On September 21, 2011, the IRS announced and explained its new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) that provides partial relief from federal employment taxes for eligible taxpayers that agree to prospectively treat their workers as employees (see Announcement 2011-64). In essence, eligible employers may voluntary elect to participate in the VCSP in order to limit federal employment tax liability for the past non-employee treatment of workers who should have been classified as employees.
In order to participate in the program, the taxpayer must meet certain eligibility requirements, apply to participate in VCSP, and enter into a closing agreement with the IRS.
Whether a worker is performing services as an employee or as an independent contractor depends upon the facts and circumstances and is generally determined under the common law test of whether the service recipient has the right to direct and control the worker as to how to perform the services. In some factual situations, the determination of the proper worker classification status under the common law may not be clear.
For taxpayers already under the IRS examination, the current CSP may be available to resolve federal employment tax issues related to worker misclassification, if certain criteria are met. The examination CSP permits the prospective reclassification of workers as employees, with reduced federal employment tax liabilities for past nonemployee treatment. The CSP allows business and tax examiners to resolve the worker classification issues as early in the administrative process as possible, thereby reducing taxpayer burden and providing efficiencies for both the taxpayer and the government.
In order to facilitate voluntary resolution of worker classification issues and achieve the resulting benefits of increased tax compliance and certainty for taxpayers, workers and the government, the IRS has determined that it would be beneficial to provide taxpayers with a program that allows for voluntary reclassification of workers as employees outside of the examination context and without the need to go through normal administrative correction procedures applicable to employment taxes.
Effect of VCSP
A taxpayer who participates in the VCSP will agree to prospectively treat the class of workers as employees for the future tax periods. Additionally, a taxpayer participating in the VCSP will agree to extend the period of limitations on assessment of employment taxes for three years for the first, second and third calendar years beginning after the date on which the taxpayer has agreed under the VCSP closing agreement to begin treating the workers as employees.
In exchange, the taxpayer will pay ten (10) percent of the employment tax liability that may have been due on compensation paid to the workers for the most recent tax year, determined under the reduced rates of section 3509 of the Internal Revenue Code. Moreover, the taxpayer will not be liable for any interest and penalties on the liability; and will not be subject to an employment tax audit with respect to the worker classification of the workers for prior years.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW to Resolve Your Employment Tax Issues
If you wish to find out whether you are eligible to participate in the VCSP and whether this is the best option for you, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office immediately. Our experienced tax attorneys will guide you through the complex process of Voluntary Classification Settlement Program and strive to achieve the most satisfactory and efficient resolution of your case.