Voluntary Compliance Program Announced by IRS to Address Worker Misclassification

You may have seen that in late September the IRS announced a voluntary compliance program for employers (including nonprofit employers) to enable those who have mistakenly classified workers as independent contractors to make a correction, along with a modest payment, and avoid the usual penalties of noncompliance. This program’s announcement offers an opportunity to remind nonprofits about the risk of misclassification and share information with them about the voluntary compliance program. See the National Council’s website materials on this topic.

Here is the text of the IRS announcement about the voluntary compliance program (from the IRS’s EO Update circulated on October 4):

“The IRS has launched a new program that will enable many employers, including tax-exempt employers, to resolve past worker classification issues and come back into compliance by making a minimal payment covering past payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS audit. To be eligible for the new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program an applicant must:

Consistently have treated the workers as nonemployees in the past

Filed all required Forms 1099 for the workers for the previous three years

Not currently be under audit by the IRS, Department of Labor or a state agency concerning the classification of these workers.

Full details, including FAQs, will be available on the Employment Tax Pages of IRS.gov and in Announcement 2011-64.”

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