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As has been stated, the critical issue is the relationship - employee or independent contractor. The employee relationship is where you get into SS, wit holding, maybe workman's compensation, etc.

I have always understood that if the cleaner(s) provide their equipment and chemicals, they are independent contractors.

Certainly with someone cleaning your house, you will tell them to clean the windows, this room, but not that room, etc. I believe if you read the IRS stuff it gets into things about directing the work -- i.e. how to clean the stove. I just ignore all that and since our cleaners bring vacuums, buckets with chemicals, towels, mops, etc. class them as contractors.

Now to address your question about cash payments - I personally favor payment by check. That is a way to prove you paid someone. If you pay by cash, are you going to ask for a receipt? Checks vs cash has no affect of SS, Medicare or withholding obligations.
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