24 Seven Panel Experts Share Insights on New IRS Independent Contractor Rules, Liabilities

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24 Seven executives and employment law and tax experts from WolfBlock LLP give an update on liability issues to help industry players understand new IRS rules and their impact on the use of contingent workers.

24 Seven Creative Talent

Our goal is to help clients proactively create a workforce strategy that is compliant with these guidelines, meets their evolving labor needs and gives them access to the best talent in the business while avoiding major liabilities

24 Seven, the premier placement firm for exceptional creative talent in the fashion, marketing, advertising, creative, beauty, retail, home furnishings and entertainment sectors, hosted a standing-room only Independent Contractor and Contingent Workforce symposium last week at the W Hotel.  24 Seven executives and employment law and tax experts from WolfBlock LLP gave attendees an update on liability issues in an effort to help industry players understand new IRS rules and their impact on the use of contingent workers.

The half-day meeting covered worker classifications, which is a central concern to a growing number of industry employers that use independent contractors and contingent workers as a workforce strategy in a tightening economy. New legislation is in motion that more clearly defines worker classifications and holds employers to applicable payroll taxes and/or the liability of fines and in some cases criminal penalties.

According to Stuart Kagel, Chief Operating Officer of 24 Seven, recent high profile legal decisions and fines levied against Microsoft and Federal Express to the tune of $415 million illustrate the serious penalties for worker misclassifications and unpaid benefits.  "Employers nationwide rely on 3.5 million independent contractors and 5.7 million contingent workers to complete their workforce strategy.  Hiring managers at these companies are often challenged to keep up with state and federal shifts in IRS standards," said Kagel.

Of particular risk for employers, says Kagel, are the benefits and tax implications associated with "common-law workers" that work side by side with employees, use office space and supplies, and whose livelihood is gained from a sole employer. Enactment of new laws will make employers increasingly vulnerable to the issue.

Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington have already enacted legislation around worker classifications, nine more states (including New York where many industry brands are headquartered) have pending measures. At the federal level, Senate bill S.2044 "Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act of 2007" and two bills by the House of Representatives are under consideration.

Panelists recommended that employers use third-party employment agencies that handle contractor taxes and benefits as one solution to protect their companies from the risks and liabilities associated with misclassifying employees.

Events of this kind are part of 24 Seven's ongoing mission to serve as a strategic workforce partner to clients, according to Kagel. "Our goal is to help clients proactively create a workforce strategy that is compliant with these guidelines, meets their evolving labor needs and gives them access to the best talent in the business while avoiding major liabilities," says Kagel.

About 24 Seven
Founded in 2000, 24 Seven is an eight year market leader in the fashion, marketing, advertising, creative, beauty, retail, home furnishings and entertainment industries.  24 Seven has established a reputation for placing exceptional creative talent, from entry level all the way to executive level.  Additionally 24 Seven was certified as a Women's Business Enterprise by the WBENC (Women's Business Enterprise National Council) and was honored to receive the prestigious Ernst & Young 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Business Services category in the Metropolitan New York area.  For more information about the company, go to http://www.24seveninc.com.

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Mary Mancera
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