The “Two Year Contractor Rule”: What You Need to Know
For many businesses, hiring contractors is a cost-effective and efficient way to get work done without the long-term commitment of adding a full-time employee to the payroll. However, there is a little-known rule that many companies may not be aware of: the “two year contractor rule.” In this article, we`ll dive into what it is, how it works, and why it`s important for businesses to pay attention to.
What is the two year contractor rule?
The two year contractor rule is a provision in the tax code that requires businesses to reclassify independent contractors as employees if they have worked for the company for two consecutive years. This means that after two years of working as a contractor, the worker must be classified as an employee and receive the benefits and protections that come with that status.
How does it work?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses a test called the “common law test” to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The test looks at several factors, including the level of control the business has over the worker, the worker`s investment in equipment and materials, and the degree of independence the worker has in performing their job duties.
If a worker has been classified as a contractor but is found to meet the criteria for employee status under the common law test, the employer may be liable for back taxes, penalties, and interest on any wages that should have been paid to the worker as an employee.
Why is it important?
Misclassifying workers as contractors instead of employees can save businesses money on payroll taxes and benefits, but it can also put them at risk of legal and financial consequences. In addition to the penalties for not paying taxes and benefits, businesses may also face lawsuits from workers who feel they have been misclassified and denied the protections and benefits they are entitled to as employees.
By being aware of the two year contractor rule and understanding the criteria for employee status under the common law test, businesses can avoid these risks and ensure that they are treating their workers fairly and legally.
In conclusion, the two year contractor rule is an important provision in the tax code that businesses need to be aware of when hiring independent contractors. By following the common law test and properly classifying workers as employees or contractors, businesses can avoid legal and financial consequences and ensure they are treating their workers fairly and legally.