Tips Concerning Real Estate (and Other Professions) Assistants
In the real estate world, brokers and agents work as independent contractors rather than employees. This week, I would like to talk a little bit about that topic as I see it as a topic that many business professionals like myself struggle with. The Internal Revenue Service says that the general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result. I know that sounds a whole lot like mumbo jumbo; however, in short what it means is that as a business person, you may assign a job to another individual for the completion of a specific project. You may also place a deadline on when that project is to be completed and specify a dollar amount that you will pay for that project as a whole; however, to assign the project to another individual, specify when they have to start and stop the work day, an hourly rate, and what tools they have to use to accomplish the project’s end result make you an employer and them an employee. If they are an employee, then you as a business person are liable for certain taxes associated with the employer/employee relationship. Now obviously, our in office secretaries, receptionists, etc., can hardly be construed as independent contractors and must, by legal standard be considered employees.
As a resolution to this dilemma I would offer a very viable option. If you are a small business person, be it in the real estate profession or any other profession and find that you are limited in both office space and funds and need an assistant to do administrative type work but don’t want to hire someone full time at an hourly rate as an employee, you might consider using a virtual assistant. Virtual Assistants are independent contractors just like us; however, the work from their home office which may not be physically located even in the same time zone as you. In this fast paced world we live and work in, telecommuting and virtual teams are a great concept both from the aspects of efficiency and finances. You can find virtual assistants by googling the topic on the web or searching for a Virtual Assistant organization such as International Virtual Assistants Association at www.IVAA.org.
Whichever direction you elect to go, make sure that you are following the proper tax guidelines set forth by the Internal Revenue Service.