The Right Way to Hire an Independent Contractor

Growing a business can be tough. The good news is that in today’s gig economy, there are plenty of people who offer independent contractor services to help. Before you agree to hire someone short-term, there are a few things you should consider.

Employee or Independent Contractor

Determine whether the individual you’re hiring should be treated as an employee or an independent contractor.

Independent contractors are unique because the payer has the right to control only the result of the work. With hired employees, the company has more control over the hours worked and how work is performed. However, employees tend to be more expensive as the employer pays for Social Security and Medicare, unemployment taxes, and spends time handling administrative burdens. Independent contractors, on the other hand, pay their own taxes.

The benefits of hiring an independent contractor are no doubt appealing. If you decide this is the best option for your business, there are a few requirements to follow in order to remain tax-compliant.

Proper Paperwork

  • Ask your independent contractors to fill out Form W-9 BEFORE you start working with them. This will provide you with their name, address, SSN, EIN, and residency status.  You are required to send each contractor a 1099 at the end of each year if you paid them more than $600.  These payments will likely be reported to the IRS through Box 7 of 1099-NEC (Non-Employee Contractor).  As an exception, payments made to corporations are not subject to 1099 unless those payments are for legal services.

Foreign Contractors

  • Payments to foreign contractors are not subject to 1099 if the individual is not an S. person and the services were performed outside the US. The taxpayer should ask the foreign contractor to complete Form W-8BEN as proof that they are not a US person.  In the case of IRS audits, this will explain why no 1099 was issued.

Form Submission

  • All 1099s must be submitted to the IRS on or before January 31st at the end of the year. Like most federal forms, taxpayers can paper-file or e-file 1099-NEC.  Failure to file and late filing of 1099 can result in penalties.  Late filing penalties range from $50-260 per return, while intentional disregard is subject to a penalty of $530 per return.

Once you decide to hire an independent contractor, applying the above suggestions can ensure you experience a hassle-free process.

Need Help Filing Forms for a 1099 Foreign Contractor?

When it comes to filing taxes, Cleer Tax has you covered. Get in touch with us today to work with our team of experts to ensure you know what you’re doing

Author Bio
David McKeegan
David McKeegan, the founder of Cleer.Tax is both an MBA and Enrolled Agent. As an entrepreneur and small business owner himself, he really understands the pain points that company owners and founders have in regards to tax compliance and having clean financial statements. What really differentiates David is his ability to distill complicated tax matters into layman’s terms, making the advice actionable and accessible to all.
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