroll deals with the IRS and pays all associated fines and fees.
Regardless of the plan you pick, you get these SurePayroll perks:
- New hire state reporting
- Automatic payroll payments and direct deposit
- Employer-facing mobile app (for paying nannies on the go)
- Solid US-based customer service support, including evenings and weekends
SurePayroll definitely has a few drawbacks. For one, it’s less comprehensive than providers who also offer employee benefits and workers compensation insurance. And it’s pricier than competitors like Savvy Nanny and NannyPay. But if you’re looking for secure, hands-off nanny payroll processing, SurePayroll's simple automation absolutely will hit the spot.
NannyChex: Best outsourced service
Along with payroll tax calculation and filing, NannyChex offers a host of services for household employers who want a totally hands-off nanny payroll experience:
- New hire reporting
- Employer Identification Number setup
- Sick time, vacation time, and paid time off (PTO) tracking
Each NannyChex customer also gets a dedicated account specialist who knows your situation inside and out. They can answer any questions not just about taxes but about your taxes in particular.
NannyChex offers two payroll plans: a tax-only plan or a full-service plan. With the tax-only plan, NannyChex takes care of everything for you except directly paying your nanny—you'll write the check yourself. Full-service takes care of direct deposit, though you'll pay a fee for each paycheck deposited: $6.25 for weekly paychecks and $12.50 for bimonthly or monthly paychecks.
Since NannyChex handles every aspect of household employment, it costs a little more than pay-per-month software like SurePayroll. With the tax-only plan, you'll pay $125 for quarterly tax filing and $195 for year-end tax prep, which brings your total to $695 per year. The full-service plan charges less in tax filing fees ($80 per quarter plus $150 for year-end tax filing), but since you're paying for each deposited check, the yearly total is closer to $795. (In contrast, SurePayroll’s plan totals just under $600 a year.)
Savvy Nanny: Best for 2+ employees
If you're paying two household employees to watch your kids, Savvy Nanny should be at the top of your list. Its $40-a-month plan lets you pay two employees and doesn't charge you extra for each paycheck deposited: the flat rate you see is exactly what you get. And if you have more than two employees, Savvy Nanny has your back there too. Each additional employee costs $6 extra per month and $5 extra at the end of the year.
Savvy Nanny also keeps things affordable by charging a one-time year-end tax filing fee of just $50. Compare that to NannyChex’s $80 fee per quarter and $150 fee for year-end filing and you can see why Savvy Nanny stands out. While you have to email or call to sign up, subscribers can access live chat, phone, and email support six days a week.
While Savvy Nanny looks cost-effective on paper, the service charges a series of fees that can add up if you're not careful. For instance, if you don't have sufficient funds to cover a payroll run, you're charged $150 for a first offense, $250 for a second, and $400 for a third. You’ll also pay $150 if you want to access tax documents that are more than two years old, or $100 to request changes after Savvy Nanny deposits your nanny's first paycheck.
With unlimited payroll runs and automatic tax filing, Gusto helps small-business owners worry less about payroll and put more time into growing their business.
- Get automatic payroll tax filing, including end-of-year tax forms
- Manage workers compensation insurance
- Track paid time off, sick leave, and holiday pay
Paychex: Best benefits add-ons
Paychex offers everything you’d expect from a full-service nanny payroll provider, like calculating payroll taxes and paying your nanny automatically. But it stands out in one extremely crucial way. Unlike many nanny-specific payroll providers, Paychex offers optional benefit add-ons. You can use Paychex to offer competitive benefits like the following:
- Employee health benefits (including medical, vision, and dental insurance plans)
- Workers compensation insurance
- 401(k) options
Bear in mind that since you’ll pay extra for these services, Paychex’s $59 a month is just a starting price. But that higher price gets you a host of other perks too. For instance, Paychex offers the absolute best payroll app for employers. If you spend a lot of time away from home (and your computer), Paychex simplifies on-the-go payroll better than any other provider. Paychex also has better customer service than cheaper competitors. You can contact the US-based customer service team 24/7, and Paychex’s HR experts are always on hand to answer benefits-related questions.
