engaging a freelancer
Are you hesitant to hire a freelance editor? Worried about the unknown paperwork and unfamiliar legalities that might be involved? Don’t be: the process is easier than you probably think.
As a freelancer, I am available for hire by anyone or any place that may need me—on a short-term basis, during an occasional project, for a regular cycle, or only once! To the tech industry, I’m a so-called “gig worker”! But, technically, or according to the government, I’m a self-employed independent contractor.
Primarily, that means I am not your employee but I still work for you; and, beyond making payments for my “contracted” services, you have no obligations to the survival of my business:
- you don’t pay any FICA or tax obligations;
- you don’t provide health insurance or other benefits;
- you don’t have to manage a work schedule;
- you don’t have to track performance or evaluations;
- you don’t have to worry about personnel issues.
Your responsibilities do include making negotiated payments for agreed-upon work, offering introductory training (which you need to provide your own staff, anyway), and providing informal feedback on performance as necessary. No hiring or firing headaches—and not much paperwork!
As an independent worker, I am responsible for my own tax obligations, health insurance, and retirement details—not you or your company. Read on for other advantages and to see what is actually involved in the process.
I’ve found over the years that most employers are hesitant to hire freelancers, or independent contractors, because they are worried about complicating their situations with the IRS—so let’s look at that issue first.
If the person you are contracting to do work for you is truly a self-employed independent freelancer, you need only two forms, and both are easily downloaded from the IRS website:
- an IRS Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, which is needed up front, to gather my current contact information and my valid tax identification number; and
- an IRS Form 1099-MISC, a Miscellaneous Information and Nonemployee Compensation form, which is needed to report the total amount of annual payments to me at the end of each tax year.
As the contract administrator, you are not required to file a 1099-MISC annually, unless you’ve paid me more than $600 within one calendar/tax year. To satisfy your IRS obligation, you must send a completed 1099-MISC to the IRS and the contract worker before January 31st of the following year.
For added IRS protection, you’ll want to keep documents and records that can prove the person you’ve hired is a contract worker rather than an employee. The burden of proof is on you to prove this, as the IRS usually assumes the person is an employee unless you can prove otherwise. But proof is not difficult to obtain—any documentation that indicates a separation is helpful.
For example, you need to prove that your, independent contractor, in general, can
- determine and focus attention on their own independent projects,
- make their own schedules, and
- provide their own tools and equipment.
In addition, your freelance worker should be able to provide evidence on their own that demonstrates they are contracting with a number of different companies. Further proof can be provided by showing that, in opposition to your employees, your independent contractors do not
- have an ongoing flow of work assignments and responsibilities that are most often determined by their job description or by a leader in the company,
- have set work schedules and specific times for reporting to work and leaving for the day,
- receive whatever training, supplies, and equipment they need to perform assigned tasks, and
- earn insurance, worker’s compensation, social security benefits, and other perks that are paid or supplemented by a company.
The IRS has developed lists of qualifications, and businesses must weigh several factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. No magical set of factors determines one way or the other, and no one factor stands alone in making a determination. Also, factors that may be relevant in one situation may not be relevant in another.
the-freelance-editor will help
Fortunately, the evidential proof you need is easily obtained: invoices and proof of payment transactions should be kept—as well as a freelance contract, or independent contractor agreement. Such a document is standard with the-freelance-editor and begins as our project proposal, a basic part of our application process that we submit when bidding for a project.
Our proposal/contract outlines exactly what work needs to be completed, how we plan to complete the work, milestones and deadlines (both intermittent and final) for steps to completion, and a schedule for payments.
That’s right . . .
Our goal is not only to provide our services in a way that goes above and beyond your expectations but to also make the entire process easy on you. After all, if you had time and other resources to allocate to more paperwork and management, you wouldn’t be needing us anyway! So, get in touch. You won’t know how much we can do for you and your organization until we work it out!
At the-freelance-editor, we work with you—the author, the originator,
the content writer—and your team, to help you say what you want to say to the audience you want to reach.
So, get in touch—you won’t know how we can help you and your team until you do!
If you still have questions or concerns after exploring our site or if you’re ready to see how we can work together to reach your goals, contact us—whenever you’re ready.
the online home of
As a professional freelance
editor (which means my services
are for hire by any person or
organization that needs them),
my goal, and the goal of my team,
is to collaborate with
you—the author, the originator,
the content writer—to reach your
(1) to say what you want to say
to the audience you want to reach
(2) to have your readers
concentrate on your message,
not your mistakes.
So, get in touch—you won’t
know how we can help you and
your team until you do!
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