Help & Advice

  • Advice for employers
  • Last updated 24 August 2023

Declaring pay for an au pair

If you're planning to hire an au pair in the UK, it's important to understand your obligations as an employer. One of the key questions that many people have is whether they need to declare the pay they give to their au pair to HMRC (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs).

The short answer is: it depends. Here's a closer look at what you need to know.

What is an au pair?

First, let's define what an au pair is. An au pair is a young person, typically between the ages of 18 and 30, who comes to the UK to live with a host family and help with childcare and light household tasks. In exchange for their work, the au pair receives room and board and a small weekly allowance.

Do I need to declare the pay I give to my au pair?

In general, if you're paying someone to work for you in the UK, you need to register as an employer and follow the relevant tax and employment laws. However, there are some exceptions for au-pairs.

If your au pair is considered a "pocket money" au pair, you may not need to declare their pay to HMRC. A pocket money au pair is someone who receives a weekly allowance of no more than £120 per week, and whose main purpose for coming to the UK is to experience British culture and improve their language skills, rather than to work. They must also, not earn money from anywhere else within the tax year (before, during or after their employment with you).

It's also important to remember that an au pair is not a replacement for a qualified nanny or childcare provider. While they can be a great help with light household tasks and keeping an eye on your children, they should not be responsible for the full-time care of young children or children with special needs.

In conclusion, whether you need to declare the pay you give to your au pair to HMRC depends on how much you give them and whether they will work anywhere else in the tax year. If in doubt, it's best to declare their pay, as at this low rate there is no tax or NI to pay if declared at the time, but if you have to retrospectively declare this there may be additional tax to pay on it and/or penalties or fines.


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