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Using a contractor can be an attractive option that allows you to scale hours up or down as needed. This can be significantly cheaper too, since you do not have to provide them with benefits or vacations. But before you pull the trigger on utilizing an independent contractor, you should know that the IRS takes intentional misclassification of contractors very seriously. The IRS understands the financial incentives to using 1099 contractors and they know the temptation exists to classify a worker as a contractor when you truly view and treat them as an employee.

If your business uses independent contractors as part of its work force, depending on the circumstances, the IRS might reclassify these workers as employees. Such a reclassification would expose your business to employment taxes and penalties. In addition, your business might be responsible for retroactive fringe benefits for any reclassified workers.

If you are a family that has privately hired a household employee to provide childcare, senior care, etc., in your home,  there’s a relatively low chance that you'll know what aspects of household employment have changed from 2015 to 2016. The good news is that most of the changes are relatively minor, but here are five topics you should be aware of:

Each week, we receive calls and inquiries about a worker classification and the considerations whether that person should be considered an employee or an independent contractor. The Zinner staff of CPAs and management consultants meets often with clients to ensure their workforce is properly classified.