If you are an employee working for your employer at any corporation or organization, you will have to go through certain legal paperwork, for instance, filing Forms 1099 or W-2. In the United States, 1099Vs W-2employee are two different tax forms which serve the purpose of deducting payroll taxes for different types of employees. Learn more about 1099 vs W-2 Employee.

To understand the process of payroll taxes in different two tax forms 1099 vs W-2 Employee and Which Is Better For Your Business In 2019?  1099 Vs W-2s, these are the two different tax forms for contractors and employees. If you are a contractor you will get 1099 tax form but if you are an employee you will get W-2s employee tax form. let’s see what kind of difference is there in 1099 and W-2s and why we need to compare these two tax forms 1099 vs W-2 Employee.

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1099 employees

These are self-employed and independent contractors, they usually receive their pay in accordance with the terms of their contract and get a Form 1099 to report their income on their annual tax returns.

Describing The W-2 employee tax form

On the other hand, a W-2 employee receives a regular wage and employee benefits. The employer withholds income tax from the employee’s pay-check and has a significant degree of control over the employee’s work.

In short, Form W-2 is a wage and tax statement, where employers must file a Form W-2 for each employee from whom Income, social security, or Medicare tax was withheld. You will receive a Form W-2 if you are an employee.

 IRS requires your employer to record your salary and tax information and report it to you on a W-2. The form shows how much money you make from that employer during the year, which you can use in calculating your adjusted gross income (AGI).

The form shows your tax withholdings for the year, including federal and state taxes. Essentially, Form W-2 will give you a sense of how much you get and how much you have already submitted to the IRS and your state in tax.

Thus, both Form 1099 and Form W-2 serve a similar purpose and that is to report income you earned from sources throughout the tax year.

However, each forms issue under different circumstances and requires slightly different approaches for tax season planning. Here are some tips to decode these two form types and what to expect when preparing your taxes.

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What Does the Law State About 1099 vs W-2 Employee

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states that there are basically three main questions to ask yourself about classifying 1099 vs W-2 Employee in your business. In general, only one of the questions mentions below has to fit the bill for the employee in order to consider a W-2 employee.

(a) Question-based on behavior

Does company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his/her job? If the answer is a ‘Yes’, then he/she is likely a W-2. On the contrary, if the worker is free to manage their own schedule and work process, then they are more likely in 1099.

(b) Question-based on finance:

The business aspects of the worker’s job control by the employer? These things include how a worker gets money, whether expenses are reimbursed, and who provides tools or supplies, etc. If the company controls how the worker is paid and pays for expenses and supplies, he/she is likely a W-2. But, if the worker has to send an invoice in order to get paid and/or cover their own expenses, then they are more likely in 1099.

(c) Question-based on relationship:

Are written employment contracts versus projects or an independent contractor agreement, or employee-type benefits (e.g. health insurance, vacation pay)? Will the working relationship be continued for the foreseeable future if the work is done correctly and is the work performed a key aspect of the business? If the company provides benefits to its employees and believes that the employee is there for a long-term, then he/she is likely a W-2.

These questions are useful to ask which helps in determining what kind of employees you, as an employer already have, as well as who you want to hire in your corporation or organization.

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Defining a 1099 Employee

A 1099 employee, who may also be an independent contractor, generally provides specific services which define by a written contract. While a few 1099 employees may only work on one project at a time, however, there are others who may offer to serve multiple clients by providing their service within their expertise.

Therefore, independent contractors, such as freelancers and consultants are usually self-employed, and thus, they are also business owners themselves. Businesses hire W-2 employees with the intention of working with them for an undetermined length of time.

On the other hand, businesses engage independent contractors for a defined period of time, as per the conditions outlined in the contract. But that engagement renews as many times as both the 1099 employee and the business owner find to be mutually beneficial.

No matter the length of the term, independent contractors decide for themselves how and where they work, and what tools and methods they use to complete the work you hired them for.

Also, 1099 contractors may choose to hire their own workers to help them deliver the product or service that you hired them to provide. In other words we can say, independent contractors, assume the risk for their own profit or loss when they carry out their jobs.

Since the level of oversight over independent contractors is relatively low, your level of financial and legal responsibility is low, as well. As such, 1099 contractors pay both employee and employer self-employment taxes.

So, if you want to hire an independent contractor, your business does not need to pay payroll taxes. And, as their own business owners, 1099 workers are not eligible for the benefits you might offer to your W-2 employees, such as health insurance, paid time off and overtime, etc.

Defining a W-2 Employee

w-2 employee

A W-2 employee is a salaried employee. Unlike independent contractors, the W-2 workers are not their own business owners. They generally work for your company, participate in employee benefit programs and work according to your business schedule and needs. Unless there is a compelling reason to classify a worker as an independent contractor, the default classification is a W-2 employee.

In the United States

As per the U.S. laws, guarantee for employees at least a minimum wage, which sets by both federal and state laws, for the time they have worked on a regular and ongoing basis. Companies withhold their W-2 employees’ Social Security and Medicare taxes and pay employer payroll taxes. In most of the cases, a company can let an employee go for poor performance or any other valid, non-discriminatory reason.

An independent contractor, on the other hand, works and receives their pay according to the terms of a signed contract between both the parties. They also pay their own taxes.

The employer provides all the necessary tools and supplies to their W-2 employees. However, independent contractors must provide their own. In addition, employees are typically reimbursed for business expenses they incur over the course of their employment.

