Vision Payroll

September 30, 2011

Question of the Week: What Are the IRS and DOL Doing About Workers Who Receive 1099s?

IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
This week’s question comes from Steve, a small business owner.

Steve asks:

I’ve read about the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) and its application process with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). What are the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) doing about workers who receive 1099s?

Answer: The IRS and DOL are entering into agreements that include the IRS and DOL as well as several states to share information and coordinate enforcement of current laws and regulations.

Memoranda Signed at Washington Ceremony

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently hosted a ceremony at DOL headquarters in Washington to sign a memorandum of understanding with the IRS that will improve departmental efforts to end the business practice of misclassifying employees in order to avoid providing employment protections. In addition, labor commissioners and other agency leaders representing seven states signed memoranda of understanding with the department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and, in some cases, its Employee Benefits Security Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Office of the Solicitor. The signatory states are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Utah and Washington. Secretary Solis also announced agreements for the WHD to enter into memoranda of understanding with the state labor agencies of Hawaii, Illinois and Montana, as well as with New York’s attorney general.

DOL and IRS Will Share Information with Participating States

The memoranda of understanding will enable the DOL to share information and coordinate law enforcement with the IRS and participating states in order to level the playing field for law-abiding employers and ensure that employees receive the protections to which they are entitled under federal and state law.

Secretary Solis: We’re Standing United to End the Practice of Misclassifying Employees

“We’re here today to sign a series of agreements that together send a coordinated message: We’re standing united to end the practice of misclassifying employees,” said Secretary Solis. “We are taking important steps toward making sure that the American dream is still available for all employees and responsible employers alike.”

Commissioner Shulman: We Will Work Together More Efficiently to Address Worker Misclassification Issues

“This agreement takes the partnership between the IRS and DOL to a new level,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “In this new phase of our relationship, we will work together more efficiently to address worker misclassification issues, and better serve the needs of small businesses and employees.”

Misclassification Can Create Economic Pressure for Law-Abiding Business Owners

Business models that attempt to change, obscure or eliminate the employment relationship are not inherently illegal, unless they are used to evade compliance with federal labor laws — for example, if an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor and subsequently denied rights and benefits to which he or she is entitled under the law. In addition, misclassification can create economic pressure for law-abiding business owners.

Memoranda Arose as Part of the Misclassification Initiative

These memoranda of understanding arose as part of the department’s Misclassification Initiative, which was launched under the auspices of Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification.

Contact Vision Payroll Today

Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the memoranda of understanding.

September 23, 2011

Question of the Week: How Do I Apply for the VCSP?

How Do I Apply for the VCSP?
How Do I Apply for the VCSP?
This week’s question comes from Allan, a small-business owner.

Allan asks…

I read about the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP). I have some workers who might need to be classified as employees. How do I apply for the VCSP?

Answer: Employers may use Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), to apply for participation in the VCSP.

Eligibility Requirements

The instructions to Form 8952 list the following eligibility requirements to participate in the VCSP:

  1. Want to voluntarily reclassify certain workers as employees for federal income tax withholding, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), and Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxes (collectively, federal employment taxes) for future tax periods.
  2. Be presently treating the workers as non-employees.
  3. Have satisfied any Form 1099 requirements for each of the workers for the 3 preceding calendar years ending before the date Form 8952 is filed. A taxpayer will have satisfied its Form 1099 filing requirements if it provided Forms 1099 to the workers being reclassified for the period of time that the workers worked for the taxpayer. For example, a taxpayer who has only been in business for two years will have satisfied its Form 1099 filing requirements if it provided the workers being reclassified with Forms 1099 for those two years.
  4. Have consistently treated the workers as non-employees.
  5. Have no dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as to whether the workers are non-employees or employees for federal employment tax purposes.
  6. Not be under examination by the IRS.
  7. Not be under examination by the Department of Labor (DOL) or any state agency for the proper classification of the workers.
  8. Not have been examined previously by the IRS or the DOL for the classification of workers; or,
  9. If the taxpayer has been examined previously by the IRS or the DOL for the classification of workers, taxpayer must have complied with the results of the prior examination.

In addition, as part of the VCSP, a taxpayer must agree to extend the period of limitations on assessment of employment taxes for 3 years for the first, second, and third calendar years beginning after the date the taxpayer elects to begin treating the workers as employees under the VCSP closing agreement. The taxpayer has the right to refuse to extend the period of limitations on assessment or to limit the extension to particular issues or to a particular period of time. However, if the taxpayer refuses to extend the period of limitations on assessment or provides only a limited extension, the IRS will not execute the VCSP closing agreement.

Filing Deadline for Form 8952

Although there is no absolute filing deadline for Form 8952, it should be filed at least 60 days before the date you want to begin treating the class or classes of workers as employees.

No Payment Due with Form 8952

Although you will be required to calculate the amount of the payment to be paid, the amount should not be sent with Form 8952. It must be sent with the signed closing agreement.

Contact Vision Payroll Today for Information on Form 8952

Contact Vision Payroll for further information on Form 8952.

September 21, 2011

Tip of the Week: IRS Announces Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program

IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today launched a new program that will enable many employers to resolve past worker classification issues and achieve certainty under the tax law at a low cost by voluntarily reclassifying their workers.

Minimal Payment Will Clear Up Prior Liabilities

This new program will allow employers the opportunity to get into compliance by making a minimal payment covering past payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS audit.

Part of the “Fresh Start” Initiative

This is part of a larger “Fresh Start” initiative at the IRS to help taxpayers and businesses address their tax responsibilities.

Settlement Program Provides relief and Certainty

“This settlement program provides certainty and relief to employers in an important area,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “This is part of a wider effort to help taxpayers and businesses to help give them a fresh start with their tax obligations.”

VCSP Designed to Increase Tax Compliance

The new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) is designed to increase tax compliance and reduce burden for employers by providing greater certainty for employers, workers and the government. Under the program, eligible employers can obtain substantial relief from federal payroll taxes they may have owed for the past, if they prospectively treat workers as employees. The VCSP is available to many businesses, tax-exempt organizations and government entities that currently erroneously treat their workers or a class or group of workers as nonemployees or independent contractors, and now want to correctly treat these workers as employees.

Eligibility Criteria for the Program

To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • Consistently have treated the workers in the past as nonemployees,
  • Have filed all required Forms 1099 for the workers for the previous three years,
  • Not currently be under audit by the IRS, the Department of Labor or a state agency concerning the classification of these workers.

File Form 8952 to Apply for the Program

Interested employers can apply for the program by filing Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, at least 60 days before they want to begin treating the workers as employees.

Payment Due upon Acceptance

Employers accepted into the program will pay an amount effectively equaling just over one percent of the wages paid to the reclassified workers for the past year. No interest or penalties will be due, and the employers will not be audited on payroll taxes related to these workers for prior years. Participating employers will, for the first three years under the program, be subject to a special six-year statute of limitations, rather than the usual three years that generally applies to payroll taxes.

Contact Vision Payroll Today

Contact Vision Payroll for further information on the VCSP.

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