Should I Hire an Employee or a Contractor?

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Are you confused about whether you should hire a contractor vs employee? If so, you're not alone. Knowing when it's time to hire a contractor instead of an employee is one of the most confusing aspects of employment for many businesses. Below we have provided some tips to help you sort through the confusion regarding independent contractor vs. employee hiring.

One of the most critical aspects of understanding contractor vs. employee hire is in understanding each are classified. If you should incorrectly classify someone as either one or the other, you could held liable for employment taxes as well as a penalty by the IRS.

The basic rule of thumb to remember when trying to determine whether someone is a contractor or not is by asking yourself whether you have the right to control or direct result of the work or the means and methods of accomplishing the result. If you only have the right to control the results of the work, then the individual is a contractor. However, if you have the right to control the means and methods by which the work is accomplished, then the person is an employee.

If you keep the rule regarding what you have the right to control and direct in mind, it will help you to remember the difference between employee and contractor hire. Knowing when and how to hire a contractor; however, requires understanding the various advantages and disadvantages of each classification.

One of the biggest myths regarding contractor vs. employee hire is that you won't be required to deal with reporting income on contractors. This is only partially true. You are still responsible for reporting wages that you pay to an independent contractor if you pay that person more than $600 per year. This information is reported on IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income.

When you make the decision to hire an independent contractor, it is always a good idea for both of you to sign an agreement putting forth the terms of your business relationship. This agreement should include the services which are to be performed, the timing regarding when the services are to be performed, specific information on the payment for the services, confidentiality, warranty and work for hire information.

If you are not familiar with the terms work for hire or you aren't sure about what kind of confidentiality information you should include in an independent contractor agreement, take a look at these tips.

Generally, most independent contractor agreements include information that states the contractor is not allowed to use any proprietary information they learn about your company during the course of working for you that could be used for any other purpose than the benefit of your business.

It's very important that you include a work for hire statement in your agreement. This stipulates that the work or product which is developed will be liable to copyright laws and as such will be owned by your company; not the contractor.

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