Employee Contractor

Should I Hire An Employee Or A Contractor?

It may appear that working as a contractor is less expensive and more convenient due to PAYG Withholding, Superannuation, and Annual Leave; however, this can be a very difficult area in which there is not necessarily a proper solution. Although it may appear that working as a contractor is less expensive and more convenient, it is important to keep in mind that working as a contractor is not always the best option. It is crucial to remember that working as a contractor is not always the ideal option, despite the fact that it could look like working as a contractor is less expensive and more convenient than other options.

At first sight, it may appear that working as a contractor is less expensive and more convenient due to PAYG Withholding, Superannuation, and Annual Leave; nevertheless, the benefits of working as a contractor are only obvious when viewed in isolation from one another. It might appear that working as a contractor is less expensive and more convenient due to PAYG Withholding, Superannuation, and Annual Leave, but the employee is the one who actually pays for these benefits. Working as a contractor might give the impression that it is less expensive and more convenient. Working as a contractor might convey the impression that doing so is less expensive and more convenient than doing the same task for an employer.

The Key Distinctions Between a Contractor and an Employee

PAYG Withholding

You should not deduct taxes from the amounts that you pay to a contractor since you are not allowed to do so, and you should also refrain from doing so. This is because the law, the accounting standards, or the tax rules all declare that you are not compelled to do what you are proposing. Therefore, it is highly suggested that you refrain from doing so in any case (unless you are in the extremely unusual circumstance of having a PAYG Voluntary Agreement). On the other hand, if you pay an employee based on their earnings, you are obligated to deduct taxes from the payment that you provide to that individual.

This obligation applies only if you pay the employee based on their earnings. Whether or not you choose to pay an employee based on their wages, you are still obligated to fulfil this commitment. This obligation will not be satisfied until the worker in question is paid a wage that is commensurate to the earnings brought in by the business they work for. This duty does not come into effect until the worker in issue receives a wage proportionate to the amount of money they bring in each month.

Superannuation Guarantee

Even though it is not necessarily mandatory for some contractors to make payments towards the Superannuation Guarantee, we have observed situations of firm owners paying such contributions on behalf of contractors. This is the true even if some contractors are exempt from the obligation to do so. This is the case regardless of whether or not it is required for such contractors to do so at all times. The truth that this is the situation remains unchanged despite the fact that some contributions towards the Superannuation Guarantee are not always required to be made. Despite the fact that such payments aren’t frequently needed to be paid, the situation is still the same.

This is the case regardless of the fact that it. This is the case despite the fact that acting in this manner is not always required in every scenario. In any event, this is the situation. In spite of this, it is nevertheless strongly recommended that you do so. It is impossible to know the answer to this issue with full confidence; nonetheless, it is highly conceivable that this aspect will be considered when determining whether someone should be considered an independent contractor or an employee.

Fringe Benefits Tax

Customers could be required to pay the fringe benefits tax, which is more commonly referred to as the FBT. The fringe benefit tax, sometimes known as the FBT, is a tax that is levied on employee perks that are not paid out in cash. Customers run the risk of being held responsible for this tax. On the other hand, they have no reason to be concerned about it in any way, shape, or form because it has nothing to do with independent contractors in any way, shape, or form. In addition to that, it appeared that none of the other people cared about it in any manner.

Additionally, the concessional FBT law that includes living-away-from-home allowances and pay sacrifice is not applicable to contractor engagements. This is because the regulation does not apply to engagements with independent contractors. Due to the fact that interactions with contractors are not regarded as employment, this is the situation. Dealings with independent contractors are exempt from these regulations since they are considered to be business transactions. Interactions with independent contractors are exempt from these limitations since there is no requirement to take them into consideration during those exchanges. In point of fact, this is a spot-on analysis of the circumstance in its present state as it stands right now. In point of fact, this is a completely spot-on appraisal of the situation in its current condition as it stands right now in its current state as it stands right now.

