Independent Contractor Issue Continues to Stir Questions and Controversy

The IRS has compiled a list of 20 factors which which will be determinative at whether or not a laborer or service provider is classified as an independent contractor.  A finding of independent contractor status can be extremely important since an independent contractor can be excluded from an employer’s unemployment taxes, social security taxes and workman’s compensation insurance.

Here are the entire 20.  If you consider the worker to be an independent contractor, you could be in trouble if:

You or your employees instruct the individual in how, when, where and whether the work should be done.
You must train the worker before the job is undertaken.
The individual becomes substantially a part of your company operation.
The worker must personally perform the work rather than have it done by his or her employees.
The worker does not have employees – people only he/she hires, supervises and pays.
Your company has a continuing relationship with the worker.
You tell him or her what hours of work to follow.
He/she works virtually full-time for you.
All the work is done on your premises.
He/she does not control the sequence of events to follow.
You require frequent significant progress reports.
You pay on the basis of time put in, rather than type of work done.
You reimburse for cost not covered by the contract.
You furnish the tools and equipment.
He/she has no significant investment in his/her own business.
He she will realize neither profit nor loss from the job.
He/she works only for you.
He/she does not offer services to the general public.
You can discharge the individual.
He/she can terminate the relationship without penalty.

Although a single factor from among the 20 can be determinative, generally it’s a combination of the presence or absence or two or more factors that determines whether a worker is an employee or is an independent contractor.  Even so, small-business leaders have complained that the factors are too subjective.  Your adviser can assist you in determining what factors should be considered in your particular situation.