6 Triggers for a Worker Misclassification Audit

In my article in last week’s issue of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog, I waved the red flag for independent contractor misclassification. What happens when you ignore the red flags? You get the audit.

The IRS is on a rampage seeking out employers who misclassify W-2 employees as 1099 independent contractors. If your clients are like a lot of employers, they may think it’s unlikely that they will be subjected to a worker misclassification audit, especially if they’re small.

Pulling the audit trigger

However, there are a number of triggers that could cause even the smallest of companies to show up on the IRS radar and spur an audit. Below are six such triggers:

#1—The 1099 independent contractor (IC) files an unemployment claim. This creates suspicion because ICs are NOT eligible for unemployment.

#2—The 1099 IC files a workers’ compensation or disability claim against the company. If someone is truly an IC, they should carry workers’ comp and disability insurance on themselves because they are not eligible through an employer.

#3—A worker receives a W-2 and a 1099 Form from the same employer in one year. This happens when they are converted from a 1099 IC to a direct hire of the company. But if they performed the same work as a 1099 IC and a W-2 employee, the IRS may wonder why they were not classified as an employee all along.

#4—The worker files a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. With all the information out there about misclassification, workers are more savvy than your clients may think. They can blow the whistle if they believe they’ve been misclassified.

#5—The worker feels they are being improperly treated as a 1099 IC. As a result, they file a Form SS-8 with the IRS for their own classification determination or files a Form 8919 (Uncollected Social Security Tax and Medicare Tax on Wages) with their personal income tax return.

#6—The IRS is anonymously alerted about the worker or the employer not paying taxes.

Position yourself as a trusted consultant with your clients. Advise them what to do and what NOT to do when classifying their workers as W-2 employees or 1099 independent contractors.

AND tell them that you can offer contract staffing services and outsource the back-office duties to Top Echelon Contracting. We’ve helped recruiters make over 16,000 contract placements since 1992, and we can help you make them, too!

Take the first step: download our Quick-Start Guide to Contract Staffing.

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