What is the Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor?

Whether someone who does work for your business is an employee or an independent contractor depends on the level of control your business exercises over the relationship. For instance, can your business control what the worker does and how they do their job? Does your business reimburse the worker’s expenses, or provide tools and supplies? Does your business offer the worker a retirement plan, vacation pay, insurance, or other benefits? Does the worker perform similar work for other businesses, or only for your business?

Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor makes a difference from a legal and tax standpoint. Employment and labor laws do not apply to a worker who is an independent contractor, and no taxes are withheld from an independent contractor’s pay. Employees, on the other hand, have Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes withheld from their pay.

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