March 10, 2017

Paying Health Insurance Premiums for an Independent Contractor

Question:

A church treats it's missionary as a Form 1099-MISC independent contractor. The church is considering directly paying health insurance premiums on the missionary's behalf.  If he were an employee these payments would be considered a fringe benefit and be excluded from his income. However, because he is an independent contractor, is the church required to include the amount paid somewhere on his Form 1099-MISC. IRS publications seem to only be referring to employees in the exclusion sections. How and where would the church report these payments?


Answer:


According to IRS Publication 15-B, "A fringe benefit is a form of pay for the performance of services. ... A person who performs services for you doesn't have to be your employee. A person may perform services for you as an independent contractor, partner, or director."

But in order to exclude payments for health insurance from income, the payments must be made to an employee (IRS Pub. 15-B).

If an independent contractor is paid fringe benefits, the fringe benefits must be reported on Form 1099-MISC. 


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