Category Archives: Internal Revenue Service

If California says Uber drivers are employees, can the IRS be far behind?

As The New York Times reports,  the California Labor Commissioner has ruled that a driver for Uber is an employee of the company.

Why this matters: The commissioner made the determination using tests very similar to the ones the IRS uses in determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. Employees are potentially entitled to worker’s compensation, unemployment coverage, and a host of other benefits not available to the self-employed.

This case cannot be cited as precedent for other Uber drivers who would like to be treated as employees. But once the taxing authorities get interested in the conditions under which contractors–or are they employees–in the so-called ‘sharing economy’ work, you can bet the Ubers, Lyfts, and other companies who currently boast high prospective market values and few employees are rightly going to be on high alert. It’ll be interesting to see if the sharing economy includes sharing the responsibilities for employment taxes, at-work injuries, and other costs that independent contractors otherwise have to fully shoulder.


Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous…Continue Reading

How tricky will taxes be this year? The Oregonian counts the ways

Identity theft keeping thousands of people from electronically filing. Reconciling health insurance premium credits. Understanding changes in Oregon’s medical expense and political contributions credits. New rules for owners of rental properties and busienss that have any goods or equipment that might be depreciated. Brent Hunsberger of The Oregonian talked with me and several other tax…Continue Reading