What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?
There’s two ways to look at it. The first way that most people look at it is looking at how the taxes are withheld, how things are declared to the IRS, and that’s kind of simple. Somebody tries to either submit a W-2 when they’re paying somebody or not, treats them as an independent. For tax purposes it seems more or less clear cut.
When you’re talking about liability issues, it’s different. It’s all about control then. So, just because somebody is not paying taxes as a W-2 employee, does not mean, for liability purposes, that they’re not an employee, because it comes down to control, whether or not the employer or the person who’s paying them is telling them what to do, how to do it, and providing them with the tools or even safety equipment. So somebody who’s not being paid as an employee but the employer is exercising all that control, they could still be deemed an employee, even though they thought they were an independent contractor.