The midterm elections are just around the corner. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who will be serving as an election worker on November 6, you may have questions about your compensation—and the tax laws that apply to this income.
In today’s post, we examine the tax breaks associated with election worker income.
Election workers—known as “poll workers” in the state of Georgia—provide an important role in federal and local elections. They work in every polling place to set up voting booths, register new voters, issue ballots and oversee voting activities.
Such workers are hired on a temporary basis by their local government entity. They may receive compensation in the form of a fixed hourly pay or a daily stipend—both for their work on election day as well as for training or other activities leading up to election day. Some workers may also receive travel expense reimbursement. Poll worker compensation has different tax regulations than payment from other sources.
Income tax withholding
Unlike compensation from a permanent job, poll workers’ income is not automatically subject to income tax withholding. However, a poll worker may elect to withhold income tax from their pay by submitting form W-4 to their employer.
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) requires most taxpayers to withhold money from their paycheck in order to fund Social Security and Medicare. The laws regarding FICA taxes for poll workers vary from state to state. In Georgia, a poll worker is excluded from FICA taxes if they earn less than $1,800 in a calendar year from such work. If a poll worker’s pay exceeds this threshold, FICA taxes apply to every dollar of their pay.
Serving as a poll worker provides an enormous benefit to the community and the democratic process. Choosing to participate in an election in this way can also offer added benefits to your pocketbook.