Gig economy workers lose certain employee perks

Personal Finance

Ceilidh Gao, an attorney at the National Employment Law Center, said she expects employers to try to advertise the new tax benefits of being an independent contractor to potential or current employees.

“It saves employers money,” Gao said. “They’re able to shift costs on to the worker.”

Indeed, benefits account for more than 30 percent of an employee’s cost to his or her employer, according to the Labor Department. These benefits generally are not offered to independent contractors.

For some people, the conversion from employee to independent contractor could be worthwhile, particularly for those in a high tax bracket, said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow with the Tax Policy Center. Then there are people who have no choice but to be an independent contractor.

In addition, baked into the new code is yet another incentive for employees to, well, not be employees: Certain employee deductions are gone, while business write-offs remain.

Of course, many people are not offered some benefits, despite being an employee. Plus, a growing number of individuals prefer the freedom and flexibility that comes with being self-employed.

“The 9-to-5 world was created in the times when you served a company. It used to be that people said ‘I’m so proud that I work for,’ fill in the blank,” said Miguel Centeno of Shared Economy CPA, which specializes in taxpayers who are independent contractors. “Now there’s more of a focus on how we work as individuals.”

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