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Independent Contractors & Worker Classification

Independent Contractor or Employee?

It is imperative that workers be properly classified.

Worker classification is very complex, and it is imperative that workers are properly classified. Use the Twenty Factor Test, the IP Checklist, and Worker Classification Review Questionnaire to help you determine whether you can pay an individual as an independent contractor or if you must pay the individual as an employee of the University before you hire an individual to perform services using any type of payment document.

Workers who are misclassified as independent contractors when they are actually employees can expose the University to serious tax penalties. The major focus in determining how a worker should be classified is the extent of Old Dominion University's "right to control the physical conduct and performance of services being rendered." The Twenty Factor Test and the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire are used to determine the extent of this "right to control." There are three broad categories of control that the University uses in determining worker classification:

  • Behavioral Control - Facts that illustrate whether there is a right to control how the worker performs the specific task for which engaged.
  • Financial Control - Facts that illustrate whether there is a right to direct or control how the business aspects of the worker's activities are conducted.
  • Type Of Relationship - Facts that illustrate how the parties perceive their relationship.

Steps in the Process

  1. Complete the Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC). (Submit an original form each time, with original signatures.)
  2. Complete either the Industry Practice (IP) Checklist OR the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire.
  3. If the IP Checklist can be used, submit the original IPSC and the IP Checklist with the required procurement documentation (purchase order, memo, etc.) to Accounts Payable.
  4. You must ensure that a COV Substitute W-9 or W-8BEN is on file or send the COV Substitute W-9/W-8BEN to Accounts Payable with a copy of the IPSC form and either a copy of the IP Checklist or the Worker Classification Questionnaire.
  5. If the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire must be used, submit the original IPSC and questionnaire to Human Resources for worker classification.
  6. If independent contractor status is approved by Human Resources, the IPSC and Worker Classification Review Questionnaire will be returned to the department.
  7. Submit the approved original IPSC, Worker Classification Review Questionnaire, and purchase order, memo, etc., to Accounts Payable. Be sure a COV Substitute W-9 or W-8BEN is on file. (Submit with original signatures each time.)
  8. If HR determines that the individual must be paid as an employee, submit appropriate payroll documentation.

Payment Information

No payments to an independent contractor will be processed without the approved Worker Classification Review Questionnaire/Industry Practice (IP) Checklist (whichever applies), the approved Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC), and a COV Substitute W-9 (or a W-8BEN for international vendors) on file.

Please submit a copy of the IPSC form and a copy of either the IP Checklist or the approved questionnaire along with the COV Substitute W-9 or W-8BEN in advance.

Fax or Mail COV Substitute W-9 forms to:

  • MAIL: Accounts Payable
    ATTN: Linda Wallace
    Old Dominion University
    Rollins Hall
    Norfolk, VA 23529
  • FAX: 757-683-5729 (ATTN: Linda Wallace)


Travel Expenditures - Generally, independent contractors should not be reimbursed for travel expenditures via the travel expense reimbursement process. Travel expenditures should be included as part of the contract.

Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC)

This form must be completed by a department each time they wish to pay an individual as an independent contractor. Attach either the Industry Practice (IP) Checklist or the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire (see below to determine which must be attached), and an eVA PO or a payment memo before sending to Accounts Payable to request payment. The independent contractor must sign the form prior to submission, certifying eligibility to be paid as an independent contractor. A COV Substitute W-9 or W-8BEN must be on file prior to requesting.

Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC)

Industry Practice (IP) Checklist

Use this form when hiring individuals not currently employed in any capacity by ODU or the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • If the provider fits into the categories on this checklist, forward the IP Checklist and the IPSC to Accounts Payable with the appropriate procurement documentation. You do NOT need to complete the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire.
  • If the provider does not fit into the categories on this checklist, you MUST complete the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire and submit it with the Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC) to Human Resources for determination of worker classification.

Worker Classification Review Questionnaire

If a provider does not fit the categories on the Industry Practice (IP) Checklist, Departments must complete this questionnaire to determine if an individual is eligible to be paid as an independent contractor before any contractor is engaged to perform services for the University. This questionnaire is to be used for all services not included on the Industry Practice (IP) Checklist.

