What are the three factors the IRS uses to determine worker status?

What are the three factors the IRS uses to determine worker status?

In the complex landscape of the U.S. workforce, the diversity of workers forms the backbone of the nation, contributing their skills, talents, and dedication. From skilled professionals to laborers, individuals from various backgrounds, whether within the USA or coming to the USA, play a crucial role in driving the economy. Each worker or employee holds distinct rights, and their employment status is instrumental in securing these rights. 

Worker status is a critical aspect that not only shapes an individual’s rights and benefits but also holds significance for employers and regulatory bodies. In this blog, we will explore the factors that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employs to determine the status of workers in the United States.

Related Webinars
Employee Business Expense Reimbursement (2024 Updates)
Jul 18th 2024 @ 01:00 PM ET
Speaker: Patrick A. Haggerty, EA
Learn More
Calculating Overtime in 2024: How to Get it Right Every Time
Jul 23rd 2024 @ 01:00 PM ET
Speaker: Vicki M. Lambert, CPP
Learn More
Payroll Overpayments: Handling them Correctly in 2024
Jul 31st 2024 @ 11:00 AM ET
Speaker: Vicki M. Lambert, CPP
Learn More

The Significance of Worker Status

Understanding whether someone is classified as an employee or an independent contractor is crucial. This classification directly affects various aspects such as eligibility for employment benefits, payments, tax responsibilities, and legal protections. It determines how taxes are withheld, access to health benefits, and the employer’s obligations for specific taxes.

Factors Influencing Worker Status

The IRS uses specific criteria to determine whether an individual should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. These criteria assess the level of control and independence in the working relationship, and they cover:

1. Behavioral Control:

  • Does the employer specify how, when, and where the work is done?
  • Are there detailed instructions about the methods and procedures to be followed?

2. Financial Control:

  • Does the employer cover business expenses?
  • Is the worker reimbursed for tools, materials, or other costs?
  • Does the worker have the potential for profit or loss based on their managerial skill?

3. Type of Relationship:

  • Are there written contracts or benefits typically associated with employees (like a pension plan or insurance)?
  • Is the work a crucial part of the employer’s regular business?
  • Is the relationship ongoing or project-based?


The worker status determination by the IRS is a pivotal aspect with far-reaching implications for both individuals and employers in the U.S. workforce. The three key factors, namely Behavioral Control, Financial Control, and Type of Relationship serve as crucial criteria in making this determination. These factors not only impact tax obligations and legal protections but also influence eligibility for employment benefits. Being aware of and understanding these factors is essential for navigating the complexities of worker classification, ensuring compliance, and fostering fair and transparent working relationships.

Stay Updated

Don’t miss any latest payroll update
Share Now

About Us

At Payroll Pro Guide, we’re dedicated to offering top-quality payroll insights, news, and blogs to enhance your expertise.

Recent Posts


Don’t miss....

Any latest payroll update

confirm your email

Your signup is almost complete! Please check your email for a confirmation message.
Grab our FREE

e-Books on Payroll Management