Employee or independent contractor?

 Prue v. M.N.R., 2011 TCC 9, (January 10, 2011), http://decision.tcc-cci.gc.ca/en/2011/2011tcc9/2011tcc9.html

This appeal brought before the Tax Court of Canada focussed on whether an individual was an employee or an independent contractor.  I haven’t read it line by line to come up with a detailed analysis but here is what I gleaned from the document.

1.  Document the  nature of the relationship – put it in writing, sign it.  Do the parties involved  want this to be an employee/employer relationship or that of an independent contractor.

2.  Individuals may find the idea of being an independent contractor appealing in that as a business venture they can claim expenses otherwise denied to employees.  However,  if, at some point in the future, the services of the contractor are no longer needed they might suddenly have a chance of heart.  Now they want to be an employee so they can claim Employment Insurance benefits.  To that end they can apply to the Rulings Officer at a Tax Services Office operated by Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) on the insurability of their employment.    This opens a whole can of worms for the employer with CRA – out of which very little of any good can result!

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