NannyPay: Best DIY software
NannyPay is a payroll software program that starts at just under $150 per year—an impossible price to beat.
If you’re wondering why it’s so cheap, well, NannyPay calculates taxes for you, but it can’t file them on your behalf. The same is true of employee paychecks. NannyPay will tell you how much to pay your employee, but it doesn’t include the same direct deposit features as SurePayroll, Paychex, and Nanny Chex.
While NannyPay is pretty basic, it takes care of a few payroll tasks beyond paycheck calculations. For instance, you can print checks and pay stubs, store and organize crucial tax documents, and print out pre-filled end-of-year tax forms.
Poppins Payroll: Most user-friendly
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. At $39 a month, Poppins Payroll will take on just about every payroll task you need, from Employer Identification Number registration to new-hire paperwork filing. The service files taxes for you, stores records, and even helps with bookkeeping. Most notably, it doesn't charge extra for quarterly or year-end tax filing.
Unfortunately, Poppins Payroll is available in only 11 states and the District of Columbia. We hope Poppins Payroll expands soon—the other 39 states could definitely benefit from its stellar service, adorable website, and super low cost.
HomeWork Solutions: Best dedicated assistance
HomeWork Solutions’ full-service plan includes a dedicated account representative, comprehensive tax filing services, tax document storage, and employee pay stub access. But at $225 a quarter ($900 for the year), HomeWork Solutions is on the pricier end of the nanny payroll spectrum.
The streamlined Essential Payroll plan costs a more affordable $150 a quarter (or $600 a year, closer to SurePayroll’s nanny payroll plan). This plan cuts out a few benefits, like tracking leave accrual, but it still includes key features like document storage that simplify end-of-year tax filing for busy employers.
Wave: Simplest setup
Starting at $20 a month, Wave tackles some of the most important aspects of nanny payroll, including automatic payroll tax calculation and workers compensation insurance management. In most states, Wave Payroll is self-service—you don't have the option to upgrade to a full-service plan. On the other hand, household employers in the remaining 14 states must choose Wave's full-service plan, which starts at $35 a month.
Unlike NannyChex and Savvy Nanny, Wave Payroll wasn't created specifically to tackle household payments. Instead, Wave focuses on the freelancers and small-business owners who use its free accounting software. So while Wave Payroll can simplify your payroll process, it doesn't have nanny-specific add-ons like EIN setup.
HomePay: Best HR support
Care.com’s HomePay might be the most comprehensive payroll solution on our list. Along with calculating and filing taxes, the company offers HR assistance that keeps you in compliance with nanny payroll laws. Its budgeting feature makes it easy to figure out what you can afford nanny-wise while maximizing your tax return benefits, and its resource guides can help you decide what to pay your nanny and what benefits to offer.
However, HomePay is definitely pricier than most options, though we can’t say definitively how much it costs—you’ll have to call HomePay directly to request a customized quote. In the past, HomePay cost upwards of $1,000 a year, and we’re guessing the company hasn’t made any dramatic price cuts over the last year.
Simple Nanny Payroll: Best calculator-only
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.
Nanny payroll service FAQ
What is the nanny tax?
The nanny tax is an umbrella term for the taxes you must withhold from your nanny’s paycheck and the employee tax contributions you need to match:
- FICA taxes, or the Social Security and Medicare taxes that both you and your employee pay
- FUTA taxes, or the federal unemployment insurance tax that only you pay, not your employee
For the 2020 tax season, the Social Security tax is 6.2% of each paycheck and the Medicare tax is 1.45% of each paycheck. If you pay your employee $2,200 or more per year, you’re required to withhold that amount from your employees’ wages to file with the federal government. You’ll also need to match your employees’ contribution out of your own pocket.
