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Writing is Taxing



Promotions. Blogging. Website updates. Social networking. With all of this work to do, how can a poor author get any actual writing done?

By hiring someone to help, of course!

Be careful, though. If the person you hire is considered your employee, you’ll be responsible for paying payroll and unemployment taxes to the IRS and state tax offices. The last thing a busy writer needs is more to take care of, especially when the writer specifically hired the worker to get some things off his or her “to do” list. What’s more, if you incorrectly classify a worker, you may find yourself facing an assessment from the IRS or your state government for unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest.

Admittedly, the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor can sometimes be a gray area. It’s critical to know what the government will look for so that you can do your best to ensure your relationship with the worker falls into the independent contractor category.

Behavioral Control

A major factor in the employee vs. independent contractor debate is the level of behavioral control the payor has on the person who performs the work. The more the payor has the right to control how the worker performs his or her tasks, the more the relationship will appear to be an employer-employee relationship.

It’s best to let your worker have as much free rein as possible in deciding how to perform tasks.

Financial Control

A second aspect to consider is the level of financial control. Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the worker or by you?

Is the worker paid by the hour, which is more likely to indicate an employer-employee relationship, or is the worker paid a flat fee for a task, which is more indicative of an independent contractor situation? Paying a flat fee is the better route to go, if possible.

Who buys the tools and supplies the worker needs to do her job? If the worker buys the tools and supplies and is not reimbursed, the relationship is more likely deemed to be an independent contractor relationship.

If the payor provides the tools and supplies or reimburses the worker for these costs, the relationship will look more like an employer-employee relationship.

Relationship Factors

The type of relationship will be also examined.

Is it a regular, ongoing relationship? Such is more indicative of an employer-employee relationship than one that is more sporadic and/or temporary.

Does the worker perform the services only for you, or does the worker provide similar services to others?

To avoid the complications of being an employer, it would be best to hire a freelancer who also works for other people.   

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