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Misclassifying Employees vs. Independent Contractors: A New World of Forgiveness

By Juliet L. Fink
NYSSCPA, Tax Stringer
January 2012 Edition, Vol. 3, No. 1

On Sept. 21, 2011, the IRS announced a new voluntary disclosure program, the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), to provide an incentive for taxpayers to comply with their employment tax obligations. The VCSP is part of a larger “fresh start” initiative by the IRS to encourage taxpayers and businesses to become compliant while giving them financial certainty under the VCSP’s penalty framework. As described in IRS Announcement 2011-64, under the VCSP, eligible businesses will pay minimal back taxes and avoid all interest and penalties if they properly reclassify workers from nonemployees or independent contractors to employees for future tax periods. The VCSP currently has no deadline.

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