Pay Type Not Determinative of Independent Contractor Status

I was told by my employer that I am an independent contractor. I have to fill out a 1099 tax form at the end of the year instead of a W-2 and deductions like social security are not made from my paychecks. Does this mean I am an independent contractor?

No. Being paid with or without deductions made to your paycheck does not determine if you are an independent contractor or an employee. Additionally, whether or not your income is reported with a 1099 or a W-2, also has no significance in the determination if you are an independent contractor or an employee. Your employer can not alter your status from employee to independent contractor by requiring you to take on the burden of the employer illegally. Such burdens are withholding payroll taxes, and reporting withholdings to the IRS. If you think you may be an employee rather than an independent contractor, you may be entitled to overtime wages and vacation pay. You may file a wage-claim in California to retrieve your lost benefits.


Jane is paid as an independent contractor by a company for her accounting services. Jane’s paychecks do not have tax and social security deductions made from them and she fills out a 1099 tax form at the end of the year, opposed to a W-2 form. Even though Jane is paid as an independent contractor, does not mean that she is. Jane my want to consult with a lawyer who specializes in the law concerning independent contractors and employees. Jane may in fact be an employee by law and entitled to benefits received by employees. Jane could file a wage claim in California to retrieve her benefits.

If you have a question about California employee or independent contractor law or want to file a wage claim in California, contact us now.

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