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What You Need to Know Before Agreeing to Work as a Contractor

Working as a contractor can sound like a dream-until it becomes a nightmare. Sure, not being constrained to work at a certain place and time sounds nice, but it can come with a price, and the price may not simply be higher taxes for you.

Here are five sticking points you need to know about before you agree to a contractor relationship with a potential employer.

  1. Intellectual property rights. If you create art, written work, computer programs, or anything creative, a contractor relationship may work in your favor. That's because as a contractor, you retain the rights to the works you create, while if you're doing it on the clock as an employee, rights usually stay with your employer.
  2. Taxes. This can be a rude awakening around mid-April if you didn't already know, but taxes are a killer for contractors. That's because you pay your own way into Medicare and Social Security instead of your employer taking care of it for you.
  3. Indefinite time. Contracts usually specify that you are hired only for a specific time frame or for the duration of a specific project. If you are brought on as a contractor, but there is no duration indicated for your contract, you may be an employee.
  4. No Performance Evaluations. Now there's a real benefit. No performance evaluations to sit through if you work as a contractor. On the downside, rather than get a poor review, you may just get dropped. But at least you won't have to sit through that sweaty, awkward meeting ever again.
  5. Choosing when and Where You Work. One of the benefits to being a contractor is having control over the time, place and manner of your work. Independent contractors make their own schedules and do their work where and how they choose. If you don't have this freedom, you may be misclassified.

If you think you've been misclassified as a contractor, there's a form you can fill out at the IRS websiteto help you sort it out. Alternatively, you may want to seek the help of an employment attorney to help you reclaim benfits you've been denied.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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