Taxes

Click on the question below to find the answer!

What are my exact tax obligations in my job at Hands N Paws?

If you are a pet care technician at Hands N Paws, you are a classified independent contractor. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for managing your own tax obligations, including paying self-employment taxes (current rate: 15.3%) that cover Social Security and Medicare. These taxes are typically filed using IRS Form 1099-NEC. Hands N Paws will email your Form 1099 to you at the end of the tax year. At that point, you can file your taxes using a platform of your choice. You may also choose to consult with an accountant for professional guidance and assistance. You can learn more about taxes for independent contractors here.

How do I actually file my taxes correctly?

Once you receive your 1099 at the end of the tax year, you are pretty much ready to file your taxes. If you decided to track expenses/write-offs throughout the year, you should also collect all records of your expenses at this time. Once you have everything handy, choose a platform such as TurboTax, H&R Block, or another online tax software. Alternatively, you may choose to hire an accountant for professional assistance. Follow the steps provided by your chosen tax filing platform or accountant, inputting your income information from the 1099 and listing your deductible expenses. Finally, review all the information to ensure it is accurate and complete before submitting your tax return.

What should I do with my Form 1099 once I receive it?

Once you receive your 1099 via email, it’s best to save it onto your computer and store it in a secure folder for easy access and record-keeping. If you receive a physical copy in the mail, ensure you store it safely as well. You will use this form to file your taxes. For more information on how to file, click here. For details on your tax obligations, click here.

What’s your best advice for effectively handling my taxes?

Our best advice is to take advantage of tax write-offs (learn more below); this is one of the benefits of being a contractor! Utilizing write-offs can help reduce the amount you owe when it comes time to file your taxes. At the very least, make sure to track your car expenses, as they are typically the largest expense in this line of work. To learn more about the rules and regulations regarding car-expense write-offs, click here.

Also, we highly recommend using Keeper for all things taxes. Keeper allows you to track write-offs automatically, consult with a dedicated accountant whenever you need, and much more. If interested, Keeper gives all newbies a FREE 7-day trial period!

Our final piece of advice, according to Keeper, is that if your estimated tax bill is over $1000 (access a regular tax calculator here), you should file quarterly taxes on the following dates. Failing to file quarterly taxes for larger incomes can result in penalties, so it’s important to stay on top of these deadlines!

  • 🌷 April 15th (First Quarter)
  • 🏖️ June 15th (Second Quarter)
  • 🍁 September 15th (Third Quarter)
  • 🌲 January 15th of the following year (Fourth Quarter)

What are tax write-offs and how do I use them?

Tax write-offs, also known as tax deductions, are expenses that you can subtract from your total taxable income, thereby reducing the amount of income that is subject to tax. Should you utilize tax write-offs, you can significantly lower your taxable income and, consequently, your tax liability.

If you are using tax write-offs, it is highly encouraged to stay organized with your work expenses. Failing to track your expenses can result in unnecessary financial loss at the end of the tax year when you file. Additionally, staying organized will save you from wasting time scrambling to find or remember all your expenses when it’s time to file your taxes.

The easiest and most automated way to track your expenses is by using a recommended app called Keeper. If you have any questions or concerns about taxes, Keeper is an excellent resource to assist you. You can even consult with an accountant for free on their website!

What are common tax write-offs for dog walkers & pet sitters?

Here is a list of common deductible expenses for dog walkers and pet sitters:

  • 🚗 Gas & other car expenses (oil changes, maintenance, vehicle depreciation, lease payments, etc.)
  • 🐾 Dog walking equipment (fanny pack, water bottle, etc.)
  • 👟 Tennis shoes for dog walking
  • 💩 Poop bags (and dispensers!)
  • 👕 Work shirts & apparel
  • ☔️ Rain gear
  • ❄️ Winter gear
  • ☀️ Summer gear
  • 🎾 Dog toys
  • 🦴 Dog treats
  • 🦮 Leashes & harnesses
  • 🚲 Bike and/or public transport expenses
  • 📲 Phone bill

NOTE: If you are tracking/writing off actual car expenses, you cannot write off mileage as well. It’s one or the other! Click here to learn more.

Do I have to take advantage of tax write-offs?

No, taking advantage of tax write-offs is completely optional. However, it is highly recommended because it can significantly reduce the amount you owe in taxes at the end of the year. One of the biggest and most common expenses for our contractors is related to your car. It’s important to note that for contractors, you have to choose between tracking your actual car expenses (such as gas, maintenance, and insurance) or tracking your mileage. You cannot do both. Click here to learn more.

