employ dancers and instructors as independent contractors. Sometimes
they are confused about submitting W-4 forms and getting a 1099
at the end of the year. I thought it would be useful to talk about
what it means to be an independent contractor vs. an employee.
someone hires you to do a job and can control what you do and
how you do it, you are an employee.
example, if I call you and ask if you can teach a Turkish class
at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays using my curriculum, you are an employee.
I am controlling what you do because I am very specific in asking
that you teach Turkish. I am controlling how you do it because
you must use my curriculum. If you could make up your own schedule,
teach the subject of your choice, at the time of your choice,
using the method of your choice, you would be an independent contractor.
someone hires you to do a job, but is only in control of the
end result and not the means or method by which is it is accomplished,
you are an independent contractor.
if I am working as your agent and offer you a belly gram that
starts at 8:00 pm., you are probably an independent contractor.
Although your work hours are set by a third party, I am not dictating
that. As the agent, I am not telling to dance to particular music
in a specific costume. I am not providing you with or paying for
transportation. I am not supplying you with music or a boom box.
If I were, you would be an employee.
factor in assessing this case is the length of the work relationship.
If itís reasonable to assume that the pay ends with the end of
the job, you are probably an independent contractor. If you are
being paid by the hour regardless of how many calls came in, you
would probably be an employee.
consequences of not being paid correctly can be quite serious.
you mistakenly classify an employee as an independent contractor,
you may be liable for that personís employment taxes plus interest
even if those taxes have already been paid.There could also be
heavy fines and criminal charges. If you are not sure whether
people who work for you should be classified as independent contractors
or employees, get form SS-8 from the IRS.
you feel that you have been unfairly classified and are missing
out on benefits because of this misclassification, you can request
that the IRS determine your status by using form SS-8.
benefit of being an employee is that your taxes are paid for you
as you go. You may be offered incentives to work such as health
insurance and retirement plans. The benefit of hiring an employee
is that have you have a higher degree of control over when work
is done and how work is done. For example, you can set the work
day from 9:00- 5:00 with a half hour break. You can dictate that
work must be done in a specific order.
The benefit of being an independent contractor is that you can
decide which jobs to take. You dictate your hours, working conditions,
and can negotiate your wages. In short, you have greater freedom.
The benefit of hiring independent contractors is that it is often
cheaper because you donít have to pay their social security taxes,
unemployment insurance or workerís compensation. You donít have
to offer incentives like health insurance or retirement accounts.
also easier to sever the working relationship.
are positives and negatives to being on either side of the fence.
The important thing is that the relationship between worker and
payer be classified correctly for tax purposes so that you are
aware of what taxes and filings you are liable for. You donít
want to be hit with penalties for being ignorant or misclassified.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
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remember that a professional troupe is a business. So if mixing
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