Independent Contractor

What Is an Independent Contractor

Independent contractors are not entitled to receive minimum wage or overtime pay and their employers are not obligated to provide unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation. If you’re an independent contractor, employers don’t have to pay into your health insurance, life insurance, bonuses, stock options, worker’s compensation, unemployment taxes, payroll taxes, or 401 contributions. Independent also don’t get employee benefits, or protection from employment laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act , the Occupational Safety & Health Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Even though some independent contractors require hefty payments, there are far lower overhead costs compared to hiring full-time employees. With self-employed workers, employers are not required to subsidize health plans, contribute to unemployment or retirement, provide minimum wage, or offer paid time off.

What Is an Independent Contractor

If you are an independent contractor and hired by a company or person to perform a service, chances are they will ask you to fill out a W-9 form. You must verify information, including name, address, and tax identification number. All the pages of W-9 are available on the IRS website, which also provides step-by-step directions on how to fill it out. If a person performs services under multiple contracts for unrelated persons or firms at the same time, that factor generally indicates that the person is an independent contractor.

How To Register With The Irs As An Independent Contractor

If the person or persons for whom the services are performed ordinarily pay the person’s business or traveling expenses, or both, the person is ordinarily an employee. An employer, to be able to control expenses, generally retains the right to regulate and direct the person’s business activities. U.S. tort law holds an employer liable for the negligent acts of an employee. When an independent contractor acts pursuant to orders or directions negligently given by the hiring party, the latter will be held liable.

An independent contractor is an individual who runs their own business. Independent contractors earn a living through their own businesses instead of relying upon employers to earn a living. In addition to IRS tax obligations, licensing and business permits that may be mandatory for operation in a jurisdiction where the contractor business is maintained. Independent contractors are liable for business debts, unless registered as a “limited liability company” LLC or “limited liability practice” LLP in the state of operation. There are also no insurance benefits, nor employer provision of workers’ compensation. Labor law protections of independent contractors usually do not apply. Unlike employees, who have income taxes and other taxes withheld from their paychecks, independent contractors have to handle all of their own taxes.

What Are The Best Practices For Working With Independent Contractors?

The client cannot direct the contractor’s work beyond the project’s outcome and deadline. The contractor decides how, when, and where they complete a given project. Because gig workers typically have greater financial security, flexibility, and control over their work. There are also drawbacks to be aware of when working with independent contractors.

  • Moreover, as previously mentioned, the title of independent contractor is only relevant to services provided in a professional context .
  • Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
  • Courts and federal agencies use multiple tests to determine whether an independent contractor is actually an employee, and the standards differ depending on the employment rights sought.
  • They find that self-employment has risen by about 30 percent since 2001 and nearly all of that increase is due to a growing number of independent contractors and misclassified workers.
  • Employees are also more likely to have open-ended job descriptions within a specific role.
  • While the pay might not be that high, and you will need to give a cut to the service provider, these platforms are still a good way for connecting with clients and building your portfolio.

This can help protect your personal assets from business-related liabilities that can arise from claims or lawsuits. The IRS and many other government agencies use the “right of control” test. Under this test, a worker is an employee if the hiring firm has the right to direct and control the way the worker performs—both as to the final results and the details of when, where, and how the work is done.

Rights And Duties Of Independent Contractors

When you have a project that you want to dive into fast, getting an independent contractor up to speed is much quicker. With them, you can focus on the project itself and ignore the organizational and cultural components of onboarding. One example of an independent contractor would be an interior designer who works for themselves and has a roster of clients who hire them to decorate their homes. The interior designer might even work on a contract for an architecture firm that employs them to work closely with their clients throughout the building process of a new home. They aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation. Although employers have some leeway in deciding whom to treat as an employee or as a contractor, the law sets out rules and guidelines they’re supposed to follow.

1099-MISC is an “information filing form” used to report non-salary income to the IRS. You don’t need to do What Is an Independent Contractor anything to your copy of 1099-MISC, but if you don’t receive one, you should follow up with your client.

Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 set up a new tax deduction for pass-through entities which allows you to deduct up to 20% of net business income earned as an additional personal deduction. Employees get paid a regular wage, have taxes withheld from those wages, work part or full-time, and have their work and schedule dictated by the employer. Typically, a business that has a contracted worker tells the contractor the scope of the job but doesn’t have control over how the contractor completes the project. The IRS’s guidelines help you figure out whether your worker is an employee or independent contractor. Independent contractors are self-employed people who work for other people or businesses as nonemployees. If you are lucky enough to work for one or more clients who pay you regularly, that’s great, but the money can stop at any time, even if you have a contract.

