Monday, October 04, 2010

Labels Matter to the IRS

Last week, I drafted a new article for on how to decide whether you should label your new employee as an independent contractor or a standard wage earning employee. You can find a snippet of the article below, or visit for the full text.

When business owners start looking into hiring employees, many are overwhelmed at how expensive it can be. Of course, you must pay this person a decent wage, but there are even more expensive costs: taxes.

And there are a lot of them to think about: unemployment taxes, payroll taxes (7.65 percent of the employee's total salary) and other taxes.

Some business owners try to sidestep these tax issues by hiring workers as "independent contractors." Sounds like a good idea, right? Independent contractors do the work but save you the hassle of payroll taxes, tax withholding and unemployment taxes. Hold on! Before you jump aboard the independent contractor bandwagon, you need to understand that the IRS has a say in the matter.

The IRS has very strict rules for determining who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. How you classify your workers revolves around three basic characteristics:

Behavioral control: Do you as the business owner have the right to determine how the work is done via training or instructions, for example?

Financial control: Do you as the business owner have the right to determine or control the financial or business aspects of the work?

Type of relationship: Do you or your workers perceive an employer-employee relationship?

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