In contrast, only employers pay FUTA taxes. Luckily, the tax itself isn’t too expensive: the FUTA tax rate is just 6% of an employee’s first $7,000 of wages. In other words, employers never pay more than $420 in FUTA taxes per employee. You’ll only pay the tax if your employee makes more than $1,000 per quarter.
The IRS lists some exceptions to nanny taxes, so before you start filing taxes, you might want to give their list a read-through.
Do I need an EIN to pay my nanny?
Yes, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to pay your nanny. To get an EIN, apply for one from the IRS—the application doesn’t cost anything and is fairly painless. Plus, if you apply online (the IRS’s preferred method, though you can also apply via mail or fax), you get your EIN immediately, which means your nanny will be able to start working for you right away.
What is the best nanny payroll service?
SurePayroll is our favorite nanny payroll service. Both its self-service and full-service payroll plans make tax filing simple, and as one of the only payroll providers with a solid mobile app, SurePayroll is both flexible and versatile. Best of all, SurePayroll starts at $19.99 a month—a practically unbeatable price.
However, the best nanny payroll service for you depends largely on what you need. Do you want to provide comprehensive benefits to your household employee? GTM Payroll Services might be a better fit for you than SurePayroll. Are you comfortable handling most aspects of nanny payroll yourself? Simple Nanny Payroll could be the bare-bones solution you’re looking for.
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.
While hiring a nanny can certainly be a big help, most working parents still want to maximize the amount of time they’re able to spend with their kids.
To do that, you need a positive combination of circumstances: family-friendly legislation that allows you to take time off when you need it and an income that can actually cover the cost of your housing. In this time of pandemic, it’s also really important to find an area with a stable job market with a low unemployment rate.
A lot of those factors depend heavily on where you live, so we took a look at the data to find out which states offer the best (and worst) environments for working parents.
- The District of Columbia is the most working parent–friendly area in the nation. D.C. offers all the job protections and family leave available in the U.S., meaning parents can usually take advantage of paid leave for medical reasons, maternity time, and paternity time. D.C. also has the lowest rent-to-income ratio in the country, meaning parents (theoretically) don’t have to spend as much time working in order to cover their housing costs—though we should note that this number may be skewed since most of the people making high incomes in the D.C. area don’t actually live in the low-cost neighborhoods within the District of Columbia.
- Nevada is ranked last for working parents. In addition to having a high cost of living and high unemployment rates, Nevada also doesn’t offer any legal benefits for parents other than the basic FMLA requirements.
- All three west coast states made it into the top 20 states for working parents. California and Washington both grant full legal protections for parents, while Oregon has a solid income-to-rent ratio and low unemployment.
Rent as a percentage of household income
2019-2020 unemployment rate change
Paid family leave
Paid medical leave
|1||District of Columbia||27.1%||+3.4%|
To find out which states were best for working parents, we used data that might indicate parents in the area had more free time to spend with their children. Specifically, we looked for states that offered family-friendly legal protections, including paid family leave (paid maternity and paternity leave), paid medical leave, and various types of job-protected leave.
We also wanted to know which states offered the best ratio of income to housing costs (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), since a parent with a high income-to-rent ratio might not have to work as many hours to cover their family’s basic needs. We also looked at job stability during the coronavirus pandemic by examining the state’s change in unemployment rate over the past year (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
We then weighted those numbers to prioritize the most important factors, using the most recent data available:'
- Gross rent as a percentage of household income (2019): 30%
- Unemployment rate change (Sept. 2019–Sept. 2020): 30%
- Paid family leave: 10%
- Paid medical leave: 10%
- Job-protected leave (lower employer size threshold): 10%
- Job-protected leave (lower employee tenure/hours worked requirement): 10%
We also wanted to note that since lower income-to-rent ratios and unemployment rates are preferable, states with the lowest numbers in these categories were scored higher.
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.
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.