Difference between Independent Contractor and Subcontractor


    As businesses increasingly turn to independent contractors and subcontractors to meet their needs, it’s important to understand the differences between each type of worker. While the terms are often used interchangeably, the legal and tax implications of each status are distinct. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between independent contractors and subcontractors.

    Independent Contractors

    Independent contractors are self-employed professionals who provide services to a business or organization. They are typically hired to complete a specific project or task, and are responsible for all aspects of their work, including setting their own hours, providing their own tools and equipment, and paying their own taxes.

    Independent contractors retain a high degree of control over their work, and are not subject to the same level of supervision as employees. They are free to take on other clients and projects, and are not entitled to the same benefits and protections as employees, such as workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance.

    From a legal standpoint, it’s important to establish that an independent contractor is truly self-employed, and not simply misclassified as such by the business or organization. The IRS has established several guidelines for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor, including the degree of control exercised over the worker’s work, the extent to which the worker is integrated into the business, and the nature of the worker`s relationship with the business.


    Subcontractors are workers who are hired by another contractor to perform part of a larger project or job. They are typically subject to more supervision than independent contractors, and their work is part of a larger overall project. Subcontractors may also be responsible for providing their own tools and equipment, but are typically paid by the main contractor, rather than directly by the business or organization.

    From a tax and legal standpoint, the distinction between independent contractors and subcontractors is important. Subcontractors are typically considered employees of the main contractor, and are subject to the same tax and employment laws as other employees. As such, it’s important for businesses and organizations to properly classify subcontractors, and ensure that they are meeting all legal and tax requirements.


    While the terms “independent contractor” and “subcontractor” are often used interchangeably, there are important legal and tax distinctions between the two types of workers. Independent contractors are self-employed professionals who provide services to a business or organization, while subcontractors are hired by a contractor to perform part of a larger project. Properly classifying workers is essential for ensuring compliance with applicable tax and employment laws, and avoiding legal issues down the road.