Workplace Entitlements

Contractors do not have the right to annual leave or sick leave, nor are they eligible for a variety of other employee benefits, such as the provisions of the Fair Work Act that deal with redundancy settlements. Additionally, contractors are not eligible for a variety of other employee benefits, such as the right to participate in collective bargaining. In addition, independent contractors do not qualify for a range of additional employee benefits, including the privilege of taking part in collective bargaining. Additionally, independent contractors do not qualify for a variety of extra employee benefits, including the right to participate in collective bargaining, and this is one of the perks that is excluded from their purview.

In addition, unlike regular employees, independent contractors do not have the right to join in collective bargaining with other workers at the same company. Even though the illness would normally make them eligible for such benefits, independent contractors do not have the right to paid leave in the event that a medical condition renders them unable to work. This is the case even if the illness would qualify them for such benefits. Even if the sickness renders them unable of working, this remains the true even under such circumstances.

Workers Compensation

Suppose an employer does not make a rateable payment to an independent contractor. In that case, the company is often not required to provide insurance coverage for the independent contractor as part of their insurance plan. This is because the independent contractor is not considered an employee of the business. Because of this, the independent contractor is not deemed to be an employee of the company. As a consequence of this fact, the corporation does not consider the independent contractor to be an employee of the business. The situation in the vast majority of states is somewhat comparable to this one.

This is the case regardless of whether or not the company being rated really uses the independent contractor in question for the requirements of their business. By adhering to this pattern, it will be easy to determine the outcomes of the great majority of the many possible scenarios. It is conceivable that any extra criteria relevant to the workplace’s health and safety will not be accepted. This is something that must be taken into consideration. This is one of the alternatives that may occur. This is one of the many outcomes that might occur as a direct result of the current situation.

Payroll Tax

Despite the fact that compensation given to workers will typically be required by law to be taxed as part of their salary, there is a possibility that some amounts paid to contractors won’t be subject to payroll tax. This is despite the fact that there is a possibility that some amounts paid to contractors won’t be subject to payroll tax. On the other hand, it’s possible that some of the sums won’t be subject to the payroll tax at all. This is the case even if there is a possibility that some of the amounts given to contractors won’t be subject to payroll tax; yet, this is still the case anyway.

On the other hand, it’s possible that some of the sums won’t be subject to the payroll tax at all. This is something that’s quite likely to happen. It is necessary to do out research on this matter. This is the case even though there is a possibility that some of the amounts provided to contractors won’t be subject to payroll tax; however, this is still the case regardless of whether or not there is a likelihood that this won’t be the case. This is the case even though there is a chance that some of the amounts provided to contractors won’t be subject to payroll tax.

How Do I Tell An Employee From A Contractor?

While in many cases it will be clear cut, edge cases will present themselves as the decision relies on six tests which are derived from common law cases and set out in ATO taxation ruling TR 2005/16 and superannuation guarantee ruling SGR 2005/1.

The first thing the ATO will do in the event of an audit is to use their Employee/contractor decision tool and apply it to workers in the business. Ideally, a client would use this tool regularly in high-risk industries (IT, Construction, Cleaning, Hairdressing) and keep it on file.

However, in some cases, the tool can provide irregular results and, in our view, has a slight bias towards classifying workers as employees.

This is as a result of the fact that it does not evaluate two of the six tests:  

  • Factor 1 is the degree of control, which is described as “the most significant factor to be examined” in paragraph 37 of SGR 2005/1, and 
  • The second factor that should be taken into consideration is whether or not the employee is self-employed and works for their own company or whether or not the employee is involved in the day-to-day operations of the business that the employer owns and operates. Both of these factors are important to take into account. You should have no trouble gaining access to the SGR 2005/1 document, which contains both of these examinations and lists their locations. ( According to paragraph 39 of SGR 2005/1, which notes that the High Court stated that “the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is rooted fundamentally in the difference between a person who serves his employer in his, the employer’s business, and a person who carries on a trade or business of his own”.