The right to discharge a person is a factor indicating that the person is an employee and the person possessing the right is an employer. An employer exercises control through the threat of dismissal, which causes the person to obey the employer’s instructions. An independent contractor, on the other hand, cannot be fired so long as the independent contractor produces a result that meets the contract specifications. At the end of the tax year, you must file a Form 1099-MISC with the IRS reporting all payments made to you from clients. For instance, if the client fails to pay you for work performed you maintain the right to sue the client in a court of law for breach of contract. Employees typically get paid on a set schedule like weekly or monthly.

The Irs Considers A Worker To Be An Employee If The Person:

If you want to work on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, that’s your right. The essence of being in business for yourself puts you in control. If a client tries to control your business by telling you where, when, and how to work you become an employee.

Typically, the less control you have over your work , the more likely it is that you ought to be classified as an employee. No need to spend hours finding a lawyer, post a job and get custom quotes from experienced lawyers instantly.

  • Schedule SE is one of many schedules of Form 1040, the form you use to file your individual income tax return.
  • Although both event planners are doing the same job, event planner No. 1 would be considered an employee because the company has retained most of the control over the means and methods for getting the job done.
  • You will not receive the same kinds of benefits as if you worked for someone else.
  • Kirsten is also the founder and director of Your Best Edit; find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • The Form W-9 acts as an agreement that the contractor is responsible for withholding taxes from their income.
  • Independent contractors are responsible for reporting all income earned and paying applicable federal, state, city, and self-employment taxes.
  • Being an independent contractor can mean setting your own hours, picking your clients, and owning what you do, but downsides can include a lack of job security and work/life balance.

The flipside is you have a lot more responsibility on your shoulders. You will not receive the same kinds of benefits as if you worked for someone else. To that end, you have to weigh the costs of freedom and variability against the added cost of covering things like your own healthcare and retirement savings. This tax is usually estimated and paid quarterly to the IRS via Form 1040-ES. The IRS provides a Tax Withholding Estimator tool to give independent contractors an estimation of taxes they will need to pay. Independent contractor taxes are handled differently than employee taxes. Employers do not withhold state and federal taxes for contractors. Instead, independent contractors pay the Self-Employment Contributions Act tax on what they earn.

Independent Contractor Status Has Its Perks And Drawbacks

Contact a Certified Public Accountant for advice about estimating projects to ensure fees and tender bids are maximizing return on investment where taxation is concerned. Most contractors now establish web-based billing and collections service agreements with reliable third-parties, to issue invoices, receive funds, and to better protect a business from overdue accounts receivables.

What Is an Independent Contractor

For the independent contractor, the company does not withhold taxes. Employment and labor laws also do not apply to independent contractors. This ruling applies in California only, and so far Uber and similar companies are not complying with the ruling.

For instance, if you hire a lawyer to provide defense counsel against a lawsuit filed by a neighbor, you do not need to issue them a 1099. The independent contractor relationship, in many ways, is like a customer making a purchase from a business . Just like a customer cannot control how a company makes the product they sell; a client cannot control how an independent contractor performs their work. Employer misclassification of employees as independent contractors either inadvertently or to avoid taxation and regulation, is widespread. Additionally, contractorization has been used as an indirect form of union-busting. Workers with special skills are frequently self-employed, seeking independent work instead of private employment.


Since they are rarely tied to an employer, they are free to set their own rules of business, limited only by bargaining power. Independent contracting has both benefits and drawbacks to contractors. If trying to talk to your employer doesn’t work, you can report the client to the IRS using Form SS-8. Before getting the IRS involved, you and your client have some materials to determine whether to convert to employment.

Should You Become An Independent Contractor?

Clients seldom reimburse independent contractors for expenses such as work clothes, fuel, lunch, or meals. Contractors also don’t receive paid employment benefits unless they furnish a separate policy. Contracts or professional service agreementsdefine how much you pay contractors for their services.

The designer, an independent contractor, would work out how many hours, payment, and ideas with the architects on the project but might work closely with the client during the decorating process. At the same time, the interior designer might be working for other clients and working on various homes simultaneously, versus being an in-house designer and only working for clients of the architecture firm.

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