The California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced that it will be exchanging payroll tax information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) . The EDD is the state agency which includes in its duties making sure that employers withhold and payover state payroll taxes. The EDD programs include payroll tax audits of business owners to make sure that all workers who have been treated as independent contractors are truly independent contractors, and not employees. In determining whether workers are properly classified the EDD sometimes relies on the 20 factor test set forth by the IRS in Rev. Proc. 87-41. It also relies on a 9 factor test set forth in the California Supreme Court case set forth in Tieberg v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1970), 2 Cal. 3d 943 P. 2d 975; 88 Cal. Rptr. 175. The factors listed are:
1) Whether or not the one employed is engaged in a distinct occupation or business;
(2) The kind of occupation, with reference to whether, in the locality, the work is usually done under the direction of a principal or by a specialist without supervision;
(3) The skill required in the particular occupation;
(4) Whether the employer or the worker supplies the instrumentalities, tools, and place of work for the person doing the work;
(5) The length of time for which the person is employed;
(6) The method of payment, whether by the time or by the job;
(7) Whether or not the work is part of the regular business of the employer;
(8) Whether or not the parties believe they are creating an employer-employee relationship; and
(9) Whether the principal is or is not in business.
Although the EDD has supplied information from its payroll tax audits to the IRS for many years, the IRS has not been particularly efficent at using this information to start its own payroll tax audits. Whether or not this new agreement foreshadows an increased degree of enforcement by the IRS is unknown. However, it underscores the risk of not contesting an EDD payroll tax audit. For more information about filing an appeal of an EDD payroll tax audit see our article
If your company has been contacted the EDD for a California payroll tax audit or has other California payroll tax problems contact the California tax lawyers at Brager Tax Law Group, a P.C.