Q&A

As an independent contractor, do I have to stay in the salon for five to six hours when there are no walk-ins or appointments?

Q.

As an independent contractor getting a 1099, do I have to stay in the salon for five to six hours when there are no walk-ins or appointments and I’m not getting a salary? I work on a 50/50 commission split.

A.

Many stylists and nail techs believe they are independent contractors/booth renters but they do not actually meet criteria to be considered independent by the IRS. I get the impression you are limited by salon hours and are paid a commission from the salon owner.

Although it is permissible for an independent contractor to be paid by the job or commission, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and Background Relating to Worker Classification for Federal Tax Purposes, the establishment of set hours for the worker indicates employee status. As an independent contractor you should set her own hours, have a key to the establishment with direct access to your station/suite, purchase your own products, and establish your own prices. You also may have your own phone line and business name.

If the owner of the establishment sets the shop hours, determines the times for work (makes a schedule), and accepts and sets appointments, the IRS may determine that the technician is not classified as an independent contractor and is instead considered an employee. If you are an independent contractor, you should not be restricted by establishment hours of operation.

I suggest the following two resource documents that may be helpful:

> Independent Contractor or Employee? IRS Publication 1779

   (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1779.pdf); and

> Tax Tips for the Cosmetology and Barbering Industry IRS Publication 4902

   (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4902.pdf

— Myra Y. Irizarry is director, government affairs for the Professional Beauty Association (www.probeauty.org).

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