Employee vs. Independent Contractor – My 20 point check list

Independent_contractors_1_.556ccbfd149a6Mistakenly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in significant fines and penalties. There are 20 factors used by the IRS to determine whether you have enough control over a worker to be an employer. Though these rules are intended only as a guide-the IRS says the importance of each factor depends on the individual circumstances-they should be helpful in determining whether you wield enough control to show an employer-employee relationship. If you answer “Yes” to all of the first four questions, you’re probably dealing with an independent contractor; “Yes” to any of questions 5 through 20 means your worker is probably an employee.

1. Profit or loss. Can the worker make a profit or suffer a loss as a result of the work, aside from the money earned from the project? (This should involve real economic risk-not just the risk of not getting paid.)

2. Investment. Does the worker have an investment in the equipment and facilities used to do the work? (The greater the investment, the more likely independent contractor status.)

3. Works for more than one firm. Does the person work for more than one company at a time? (This tends to indicate independent contractor status, but isn’t conclusive since employees can also work for more than one employer.)

4. Services offered to the general public. Does the worker offer services to the general public?

5. Instructions. Do you have the right to give the worker instructions about when, where, and how to work? (This shows control over the worker.)

6. Training. Do you train the worker to do the job Continue reading

Is it a Gift or Entertainment?

12798954_1688315601437295_3809076672797603996_nEach year I’ll have several clients roll up with some pretty hefty receipts for what they will call “client gifts”. They are usually shocked to hear that there is a $25.00 limit on such gifts. Meals and entertainment will usually yield you a greater deduction, if you can swing it that way. Here it is in a nut shell.

Packaged Food: If you give packaged food or drink to a business associate, where the item is intended to be consumed at a later time, it is a gift. Continue reading

Bees are buzzing on rooftops at 7 San Francisco hotels

beeSan Francisco (AP) – At the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, there are more than 370 rooms inside and 100,000 bees buzzing above in rooftop hives outside.

Yes, honeybees.

Aware of the well-publicized environmental threats to honey bees that have reduced numbers worldwide, 7 San Francisco hotels have built hives on the rooftops. The sustainability efforts also benefits the hotels as the bees produce honey for cocktails, food and spa treatments. It’s the latest in a series of environmental programs at hotels that includes low-flow toilets and aggressive recycling programs.

“This is not about making money, it’s really about raising awareness about sustainability”, said Melissa Farrar, spokesman at the Fairmont in San Francisco. “There’s not one solution so we wanted to do our part to help. It’s part of the bigger effort for helping the planet.” Farrar said the four hives on the rooftop garden support about 250,000 bees and produce about 1,000 pounds of honey each year.

Kristin J. Bender

The Importance of Having a Will


Most recently, Prince joins a list of celebrities who died without a will. Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley, and so many other legendary musicians have passed without securing their estates.

It begs the question:  Why?

It seems like such a basic concept; everyone needs a will.  Otherwise the laws of the state you live in determine who receives your assets and controls your legacy after you die.  Without a will, you have no say in what happens, and the chances of a family fight increase dramatically.

Even though a will is relatively simple to create, studies consistently show that Continue reading

The National Taxpayer Advocate Wants to Hear from You!

We-want-to-hear-from-YOU-FINAL-300x197Olson to Hold Public Forum on Taxpayer Service Needs in Baltimore on May 13

WASHINGTON — National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and Sen. Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, will hold a public forum to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to comply with their tax obligations. Sen. Cardin is also the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

The public forum will be held on Friday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School Of Law in Baltimore.

Members of the public and the media are invited to attend.