Employee vs. Contractor – How to Decide

Employee vs. Contractor – How to Decide

Employee vs. Contractor – How to Decide

Employee vs. Contractor – How to Decide

The Internal Revenue Service reminds small businesses of the importance of understanding and correctly applying the rules for classifying a worker as an employee or an independent contractor.  Palm Beach Tax Service can help you understand the differences and apply the proper classification.  To better determine how to properly classify a worker, consider these three categories – Behavioral Control, Financial Control and Relationship of the Parties.

Behavioral Control:  A worker is an employee when the business has the right to direct and control the work performed by the worker, even if that right is not exercised. Behavioral control categories are:

  • Degree of instruction, more detailed instructions may indicate that the worker is an employee.  Less detailed instructions reflects less control, indicating that the worker is more likely an independent contractor.
  • Type of instructions given, such as when and where to work, what tools to use or where to purchase supplies and services. Receiving the types of instructions in these examples may indicate a worker is an employee.
  • Training a worker on how to do the job — or periodic or on-going training about procedures and methods — is strong evidence that the worker is an employee. Independent contractors ordinarily use their own methods.
  • Evaluation systems to measure the details of how the work is done points to an employee. Evaluation systems measuring just the end result point to either an independent contractor or an employee.

Financial Control: Does the business have a right to direct or control the financial and business aspects of the worker’s job? Consider:

  • Unreimbursed expenses, independent contractors are more likely to incur unreimbursed expenses than employees.
  • Significant investment in the equipment the worker uses in working for someone else.
  • Services available to the market. Independent contractors are generally free to seek out business opportunities.
  • Method of payment. An employee is generally guaranteed a regular wage amount for an hourly, weekly, or other period of time even when supplemented by a commission. However, independent contractors are most often paid for the job by a flat fee.
  • Opportunity for profit or loss is often an indicator of an independent contractor.

Relationship: The type of relationship depends upon how the worker and business perceive their interaction with one another. This includes:

  • Benefits. Businesses providing employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation pay or sick pay have employees. Businesses generally do not grant these benefits to independent contractors.
  • Written contracts which describe the relationship the parties intend to create. Although a contract stating the worker is an employee or an independent contractor is not sufficient to determine the worker’s status.
  • Services provided which are a key activity of the business. The extent to which services performed by the worker are seen as a key aspect of the regular business of the company.
  • The permanency of the relationship is important. An expectation that the relationship will continue indefinitely, rather than for a specific project or period, is generally seen as evidence that the intent was to create an employer-employee relationship.

As your Palm Beach accounting service, your Lake Worth bookkeeper or your Lantana bookkeeper, Palm Beach Tax Service can help you understand the distinctions between employees and contractors along with its other expert advice.  Make an appointment today!

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