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Can I amend my taxes in order to claim unemployment from a job incorrectly categorized as an independent contractor?

Portland, OR |

I fell into a job that wasn't expected to, but turned out to be, a full time job. Long story short, I was kind of strong armed into a lot of things related to this job I wasn't comfortable with- one being told I was an "independent contractor." I was absolutely NOT an independent contractor, and now I've been laid off/fired. I was honestly suspicious of this categorization and after looking into it a bit I brought it up, but this employer was more than a little intimidating and I just didn't want to push the issue. Can I somehow change my employment status and claim unemployment? I'm afraid I will get in trouble for not filing my taxes correctly but I have heard I might be able to amend my taxes and clam the income properly- which would be preferable regardless of unemployment benefits.

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Best Answer

You want to amend to claim the withholding that the employer didn't withhold? IRS wants its tax. You may or may not be an independent contractor. Turning them in may cause IRS to investigate them, but it won't generate cash from non-withheld funds.

You would have to have IRS go against them an win, and then there would be no guarantee for unemployment as the unemployment insurance/tax wasn't paid either. That is the state's prerogative. Have Oregon labor investigate too. You have a long road to establish and I'm betting that the state may not grant you until you prove it and until they are able to collect it from the employer.

It sounds like a long and interesting journey.

Contact local state employment counsel and a tax attorney immediately.

Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.


Whether you were an independant contractor is a matter of law. There is a complex test for the employment department. (for wages and for taxes, etc.) Whether you fit in that defintion is something for the employment department to decide.

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This is not an income tax question but, rather, a question of whether you were or were not an independent contractor and whether your employer should or should not have been paying unemployment taxes.

I think you can make a claim, if in fact you were an employee, and it may or may not lead to tax issues being raised. However, I think it is certain that if the tax issue is raised, your employer has much more to worry about than do you.

This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship and obviously is not confidential. You should contact an attorney in your area who can review with you all of the relevant facts and give you specific legal advice.

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