Tips

#1 - Work Related Receipts

Save all work related receipts. Remember iamindependent immediately reimburses approved business expenses. A free and convenient app called Expensify can take the hassle out of saving all of those receipts.

#2 - Online Presence

Establish a professional looking presence via online networking sites such as LinkedIn. HR departments are looking at Linkedin nowadays as a second resume. Network with Iamindependent.com and fellow consultants on LinkedIn.

#3 - Groups

Join groups of personal and career related interests. You never know who will lead you to your next assignment, or who you can help to do the same. Visit Meetup.com, a great website enabling people to network with likeminded individuals in your area. Meetup groups range from professional meetings to book clubs. It’s a great way to achieve that work life balance.

When Applying For a Loan...

Independent consultants need to take out loans from their bank for big purchases just like any other worker in the United States. However their 1099 source of income does not look stable in the eyes of the bank. By receiving W-2 paystub from an employer of record instead, an independent consultant can expect a more positive outcome from his loan application.

Promotions

iamindependent is currently running the following promotions:

Referral Program:

For every consultant you refer to iamindependent who meet our minimimum billing requirements* you receive $500. Kindly fill out a contact form with the referral's name and email address. You will receive the $500 referral fee only after the referral meets our minimum billing requirements.

Fee Discount Program:

iamindependent will offer a discount towards our service fee for members who Invoice & Receive significant amounts

Please contact one of iamindependent's associates to discuss your specific situation.

LLC vs. IAI

Independent consultants usually choose to classify themselves as an LLC for tax purposes. As an LLC they are able to pass their income through the LLC and pay themselves a salary properly by withholding both the employee and employer side of taxes. Furthermore they are able to write off IRS approved business expenses to be reimbursed for the costs of running their business. However running the LLC forces the consultant to either spend many precious working hours performing back office liabilities or hiring an accountant or assistant to handle the workload which can be expensive.

iamindependent.com, inc. alleviates the back office burden off the independent consultant by providing all of the required services. By becoming an IAI member, consultants are free to work on their scheduled projects without worrying if they are running their business properly. Furthermore they receive a simple W-2 at year end unlike the 1099 they would receive if they filed as an LLC. Even if the consultant has already classified himself as an LLC he can still use our services without having to dissolve the LLC.

How the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act May Affect You

There are many new provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(PPACA) which may affect you. Following are the top 5 provisions which we thought you should definitely know about.

  1. Lifetime Limits – Starting in 2014 insurers may no longer limit how much care they will pay for. This prevents the insurers from dropping you from coverage if your care becomes too expensive.
  2. Pre-existing Conditions – Starting in 2014 health insurance companies can no longer refuse to insure someone due to a pre-existing condition. You will now be able to receive care for any illness regardless of when you contracted it. Before 2014 the Secretary of Health and Human Services will make a “high risk pool” insurance program to provide health insurance to people with current pre-existing conditions.
  3. Tax Mandate – If the cost health insurance is less than 8% of your income in your state and you choose not to purchase it you will have to pay an annual tax of $95 or up to 1% of your income, whichever is greater. By 2016 this will increase to $695 or 2.5% of your income. The payment will be a penalty on your tax return. No criminal charges will be presented to you.
  4. Tax Credits for Small Businesses – Any small business which emplyes less than 25 peole will be able to receive a tax credit worth up to 25% of the cost of the healthcare.
  5. Preventative Care – From now on all insurers must provide all preventative care at no additional cost (copays).

If you're looking for more information on the PPACA act, following is a link to the government's website which was setup to answer questions on the PPACA. Healthcare website.

If you have any questions on the health insurance provided to members of Iamindpendent.com please feel free to contact our advisors at 201-567-2434,

Need to Hire New Employees?

As you may have read in the news recently, job growth is faring poorly in America. Companies don't want to commit to hiring permanent employees because of all of the liabilities and regulations that come with hiring them. Companies can hire 1099 or temporary workers instead, but they may actually want a permanent employee or don't want to risk employee reclassification by the IRS.

