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One of the most basic steps of the payroll process is distinguishing between employees and independent contractors. However, employers are sometimes foggy on what differentiates the two types of workers. Employers should have a solid idea of these concepts because there are significant tax implications….
One of the most basic steps of the payroll process is distinguishing between employees and independent contractors. However, employers are sometimes foggy on what differentiates the two types of workers. Employers should have a solid idea of these concepts because there are significant tax implications.
Independent contractors are becoming more and more popular among companies because they serve an important function. Just as you might not need a full-time doctor or lawyer on staff, small businesses are starting to use independent contractors for marketing, design, and other roles that used to be occupied by a full-time person.
Our data at SurePayroll from surveying small business owners has shown a gradual increase in the percentage of 1099 workers since 2004, rising from nearly 2.9 percent to 6.7 percent.
Let’s look at how an independent contractor might affect your small business payroll:
There are two ways an employer can go about determining a worker’s status. One is the Common Law Test, which asks how independent the employee is based on the points discussed above. However, there are exceptions, and employers can also use the Reasonable Basis Test, which allows them to designate someone as an independent contractor for tax purposes if there is a reasonable basis to do so.
A worker or employer may request the IRS’s determination of the worker’s status by filing Form SS-8.
The next question becomes how you decide what kind of worker you want to hire. Before you make the decision, consider a few more factors:
Finally, remember that even though you are not required to withhold taxes on an independent contractor, you still must fill out the Form 1099-MISC. If you have questions on this, be sure to talk with an accountant or your payroll services provider.
Michael Alter is president and CEO of SurePayroll, a wholly owned subsidiary of Paychex. SurePayroll provides payroll services for small businesses.
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