This form is not to be completed by the proposed independent contractor. All questions must be answered, and the appropriate departmental representative must sign the Questionnaire. A decision concerning the information on the questionnaire will be returned to you within two (2) working days after submission to Human Resources.

If the proposed independent contractor must be hired as an employee, the Department of Human Resources will contact the department. If the person can be paid as an independent contractor, the Department of Human Resources will return the approved Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC) and the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire to the department. The signed IPSC, along with a copy of the approved Worker Classification Review Questionnaire and the appropriate procurement documentation should be submitted to Accounts Payable to request payment.

The Twenty Factor Test

This factor test can assist you in determining whether an individual might qualify to be considered an independent contractor. If you feel the individual should be paid as an independent contractor, complete the Worker Classification Review Questionnaire and forward it with the Independent Personal Services Certification Form (IPSC). If an individual does not qualify to be considered an independent contractor, you must pay the individual through the Payroll process.

International Visitors

In the event that those individuals requiring payment are international visitors, very specific additional paperwork is required to ensure compliance with various federal and state taxing authorities and immigration guidelines.

Prior to inviting an international visitor, please contact the Nonresident and Payroll Coordinator (Ext. 3-3193) to ensure that any additional paperwork is completed properly and in a timely manner. For more information, please visit our International Tax & Payments site.

NOTE: W-8BEN forms must be processed before payments can be made to international visitors.

Requesting Payment When Using the IP Checklist

  • Submit the IPSC form, the IP Checklist and a memo for the following types of services:
    • Honoraria
    • Entertainment (speakers, lecturers, musicians, performing artists)

Prepare a memo requesting payment. The memo should be addressed to the Accounts Payable Manager and include who should be paid, the amount, the reason for payment, the budget and sub-account. If using a Standard Engagement Agreement, attach the completed and signed form to the payment memo. A budget unit director (having signature authority) should sign the memo. Send all supporting documentation and ensure that a COV Substitute W-9 or W8-BEN is on file.

  • Submit the IPSC form and the IP Checklist for the following:
    • Intercollegiate athletic game referees, officials, umpires, etc.
  • For any provider of services on the IP Checklist not discussed in the first two bullets, you must do the following:
    • An eVA Purchase Order for any payment exceeding $500.01; or the PA01 Form for payments less than $500.00
    • IPSC form
    • IP Checklist

Previously Approved Questionnaires?

When a department wishes to pay a person (for whom the department previously completed an IPSC and Questionnaire for another event which was approved by the Department of Human Resources), the department should complete a new IPSC for the new event and attach a copy of the previously approved Questionnaire, noting that all information contained on the Questionnaire is still valid (add a new original signature to confirm that no changes have been made). Send both forms to Human Resources for processing. Original signatures are required.

Employees who work "Outside the Scope" of their Normal Job Duties

Many employees perform work for the University that is outside the scope of their normal job duties. It is important that we pay each employee appropriately so that we can accurately report earnings to the Internal Revenue Service. To assure that individuals claiming independent contractor status are claiming this status appropriately, the Internal Revenue Service scrutinizes the returns of individuals who receive both a W-2 and a form 1099 for the same calendar year from one employer. They also scrutinize the returns of individuals who received a W-2 for a prior year and then receive a form 1099 for the next calendar year from the same employer.

If you hire employees (or students enrolled in credit classes) of the University to perform a service for the University outside the scope of their normal duties, they must be paid through the payroll process. Employees who perform services outside their normal job duties cannot submit an invoice to Accounts Payable since Old Dominion University's policy is that individuals cannot receive both a W-2 as an employee and a 1099 as an independent contractor from the University in the current or prior calendar year.

Submitting Paperwork

Departments are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that all paperwork is forwarded to Accounts Payable in a timely manner. No automatic manual checks will be processed if a department fails to ensure paperwork is sent to Accounts Payable timely.

Questions?

Questions about determining independent contractor status/worker classification should be directed to the Accounts Payable Assistant Manager at 683.4528 or Pamela Harris, Staffing and Operations Manager in Human Resources, at 683.5131.


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