Employee reclassification occurs when the IRS audits your business and finds that you incorrectly classified your employees as independent consultants. The reason why companies would classify their employees as consultants would be to avoid paying the employer side of taxes and other W-2 rules and regulations. If the IRS becomes suspicious of a company incorrectly classifying it's workers, they will audit the company and apply the 20 question employment test to determine if the consultants are treated as consultants or as employees. If they were in fact treated as employees then the company will face heavy fines and will become responsible for paying all of the taxes owed from previous years. Truthfully, many companies don't know about this difference and don't incorrectly classify their workers maliciously, however this risk dissuades many companies from hiring any employee on a 1099 basis anyways, regardless if they are correctly classified or not. However hiring W-2 employees isn't simple either. Just ask any HR representative how complicated all of the regulations are when hiring or firing an employee. Due to these problems many companies are holding off on hiring any employees regardless of their classification and are choosing to see whether or not the economy improves before assuming any responsibility or liability.

However there is a way for companies to hire staff as either temporary or long term employees without assuming the aforementioned risks and liabilities. There are agencies which will act as the employer of record which will classify the employee as their own W-2 employee. This enables any company to hire an employee as a consultant for as long as they need them. All of the correct tax withholding requirements and other regulations will be handled by the agency so the company doesn't have to worry about an audit or reclassification fines. Furthermore, the employee will be protected by the agency's umbrella of coverage which could be quite attractive depending on the agency.

By hiring employees through an agency companies can mitigate their risk and liabilities effectively. If more companies knew about this option then we may finally see the job market improve in America. If you are interested in learning more about hiring workers through an agency or want to put your 1099 or LLC through an agency contact iamindependent.com, inc. to learn more.

Why Independent Consultants Should Use Linkedin

Following is a link to a great list of reasons why independent consultants should use Linkedin over other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

We especially like the point they made about the professional setting of Linkedin. Essentially all of the people who are on Linkedin use the site for professional purposes making the site an excellent destination for the independent consultant to land new clients and grow their business.

Many people may not be open to hearing about their work on other social media websites because they may use those websites primarily for recreation and catching up with people they already know. It's always better to make a great first impression when the audience is open to receiving your message.

GoToMeeting - Host Your Own Meeting Online

As an independent consultant, keeping up with all of your different clients' needs and demands can be difficult. It can be hard to schedule a conference due to everyone’s hectic work schedules nowadays, and your clients may even be in different countries which can make the phone bills add up. Once you're on the phone sharing materials and ideas can be difficult especially if you're working on something more complicated than a PowerPoint presentation. Running through a balance sheet or describing business forecasts can especially become hectic because you are required to infer information from different sources. Thankfully, GoToMeeting, an easy to use online conferencing tool solved all of our conferencing problems with it’s full suite of features.

GoToMeeting is an invaluable tool for any independent consultant. You start off by inviting your group members to a meeting via email. They go to the site, download the software, input the meeting code, and they're all set to go. GoToMeeting even syncs with your calendar applications reminding you of any upcoming scheduled meetings.

Once you're in the meeting the host has the ability to share his screen with all of the other members in the meeting. There are multiple options of what is visible to the members of the group, such as the ability to hide icons, browser windows, or any other private information. As you can probably already see, this allows you to bring up all of your work and show group members exactly what you are talking about instead of describing it to them over the phone. What we found to be the most useful feature of GoToMeeting was the ability to allow other people involved in the meeting to become the host and share their screen. This allows other people in the meeting to share their ideas or ask questions on specific parts of your presentation.

GoToMeeting is currently running a promotion allowing anyone to try their product for a month for free. Any independent consultant should add GoToMeeting to their tool belt in order to make their presentations more accessible and effective.

Are you misclassified?

Co-employment Risk

Many companies are hiring independent consultants to fill positions instead of hiring permanent workers. Due to the temporary status of the work involved, companies are mistaken that the workers are classified as 1099 workers.

By classifying your workers as independent consultants you are opening up your company for additional scrutiny by both the IRS and state governments. Small details such as where the employee works, what he wears, and how he works can significantly impact his classification.

