A Tax-Payer Status: An Employee or an Independent Research Contractor?
If you work for an academic writing company as a writer, you will almost certainly be treated as an independent contractor. If you’ve been freelancing for awhile, this designation will most likely be familiar to you, but in case not, here’s a beginner’s guide to the differences between an independent contractor and an employee.
The primary condition that’s considered in making a proclamation of type of employee is how much control the employer has over the individual, the work that is done, and how it is done.
Put very simply, if you (the writer) choose your hours of work, choose whether or not to take specific projects, choose how those projects get done, supply the materials you will need to complete the project, are paid per-project with no taxes taken from your pay, and work under an arrangement that can be terminated at any time, for any reason, by either you or your employer, then you are an independent writing contractor.
If, on the other hand, you have steady hours, are given the tools with which to perform your job by the employer, receive a steady paycheck, are given vacation time, and (possibly most tellingly) have state and federal taxes deducted from your paycheck, then you are an employee.
As it so happens, these criteria and the surrounding governance of the independent contractor/employee designation can be tricky to determine, and are often contested by one or the other ‘side.’ However, this is a pretty good list to run through to figure out how your company sees you as a worker.
Why Do Most Essay Companies Treat Writers as Independent Contractors?
It’s very simple: if you are an independent contractor, your company does not have to pay taxes on you. It’s not just a matter of withholding and then having to pay the IRS and/or a state government the taxes that are withheld, but companies are liable for a higher tax burden: namely, Social Security and Medicare taxes. These taxes can cost companies many thousands of dollars (or more, depending upon how many writers the company employs). In addition, the company has to implement a system through which all employees are paid the proper price for their work and all taxes are paid, on time, to the relevant authorities.
In short, it’s a lot of work and a lot of money to treat writers as employees, and most companies would prefer to not accept the burden of either one.
What’s My Best Bet?
In some ways, it is rather pointless to make a thorough investigation of the advantages and disadvantages of working as an independent contractor versus an employee, because 99 times out of 100, you won’t have a choice in the matter. Almost all academic writing companies treat their writers as independent contractors, and that is the way of it.
If, however, you decide that your particular situation warrants working as an employee no matter what, you can do a more intensive search for an academic writing company that does treat its writers as employees. They are out there – they are just extremely rare.
However, while it is nice to have someone else do the work of withholding your taxes so you don’t have to worry about it, there are definite advantages to working as an independent contractor. First and foremost: freedom. No one can tell you when to write, how to write, or where to write. If your clients are happy, you will get work, hands down, regardless of how annoyed the staff people at the company might be due to lateness or other issues. And frankly, while you will have to find a way to pay the piper come tax time, it can be nice to have all that money up front.