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20 factors used by the IRS to determine employee or independent contractor status updated 5/1/17

See also updated views on the 20 factors.

The IRS has also focused on this as 2 factors, "control" (behavioral and financial) and "relationship".

The importance of each factor varies depending on the occupation and facts (as stated each indicates employee unless indicated). See Rev. Rul. 87-41.

  1. Compliance with Instructions;
  2. Training (services to be performed in a particular method or manner);
  3. Integration of the worker's services into the business operations;
  4. Services Rendered Personally – interested in the methods used to accomplish the work as well as in the results;
  5. Hiring, Supervising, and Paying Assistants generally shows control over the workers on the job (cf. worker to provide materials and labor pursuant to contract where responsible only for the attainment of a result, indicating independent contractor);
  6. Continuing Relationship (including frequently recurring although irregular intervals);
  7. Set Hours of Work;
  8. Full Time Required (impliedly restricts the worker from doing other gainful work);
  9. Doing Work on Employer's Premises (suggests control, especially if the work could be done elsewhere);
  10. Order or Sequence Set;
  11. Oral or Written Reports;
  12. Payment by Hour, Week, Month. (payment by the job or on a straight commission indicates independent contractor);
  13. Payment of Business and/or Traveling Expenses;
  14. Furnishing of Tools and Materials;
  15. Significant Investment indicates independent contractor. Special scrutiny required for certain types of facilities, e.g., home offices;
  16. Realization of Profit or Loss. (due to risk from substantial investment or bona fide expenses, NOT just risk of not getting paid);
  17. Working for More than One Firm at a Time indicates independent contractor (but a person can be an employee of more than 1 persons, particularly where part of the same service arrangement);
  18. Making Services Available to General Public (on a regular and consistent basis) indicates independent contractor;
  19. Right to Discharge;
  20. Right to Terminate.