W-2 or 1099?

Know the difference

Should a worker be classified as an independent contractor (IC) who receives a W-2 or a 1099? It isn’t always clear.

With years of experience to draw from, TalentWave can help you make difficult contractor classification decisions and ensure you engage flexible workers safely.


In order to properly classify workers, TalentWave examines three categories of control:

  • Relationship of the parties
  • Behavioral control
  • Financial control

Contractor (W-2)

A worker who receives a W-2 generally works defined hours at a specific location for one company. They may have to follow routine protocols and generally use company equipment to get their job done.

These workers are generally paid a regular wage, benefits and have taxes deducted from their paychecks. Their jobs are integral to a company’s core business.

Contractor (1099)

Independent contractors who receive 1099s usually work for themselves, perform their jobs in flexible work environments and typically use their own equipment. They are engaged as subject matter experts and have knowledge that can benefit short-term projects.

This type of contractor routinely works for more than one client, preferring to follow their interests rather than be tied to one type of work. They are usually paid when project milestones are reached.

Turn to TalentWave

The risks for misclassifying workers can be steep: distraction of management teams, brand reputation damage, large fines and possibly criminal charges. What’s more, misclassification can be applied retroactively, catching you by surprise and leading to larger issues.

Decrease uncertainty around IC compliance. Let TalentWave help you with initial vetting, validation and determination of IC status.


Flexible Workers
TalentWave deeply values your contribution to the workforce. You enjoy the flexibility that comes with being a part of the gig economy and employers appreciate your unique expertise and skills. TalentWave makes the contracting process clearer and easier for our client companies to safely engage with awesome talent like you! Our client services team and our technology platforms help create a streamlined path to complete onboarding while assisting you every step of the way.