The distinction between an employee and a contractor will be based on these six factors, which are as follows:

The 6 FactorsEmployeeContractor
Control over work performedEmployer controls the employee & work is performed how they are instructedContractor performs the contract regardless of how the employer thinks it should be done
Expectation of WorkAn employee will perform tasks in their employment contract as long as they are employedA contractor performs one task, then a new contract must be negotiated
Payment is based on?Hourly rates, yearly salary or commissionCompletion of job
Risk InvolvedAn employee takes on no risk and, as such, does not require “employee insurance”A contractor bears the risk involved with work performed (both to fix and for public liability) and is required to be insured
Can They Delegate?An employee cannot subcontract a job outA contractor can subcontract a job unless their contract specifically forbids it
Tools & Equipment RequiredUnless agreed otherwise, an employer will provide all toolsA contractor provides everything required as part of their services

What Happens If I Am Wrong?

The passage into law of the Black Economy Taskforce Measures No.2 Act 2018 has brought new rules which substantially change the outcome of incorrectly classifying an employee as a contractor.

Withholding was applied to the payment, and the payer was required to withhold an amount from the payment but did not withhold an amount OR did not notify the ATO when required to do so; beginning on the first day of July in the year 2019, a deduction will no longer be permitted in relation to the following payments if withholding was applied to the payment, and the payer was required to withhold an amount from the payment but did not withhold an amount OR did not notify the ATO when required to do so:

  • for the delivery of services, with the exception of the provision of things and the supply of real property; 
  • for the payment of an employee’s salary, compensation, commissions, bonuses, or allowances; 
  • for the payment of fees given to directors of the business; (ABN).

Only in situations in which no notification has been sent to the ATO, as well as situations in which no amount has been taken at all from the payment that is subject to withholding (including as a result of harmless errors), would deductions be disallowed. In no other scenario are deductions considered invalid than this one, though. Claims for deductions are also rejected where there has been no notification given to the ATO in those situations when it should have been submitted. It is not feasible to have a deduction that has already been taken out of a paycheck, an allowance, or any other source of income disallowed only due to the fact that the amount that was taken out was calculated incorrectly. This is due to the fact that receiving a salary is regarded to be a separate source of revenue.

In conclusion, a deduction is allowed so long as an amount is withheld (even if it is an inaccurate figure) and a notification is given to the ATO. This is the case even if the amount withheld is incorrect. 

  • a worker quotes an ABN, and no amounts have been withheld from the payments because the employer reasonably believes that they are a contractor; or 
  • the payer voluntarily notifies the ATO of its mistake in the approved form (such as by amending an Activity Statement) before the ATO begins an audit or other compliance activity. In the first case, an ABN is quoted by a worker, and in the second case, no amounts are withheld from the payments because the employer reasonably believes that the worker is a A deduction will not be disallowed for either of these possible scenarios.

Even if there is an exemption for not withholding taxes from payments made to contractors, it is still the payer’s responsibility to demonstrate that their view that the recipient was a contractor was “reasonable.” This might prove to be challenging, particularly in cases where the ATO’s Employee/contractor judgement tool concluded that the worker was a “employee.”

Another aspect of this new rule that bears importance when paying independent contractors is ensuring that ABNs have been appropriately cited; failing to do so may result in a disallowed deduction. According to the ATO’s website, the organization’s current attitude is as follows: “in general, you do not need to verify to see if the ABN quoted to you by a supplier is correct. You are free to agree with it if you think it makes sense. However, the new rule provides no remedy or exception even if an ABN “seems fair.” In the near future, and until there is clarity to the contrary, it would be wise to check the validity of all ABNs using software or on ABN Lookup. This would be the case even if there is no indication that this is necessary.

On a more macro basis, now that this new law has been approved and put into place, clients should examine their payroll systems and make sure that the proper amounts are being taken from any essential payments.

Please call us at the number (03) 8568 3606 if you are seeking direction or considering whether or not it is time for you to switch accountants. Bookkept is well prepared to support your company since its employees have more than 10 years of combined experience dealing with a wide variety of customers. In addition, we offer bookkeeping & tax services and can help you in both payroll and your contractor worries.

Scroll to Top

Learn how we've helped businesses just like yours