Yes, it is highly recommended to save receipts for all business-related purchases. Keeping detailed records of your expenses is crucial for several reasons. First, it helps you accurately track and categorize your business expenses throughout the year, making the tax filing process smoother and more efficient. Second, in the event of an audit, the IRS will require documentation to verify your deductions. Receipts serve as proof of your expenditures and help substantiate the amounts you claim on your tax return. It’s a good practice to organize and store your receipts in a safe place, either digitally or physically, so they are easily accessible when needed. This ensures you can take full advantage of all available tax deductions and remain compliant with tax regulations.

What’s the difference between a contractor and an employee in tax terms?

Being an independent contractor (as you are at Hands N Paws) means you are responsible for managing your own taxes, as no taxes are withheld from your earnings. Simply put, the amount displayed in Precise Petcare > Payroll is the exact amount you earn via direct deposit. Conversely, if you were classified as an “employee” at Hands N Paws, a portion of your earnings would be withheld for taxes each time you receive a paycheck.

Additionally, the tax forms you receive at the end of the tax year are different. As a contractor, you will receive a Form 1099, which reports your total earnings without any deductions for taxes. Employees, on the other hand, receive a Form W-2, which shows their earnings along with the amounts withheld for federal, state, and other payroll taxes. This distinction affects how you file your taxes and the types of deductions you can claim. As a contractor, you can deduct business expenses directly, which can lower your taxable income.

Additional Help

You can seek additional help by asking an accountant or contacting our accounting company (they are also equipped to answer all tax-related questions). You may also find answers in Compensation FAQs.

Hands N Paws’ Accounting Company: JC Tax Pros

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for  your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.

EMERGENCY VETERINARY TREATMENT & CLIENT RESPONSIBILITY POLICY

It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

Client gives permission to Team Member to transport the pet(s) to a veterinary clinic and/or make treatment decisions (except for euthanasia), especially if it’s a life-threatening emergency and/or Client cannot be immediately reached. Client is responsible for any veterinary fees incurred. 

Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 

PET VACCINATION, LICENSING, AND IDENTIFICATION POLICY

To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resources. Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.

SECURE ACCESS & LOCKBOX POLICY

To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.

CLIENT COMMUNICATION & PRIVACY POLICY

All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.

PET INFORMATION ACCURACY & ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.

FLEXIBLE SERVICE ARRIVAL TIME POLICY

Arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. Team Members are unable to guarantee exact arrival times due to various factors that may affect scheduling and travel times. To accommodate these considerations, we use time blocks rather than specific times. Client will see this in the dropdown menu when Client selects Arrival Time in the request service form within their Client account.

While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.

SERVICES & PRICING

For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.

SERVICE SURCHARGE POLICY

The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

*Additional fees may apply, as discussed/negotiated between Company and Client. 

SERVICE REQUEST APPROVAL & AVAILABILITY POLICY

Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours or more.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.

MEET N GREET POLICY

To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires a virtual or in-person Meet N Greet before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with and onboard Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All virtual Meet N Greets are free of charge. All in-person Meet N Greets come at a $50 cost. Meet N Greets are no more than 30 minutes in length.

New Clients can book their Meet N Greet on our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com. Existing Clients can book their Meet N Greet in their designated client account in Precise Petcare.

PAYMENT & BILLING POLICY

Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

Ongoing Services: For services scheduled as ongoing, Client will be automatically charged every Friday for the previous 7 days’ worth of completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

Non-Ongoing Services: For services not scheduled as ongoing, a 50% down-payment will be charged on the day the services are accepted and confirmed. An invoice will be sent immediately. Client has until the date of the last confirmed service to manually pay the remaining balance on the invoice. If manual payment is not made, the remaining total will be automatically charged to the card on file on the date of the last service day on that invoice.

Declined Payments: In the event of a declined auto-charge, Client will be promptly notified. After the first declined charge, Client has a 24-hour grace period to rectify the issue. In the case of a second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total (minimum $10) will be added. Client must be attentive to emails regarding overdue notices.

Payment Terms: Hands N Paws will be paid the agreed-upon amount as discussed, with no exceptions, unless our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and the Client receives a refund in the form of an Account Credit(s). In emergency circumstances, a refund may be issued as transferable credit(s) back to the Client’s card.

Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.

SERVICE CANCELLATION/REFUND POLICY

When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.

SERVICES TERMS

Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.

CONTRACT TERMS

This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon service confirmation, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations.