As usual, the folks at the Non-Profit Law Blog provide some useful links. I will quickly point out a short piece about the Senate has recently passing a jobs bill that will provide incentives to hire and keep employees.
The measure would exempt private employers, including nonprofit groups, from paying their share of Social Security taxes for employees they hire through the end of 2010. The new hires must have been out of work for at least 60 days.
They would get an additional $1,000 bonus if they kept the employee on the payroll for a full year
I had heard about this a few weeks ago, but it never occurred to me that this would be a real boon for the non-profit world where a little savings can go a long way. I wish I could remember where I heard it, but I was listening to a radio show where one of the panelists said he wished the money going to public works was directed to non-profits because you could create hundreds of non-profit jobs for every construction job created.
The main of what I wanted to discuss is examining the employment status of people who work for your organization. According to Jessica R. Lubar, a lawyer at Venable LLP, the IRS is undertaking a study of employment tax compliance. They will be focusing on three areas: worker classification, fringe benefits and officer compensation.
What I wanted to point out specifically was the issue of worker classification. I know of a number of organizations that call those who work for them independent contractors so that they don’t have to attend to any of the tax withholding details. However, if the IRS doesn’t call them the same thing you do, there could be a lot of trouble.
“A worker is considered an employee if the employer exercises the requisite amount of control over the employee under common-law principles. Over the years, the courts and the IRS have articulated certain factors that are considered in making that determination. The IRS organized the factors that are considered into three categories: (1) Behavioral Control – whether the business has a right to direct and control how the worker does the task for which the worker is hired; (2) Financial Control – whether the business has a right to control the business aspects of the worker’s job; and (3) Type of Relationship.”
If you have made a mistake in classifying an employee as an independent contractor, there is an opportunity to rectify that situation and obtain relief from the penalties of that mistake. Lubar outlines these in the entry. You would obviously want to consult a lawyer because I am already confused by the first of the three requisite criteria–not treating a person like an employee. That seems to me to imply you have been treating the person like an independent contractor which means you are in the clear.
Perhaps the distinction is in whether you contractually had the right to behavioral and financial control but never enforced it thereby treating someone as if they were an independent contractor when technically they were not.
Guess that is what the lawyers get paid to tell us.