Four months ago, I wrote about a Wall Street Journal report. According to that report, the Internal Revenue Service planned to audit 6,000 randomly-selected U.S. companies to determine the extent to which companies misclassify employees as independent contractors. (See The “Independent Contractor” Trap Becomes More Dangerous.) Today The New York Times reported that both federal and state officials are cracking down on misclassification (U.S. Cracks Down on Contractors as a Tax Dodge). The incentive: To reduce record budget deficits.
By misclassifying personnel, companies avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes. The article goes on to say that, on average, misclassified personnel do not report 30% of their income. The 2010 federal budget projects that the crackdown will net at least $7 billion over ten years.
Implication of contractors as a tax dodge for companies of all sizes:
If you have been lax in classifying workers, now would be a good time to start doing things correctly. Avoiding the “Independent Contractor” Trap may help you determine how to improve your classification procedures.
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at LawÂ +1 510 547-0545Â dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
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