Category Archives: Classics

Are They An Independent Contractor or an Employee?

Updated: 3/25/2019

1099 is more than a number, and we’re going to talk about why.

First, do you own or manage a dental practice?

If so: 1. Do you have a separate bank account to manage your income? 2. Do you invoice the dentist for your services as an independent contractor? 3. Do you classify dental professionals who come to work in your office as independent contractors?

And second, are you an independent contractor?

If you fall into one of the two categories mentioned above, this blog is for you.

Familiarize yourself with Form 1099


It’s in the best interest of both the business owner and the independent contractor–dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, business assistant and receptionist–to be informed and take ownership of the facts as they relate to the employment relationship when it comes to payments and taxes. Form 1099 is an IRS tax form that is used to report payments to independent contractors, the category in which temp workers fall under.

Correctly using this form continues to be a big issue in the dentistry profession.

To cut costs, many dentists pay hygienists and dental assistants via conditions of the 1099 so they don’t have claim them as employees. For employees, the employers must withhold taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on the wages paid to an employee. If the worker is an independent contractor, employers generally do not have to comply with any of these regulations, which saves the practice time and money.

Because this issue spans across all profession, the IRS developed specific criteria to determine whether or not a person is a true independent contractor. 

The following 20 questions to determine whether you have an independent contractor or an employee working for you (the responses an employer would have for an independent contractor appear in parenthesis following each question).

    1. Are you required to comply with instructions about the details of your job tasks? (No.)
    2. Does the dentist provide you with training specific to his or her practice? (No.)
    3. Are the services you provide integrated into the owners business operation? (No.)
    4. Must the services be rendered by you personally? (No.)
    5. Do you have the capability to hire others to help you perform the services you’re contracted to do? (Yes.)
    6. Is the relationship between you and the business owner a continuing relationship? (No.)
    7. Who sets the hours of work? (You do.)
    8. Are you required to devote your full time to this business? (No.)
    9. Do you perform the work at the place of business of the potential employer? (No.)
    10. Who directs the order or sequence in which you work? (You do.)
    11. Are you required to regularly report your progress to your employer? (No.)
    12. What is the method of payment — hourly, commission or by the job? (A fixed price, a not-to-exceed (NTE), and/or milestone payments are standard for independent contractors.)
    13. Does the client reimburse your business and/or traveling expenses? (No.)
    14. Who furnishes tools and materials used in providing services (You do.)
    15. Do you have a significant investment in facilities used to perform services? (Yes. Key here is “significant.”)
    16. Can you realize both a profit and a loss from your work? (Yes–very important–you must assume risk based on client satisfaction with your work.)
    17. Can you work for a number of dentists at the same time? (Yes.)
    18. Do you make your services available to the general public? (Yes. You should have business cards, stationery, invoices and a business listing in the phone book and/or online.)
    19. Are you subject to dismissal for reasons other than nonperformance of contract specifications? (No.)
    20. Can you terminate your relationship without incurring a liability for failure to complete a job? (No. If you work on a project or milestone basis, you must deliver to receive payment for your efforts.)

What independent contractors should know

While it’s true that 1099s are not required if you are paid less than $600 by the business owner in a year, you should know that $600 is not a magic number and has nothing to do with whether or not you are classified as an independent contractor.

If you are operating as an independent contractor you have to remember you are self-employed and responsible for all tax withholding and payments yourself. Keep on top of these things. Don’t set yourself up for a big surprise and caught at the end of the year with a large tax bill to pay when April 15th rolls around.

For more information on employees vs. independent contractors, visit the IRS website.

DISCLAIMER: This is not intended or offered as legal or professional advice. These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. If you have questions about the status of your staff, please consult with your legal adviser or CPA.

Don’t Tell Employees Why the Company Culture is Great

One of the challenges of the hiring process is determining if a prospective employee is a good fit into their company culture, and then to immerse the employee in that culture when they start. Some organizations are addressing this challenge by starting what’s being called cultural immersion programs. These are programs where the new employee gets a crash course in the cultural values of that company. Some companies have created very innovative culture immersion programs with one notable example being Cirrus Logic. Read on for more details on how Cirrus Logic created a very fun and effective culture camp and advice on the best ways to create a successful company cultural program.

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To Tell or Not To Tell… What would you do?

I consulted with a job seeker over the phone recently. The question she asked was one I have heard many times before. For privacy, I’ll call her Audrey. Audrey will be moving out of state in 12 months, but she is currently interviewing with several dental offices for a full time job where she’s living now. Her question to me is this: Should she tell her potential employer she will be moving, or keep it to herself?

I listened to Audrey, and put myself in her shoes. As she shared, I could hear her talking herself in to thinking its okay to protect herself. I could hear her struggle, with bitterness to her tone. Audrey was placing herself first and disregarding what she knew deep down was the right thing to do. After all, our life experiences influence our decisions. In the past Audrey was shocked when she found herself unemployed. Discharged from a job where she received glowing performance reviews. But when revenue fell off, a business decision was made and the last hired was the first to go. Audrey found herself without a job. In her eyes, employees are replaceable, dispensable. There are no guarantees, and the last hired are generally the first to be let go. Audrey is in survival mode. In her mind, she is doing unto her employer as her employer might do unto her. Put yourself in her Audrey’s shoes, and you’ll understand that she needs a paycheck. Continue reading

Get a Grip and Get Organized

There is nothing worse than reviewing a resume and having a fabulous phone pre-screening interview only to learn during the face to face interview that the candidate is not able to back up what you thought to be true. Often times, job candidates will say they have all their certifications, licenses, CEU’s and letters of recommendation, but these documents are in a box somewhere, and they can’t find the box. Something else we hear a lot is that their computer crashed and they can’t retrieve any of their files.

Here at Dental Temps, we’ve heard it all! But the bottom line is this: if you don’t have at your fingertips documentation to support your resume, get a grip and begin now to secure all the documents and get them in one, easily accessible place. If you are someone who is just beginning your career, I’m so happy you are reading this blog. I want to be the first to help you proactively take steps to establish a system that keeps track of all your professional documents and inspires you to continue using and updating the system throughout your career. Believe me when I say that if you show up for the interview and present a folder with all your supporting documents, you will stand out above other candidates.

Here’s a list of documents to help you get started: Continue reading

How to Handle Politics in the Workplace

Because I’ve only been alive for the last 30 years, I have never experienced a time in which politics was as prevalent as it is now. It seems as if every other conversation or Facebook post or news story is about something going on in United States politics. After experiencing the most historic election in recent history, the country is ablaze with both praise and venom for the current administration. I don’t know about you, but I make it a point to stay as far away from conversations about politics as possible, but I realize that’s really hard to do so right now. 

According to “Office Etiquette: Keep Politics Out” from the Wall Street Journal,” there are appropriate forums to talk about politics, but the workplace is a tricky place to do it well. Article writer Ruth Mantell interviewed Frank Dada , a principal at Winter, Wyman, a Waltham, Mass.-based staffing firm, who said not only are office hours for working, you also never know who’s listening,  “One person said something, and his comment was deemed offensive by someone who was not involved, but was in earshot,” Dada was quoted in the article. “Any time you offend a co-worker, that’s a negative and the consequences can be bad. You never know who you might offend unintentionally, and people have such different viewpoints and very passionate viewpoints about politics.” 

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