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Am I really an independent contractor?

Classification of workers is one area in which many businesses struggle. Improper classification can lead to serious issues for a company, so it is imperative to ensure to do it properly. However, some employers may intentionally misclassify you.

If you think your employer classified you as an independent contractor in error, you should take action. Not only is the wrong classification stripping you of essential benefits as an employee but it is also enabling your employer to avoid taxes and other responsibilities. The IRS explains there are some specific criteria you must meet to be a true independent contractor.

The whole situation

There are no one criteria that can make you an independent contractor. Some people think that if your employer gives you a 1099, it makes you a contractor, but that is not true. The law says that your classification depends on a combination of qualities that apply to your employment.


Being an independent contractor generally means you operate separately from the employer. You can choose your work hours, decide what work you will do and set the criteria for how you do your work. Generally, you will not have someone managing your every move. You will not have set work hours or have to work when the employer tells you to.

You also can leave the job and stop working as you wish, or the employer can provide you with work when it wishes. At the same time, you will usually foot all the expenses for the materials and equipment you use to do the job. Your employer will usually not supply you with anything.

The classification of an independent contractor can be tricky, but there are usually clear signs that you are an employee. Just consider how much control your employer has over your work to determine if you really are an independent contractor.