This is not the case for independent contractors unless specifically outlined in their contract. Benefits like health insurance, retirement contributions, and flexible spending accounts are available to all qualifying employees in a business. On the other hand, such benefits are not available to independent contractors who work for a business.

Pros and Cons of 1099 Employees

There are quite a number of business owners who embrace the 1099 contractors because of their advantages over W-2 employees. Here are a few advantages:

Advantages of having a 1099 employee for your business:

Save on Wages: You can work with people from lower-wage countries and, assuming you pay by the project, you don’t pay for downtime or time they spend learning how to do the project.

You Save on Taxes:

When hiring the employees you not only have to withhold their taxes but your company also has to pay Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes. This is over and above what the employee pays. Independent contractors pay all their own taxes.

You Save on Insurance: 

States require you to buy workers compensation insurance for employees. but no requirement when working with independent contractors.

You Save on Benefits: 

Full-time employees expect benefits such as healthcare, 401K plans and paid time off. Independent contractors will not expect benefits.

It is Not Easy to Sue:

You are not subject to the same labor laws with independent contractors as you are with employees. here we list out federal labor laws and just watch what you put in their contract and be sure to include an “out” clause.

Specific Skill Sets:

Many contractors bring expertise in their field, like technical recruiting or computer development in a specific language. It can save you time on training your current employees to learn additional skills.

You Have Better Flexibility:

Pending an agreement with the independent contractor, you can generally use them as an on-demand resource and “dip in and out” as your business requires.

Good Independent Contractors are Easier to Manage: Independent contractors are usually incredibly self-motivated and self-driven since they essentially run their own business. The more hours and projects they get, the harder they work and with a high level of achievement.

Drawbacks of having a 1099 employee for your business:

As opposed to the various pros of having 1099 contractors, there are also certain drawbacks to having a 1099 contractor on your staff. Here are a few of them:

Higher Hourly Rate: 

The contractor will charge more by the hour than a salaried team member would. However, you can find contractors from other countries as well via freelance websites like Upwork and potentially save money.

Lacks Teamwork:

Since the contractor is an outsider, they may not “gel” with your team the way an in-house employee would. You will want to make sure they understand the company structure and their place in the workplace early, as well as create a communications plan with them.

Capacity if You Need Them More:

In case if an emergency comes up, your 1099 contractor is not going to necessarily work late or burn the midnight oil, especially if they have other clients to work for. Whereas, a W-2 team member will usually work, with reason, to get the job finish, even if it requires to do overtime.

We shall now make comparison and see why you want a W-2 over a 1099 contractor for your business.

Pros and Cons of W-2 Employees

What about the perks of hiring full time and part-time employee to your business (regardless of hourly vs salary)? There are 5 major perks to posting a job and hiring him/her as a W-2 employee:

Advantages of hiring a W-2 employee for your business:

Recruitment: For recruiting purposes, you will get a lot more applicants and a wider talent pool will be interested in the role. It is also a lot easier to post the position on a more traditional job board than a contract role.

Succession Planning:

As your business grows, you will also have the necessity to promote people and have one or more managers to operate your business. Hiring W-2s allows for this in a more consistent way, and it lets you have people who are able to help if, in situations where someone unexpectedly resigns or needs to be fired. A contractor cannot typically help in these situations.


A W-2 will know that their employment and potential benefits are on the line based on their performance. They are more accountable than a contractor. However, people differ from individual to individual and there are great contractors out there, as well as unreliable employees.

General Help for Company:

Let’s take an example here. Say, somebody in your company suddenly calls in sick or resigns due to other reasons. A W-2 person is going to be there to help and will immediately lend a helping hand on deck. A contractor, on the other hand, who is remote, will not typically be able to or provide help.

Company Culture and Team Building:

W-2s contribute to more cohesive company culture. They may become great work friends or peers and great long-term employees for you as a team as well. However, it is rather much difficult for 1099s to do this, especially since they are typically off-site and usually not consistent in their hours.

On the other hand, as we have touched on before, there are also some downsides to W-2 employees.

Drawbacks of hiring a W-2 employee for your business:

The top three cons of hiring W-2 employees for your business.

Taxes: You got to pay payroll, unemployment and worker’s compensation for all employees. That can start to add up whenever you hire in the employee’s total cost to the company.

Harder to Fire: You will need to make sure you are implementing essential things such as performance reviews and progressive discipline for behavioral issues in order to make sure that you are airtight in firing someone. Even though most states are at-will, a W-2 employee is much harder to let go of.

Require More Time to Manage: A W-2 employee needs to be trained, is going to have a tonne of questions and needs to be groomed in order to fit well into their designated role.

This may take, for instance, 30, 60 or 90 days, or even a full year before they are completely trained and ready to deliver their role. When a contractor is usually specialized, they can make an impact more quickly.

1099 Vs W-2 Employee – Which Do You Prefer For Your Business?

Both employers and employees alike. And both tend to have compelling opinions on whether W-2 employee vs 1099 relationship is best for them or not.

Many people feel they would never try the other kind for reasons varying around the pros and cons mentioned above.

what matters most having the correct paperwork, payroll, and onboarding process for each kind, so that when the contract or employment relationship does eventually end, it is without any liability to you as the business owner.

Both employers and employees ought to consider the type of employment before agreeing to any form of work. Both 1099 and W-2 have their own set of pros and cons. It also greatly depends on your unique business needs. Therefore, the choice you make shall be your own.

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