Information for Independent Contractors
An independent contractor is someone who maintains an independent business and is available for hire to provide service to the public. Generally, a person cannot become an independent contractor just because he or she wants to be or because an employer prefers them to be. It is not enough that the employee and the employer agree. If a person only works for one business and is directed and controlled by that business, the person probably is an employee and not an independent contractor.
Independent contractors must file a Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor (DWC-11-IC) form in accordance with RI General Law, § 28-29-17.1. with the RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT).
Independent Contractor Forms:
1. Designation of Status as an Independent Contractor Online Form | Download pdf
This form clarifies the relationship between a contractor and the business hiring the contractor. Submitting this form means that the contractor is not an employee of the hiring business for workers' compensation purposes. The contractor is responsible for his own workers' compensation insurance coverage. The hiring business is not responsible to provide workers' compensation coverage for the independent contractor.
2. Notice of Withdrawal of Designation of Independent Contractor Online Form | Download pdf
This form ends the relationship between a contractor and the hiring business. Submitting this form means that the contractor is no longer independent of the hiring business named on this form. If the contractor continues to work for this business, the business would be responsible to provide workers' compensation coverage for the contractor.
Once completed, PDF Forms can be faxed to (401) 462-8128 or mailed to the RI Department of Labor and Training, P.O. Box 20190, Cranston, RI 02920-0942.
Frequently Asked Questions:
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1. What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?
Many factors are considered when determining whether someone is an employee or independent contractor. Some of those factors are: Independent contractors set their own hours, use their own tools, work when and for whom they choose, and are responsible for paying their own State and Federal withholdings.
2. What is the difference between a sole proprietor and an independent contractor?
Many circumstances contribute to this determination, and sometimes there isn't a difference. A sole proprietor can act as an independent contractor and when they do, they should file the DWC-11-IC form. If a controversy arises, a determination may be made by the Workers' Compensation Court.
3. As an independent contractor, am I entitled to collect workers' compensation benefits if I am injured?
No, you are exempt from the RI Workers' Compensation Act and are not eligible to collect benefits. For purposes of workers' compensation, domestic employees, independent contractors, sole proprietors and partners are exempt. For further information on exemptions and coverage requirements contact the Education Unit at (401) 462-8100 or DLT.WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov
4. As an independent contractor I occasionally hire employees; should I obtain workers' compensation insurance coverage?
Yes, all RI employers with one or more employees are required to obtain workers' compensation insurance. If you hire an independent contractor, they should provide you with either proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage or a copy of a DWC-11-IC form, which has been filed with the Department of Labor and Training.
5. Can you give me an example of who may be required to file a DWC-11-IC form?
If a homeowner hires an independent contractor such as a landscaper, the landscaper does not need to have a form on file because the homeowner is not in the business of landscaping. However, if you, as an independent contractor hire the landscaper as part of your business, you should be sure that the landscaper has a DWC-11-IC form on file with DLT, which will remain in effect, unless withdrawn, for every time that particular independent contractor works for you. Also, should that landscaper hire independent contractors to work for him/her, forms should be completed for each independent contractor hired.
6. When do I file a Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor?
You should file a form whenever you are contracted to work for a hiring entity. A separate form should be on file for each hiring entity you work for.
7. How do I file a Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor form?
There are 2 ways; securely online or download a pdf form, complete it and mail or fax it back to the RI Department of Labor & Training, P.O. Box 20190, Cranston, RI 02920-0942.
The original form will be kept by the Department. The independent contractor and hiring entity will receive by mail a "Notice of Designation" as evidence of the filing. The notice will contain the names of the independent contractor, the hiring entity, and the date the form was received by the Department
There is no fee
to fill this form, or the withdrawal form.
The form becomes effective when received and date-stamped by the Department. Incomplete forms will be returned for corrections.
8. How long does this form remain in effect?
The DWC-11-IC will remain in effect as long as, and any time you work for the named hiring entity. For example, if you are generally hired to work for three different hiring entities, as long as you have a form on file for each, you do not have to file another form for every new job with those entities. Only the filing of a Notice of Withdrawal of Designation as Independent Contractor form (DWC-11-ICR) for each would rescind your independent contractor status.
9. What if the employer misrepresents an employee as an independent contractor to avoid obtaining workers' compensation insurance or to decrease their premium? What if my employer or the person hiring me to work requires that I sign a DWC-11-IC?
If an employer misrepresents the employee as an independent contractor, the employer may be subject to criminal prosecution. Visit www.misclassification.ri.gov for more information.
You may be asked to sign a form, but an employer that forces or coerces an employee to sign the Notice may be subject to criminal prosecution. If you feel that you have been forced or coerced, report this to the Workers' Compensation Fraud Prevention Unit at (401)462-8100.
10. I am still unclear as to whether I am an independent contractor or not, how do I find out?
Call the RI Division of Taxation at (401) 574-8941 or the US Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.
If calling the IRS, ask for form #SS-8, which is the Determination of Employee Work Status Form. Should you be determined to be an employee, the hiring entity may be required to obtain workers' compensation coverage.