What Defines an Independent Contractor?

According to the IRS or Internal Revenue Service, people who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors.

However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax.

For more information on determining whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee, refer to the section on Independent Contractors or Employees.