Are Independent Contractors Covered Under District Of Columbia Unemployment Insurance Law?

An independent contractor working as an individual is not subject to coverage under the DC unemployment insurance law. However, if an individual performing work for you is an employee rather than an independent contractor, you are liable to pay unemployment taxes on the employee's wages. The ordinary rules of common law relative to "master and servant" apply in defining employers and employees. DOES determines who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. Considerations include:
  • who has the right to supervise, regarding the means by which the intermediate work should be done;
  • what is the method of compensation;
  • is the individual providing service engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession or business?
If you employ an individual in the District of Columbia without registering with DOES and you are subsequently determined to be a liable employer, you will be responsible for all back taxes, plus interest and penalty, since you began paying wages in DC.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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