Small businesses face a unique set of challenges in the current economy.

The Senate voted to repeal the unpopular 1099 tax reporting requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act Tuesday, April 5th. This is the first piece of legislation that officially repeals part of President Obama’s widely-debated health-care reform movement.

Small business owners have expressed their frustration at the provision, which would require them beginning in 2012 to report to the IRS all payments of more than $600 on 1099 forms—work that many small companies just don’t have the time or manpower to do. According to the Washington Post, The bill would have generated an additional $22 billion in tax payments over the next ten years. In addition, the major provisions of the Health Care Act include:

1. Tax Credits for small business
2. Help for Seniors with the cost of Drugs in the Doughnut Hole
3. Elimination of Pre-existing conditions exclusions for children
4. A High Risk pool for anyone turned down due to Pre-Existing Conditions
5. Re-Insurance for early retirees (55 to 64)
6. Prohibition on Rescission of insurance policies if you get really sick
7. No More Lifetime Limits on insurance policies
8. Unmarried Children can stay on their parent plan (up to 26th birthday)

Despite the Health Care Act, there are numerous tax implications for employee’s and independent contractors. For small businesses seeking to make sense of the new legislation, regardless of possible appeals, the classification of their employees is paramount. Specifically, what makes someone an employee and not just an independent contractor? The answer is often less than simple. Many business owners fail to make the distinction, thus opening them up to potential lawsuits and tax complications.

The best way to avoid penalties is to know the law. Employee classification holds enormous potential for lawsuits, mainly because most employers really don’t understand the employee distinctions. The IRS published a great deal of information regarding this classification. The information can be found HERE.

Who is considered an independent contractor? The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax. Who is considered an employee? Under common-law rules, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you can control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even when you give the employee freedom of action. What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.

Only time will dictate the future changes and appeals to the Health Care Act. Small business owners should consider all of their employees and classify them into the correct category in order to avoid potential lawsuits and tax complications.