SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home819. Do you have the opportunity for profit or loss?

819.1 Are you in a position to realize a profit or suffer a loss resulting from your services?

If you have an opportunity for profit or loss resulting from your services, we generally consider you an independent contractor. If you are not in such a position, you are likely to be an employee.

819.2 How do you establish the opportunity for profit or loss?

You may establish the opportunity for profit or loss by various circumstances. Examples of such circumstances are when someone:

  1. Hires, directs, and pays assistants;

  2. Has his or her own office, equipment, materials, or facilities to do the work;

  3. Has continuing and recurring liabilities or obligations;

  4. Succeeds or fails depending on the relation of receipts to expenses;

  5. Agrees to perform specific jobs for prices agreed upon in advance;

  6. Pays expenses incurred in connection with work performed; and

  7. Performs services, or pays assistants to perform services, which establish or affect his or her business reputation, but not the reputation of those who purchase the services.

Last Revised: Nov. 16, 2010