Some babysitters mistakenly think they don't have to report income they earn as cash. However, the Internal Revenue Service is more concerned with how much you earn than how you earn it in some cases. At the time of publication, anyone making $400 or more in self-employment income must file a tax return, according to TurboTax.
If you do a modest amount of babysitting for several people you are essentially an independent contractor. That means you must report the income as self-employment income on your return and pay self-employment tax even if you don't owe income taxes. If you earned more significant income for a single employer, that client should provide a W-2 form. If not, you could use IRS Form 8819 to self-report the employment income. The IRS then likely attempts to collect employer taxes from the client. In these cases, visiting with a tax expert is wise.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.