I agree with my colleagues, that if a person is working under your license, he or she should be your employee. However, there actually is a test that the IRS uses to determine whether the person is even eligible to be an independent contractor. Many states use a very similar form of questions for the determination of whether you should have classified the person as an employee for purposes of workers compensation (I am an Ohio lawyer, Ohio "taxes" for workers comp., rather than permitting private insurance) and other employment related taxes. Unfortunately, this isn't definitive. There are still lawsuits to determine what the correct answers to the questions should have been, because they aren't always clear. Even worse, the form that you will likely get them to sign saying that they are a 1099 person doesn't carry much weight and if they are hurt or the IRS comes after them for failing to pay taxes, including FICA, you are the one that they are going to look at for payment.
Hiring an individual as an independent contractor is dangerous. If they really are a business, pay their own taxes, have their own workers comp account, etc., you are safer. Another issue is workers comp itself. If they are hurt on your job, they will file a workers comp claim against you. Now YOU have to prove that they weren't an employee. If it is determined that they SHOULD have been an employee, you will become a non-complying employer and be responsible for their awards. Alternatively, if they really aren't employees, you are not protected by the workers comp laws and they can sue you for negligence in their injuries.
If you are going to hire them as independent contractors, be sure that you do it the way you would, hopefully, hire any subcontractor, with a contract, requiring them to act as a business, having workers comp coverage, liability insurance and everything else that a real business would.
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My colleague is correct. If you don't control their time or how they do the job, then they are sub-contractors to you. In California, a plumbing sub must have the appropriate CSLB license. Are you going to sign off on their work for LA County plumbing inspections? If so, then the workers are your employees. And what about the owner, are you going leave him/her open for a lien? It is really in your best interest not to try to cut this corner. If you are unsure, the penalties are sufficient that its worthwhile for you to pay for an attorney.
There really is no such thing as an independent contractor for construction purposes. Either they are your employees, or they are subcontractors. If they do not have a license, they cannot legally perform construction work except as an employee of a licensed contractor.
You will be aiding and abetting an unlicensed contractor by doing this which could subject your license to discipline by the CSLB.
If you do this and do not have workers compensation insurance, then your license is automatically suspended as of the first moment these workers show up on the job. That could result in discipline by the CSLB, and if the owner finds out, they would not have to pay you for that work and could sue for return of any amounts they did pay.