The following Q&A summarizes the 20-Question test the IRS uses to determine whether or not an employee is classified properly. As you can see many of the determinants are not strictly defined and are open to interpretation. Our unqiue business model eliminates co-employment risk and enables independent consultants to fully comply with all tax regulations by performing all payrolling and invoicing for them.

FAQ - Consultants

Q: What kind of business are you?

A: iamindependent, inc. is a business processing outsourcer. We become your employer of record. Essentially you will be working as an independent contractor, but now you will receive all of the benefits associated with a traditional W-2 employee plus all of the benefits associated with an independent contractor. For example, you will now be reimbursed for IRS approved business expenses instead of waiting for when you file your tax return.

Q: Are you a PEO?

A: No, our business model is similar but different in these three distinct areas.

First, a PEO does not reimburse you for your business expenses

Secondly, PEO’s will go into a business and “take” all of their employees regardless of the salary or job title. However they will not take any 1099’s and those people are usually let go.

Lastly, a PEO works as a co-employer. This does not mitigate the risk of co-employment. The IRS still may come in and audit the firm to determine if employees are properly classified. Look at Vizcaino vs. Microsoft to see how costly this can be for a company.

Q: How can I be eligible for unemployment compensation when my project ends, if I am an independent contractor?

A: iamindependent, inc. is your employer of record and you’re a W-2 employee of iamindependent so you will be entitiled to all of the insurances and benefits as long as you meet the government requirements.

Q: Why should independent contractors invoice more than employees?

A: iamindependent recommends all of our contractors charge an additional 20% to cover the employer side of payroll expenses.

Q: What is the process for signing up for your services?

A: The process is painless and simple. We have you fill out some forms which can be submitted to us over the internet. There is no need for you to travel to us. Once you start working we will only need approved timesheets from you to begin invoicing on your behalf.

Q: Are you a staffing agency?

A: No, we do not find jobs for any of our contractors. You find your own employment. However we might be able to help you find a project. Also we will provide you with guidance when you are negotiating with staffing agencies.

Q: Do I need a new job to join iamindependent?

A: No, you don’t need a new job to sign up with us. Let us contact your current employer to see if they would be willing to enter into a corp. to corp. contract with iamindependent for your services. However you won’t see any benefits until you start receiving income. If you already have a job you can sign up for our services while continuing to work on your project. Again, we do not act as a staffing agency and place you in any jobs.

Q: How do I get paid?

A: We offer direct deposit, wires, or standard checks. Since we do everything internally, we are very flexible when it comes to payment. As long as you have a balance in your account, you can be paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. We even offer deferred compensation which you can even earn interest on. Call iamindependent to speak to one of our associates for more information.

Q: What industries do you operate in?

A: We operate in most industries mainly operating in the IT and business fields. We do not operate in physical labor fields because our insurances do not cover these industries.

Q: What other benefits do you offer?

A: One of our main benefits is the ability to be reimbursed for IRS approved business expenses. This enables our employees to have lower taxable income which usually increases their take home pay. Also when applying for a loan, if you have one employer of record, the banks will look more favorably at you because you have a sole employer of record and how a stable history of employment instead of being self-employed and showing many different projects.

Q: What is the difference between an independent contractor and W-2 employee in eyes of the IRS?

A: Please look at our page “ Are you misclassified? “ based on the 20 question test from IRS determining your employment status.

Q: How much do you charge for your services?

A: Our services cost 4% of your total dollars invoiced. If you invoice $10,000 then our fee is $400. All of our services are included in this fee regardless of the amount invoiced. Please see this page to see a list of all of our services.

Q: I am currently classified as an LLC and not a 1099. Can I still use your services?

A: Yes, you can start using IAI's services without having to dissolve your LLC. Instead of putting the income of your business through your LLC you will instead put the income through iamindependent.com. This will alleviate you of all of your back office liabilities without having to use up your precious time or hire an accountant as you were with the LLC. Your LLC will remain untouched on the side and available to you if you ever decide to return to your previous setup.