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Employee or Contractor? Health Care Law Raises Stakes

New York Times (02/14/15) Conrad De Aenlle

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is focusing on the distinction between employees and independent contractors in 2015, according to tax specialists. Companies that don’t make the proper distinction will face higher costs. “The stakes are higher for companies and the government because of the implementation of the [Affordable Care Act] and the employer mandate taking effect in 2015,” says Jeffrey Saviano, Americas director of indirect tax at Ernst & Young.

Small businesses may be tempted to classify some of their employees as independent contractors, to bring the business under the 50-full-time-employee threshold that requires ACA insurance coverage for employees. But this move is a tricky one that can run afoul of both federal and state laws.