26 CFR 31.3121(d)-1 - Who are employees.

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§ 31.3121(d)-1 Who are employees.
(a) In general.
(1) Whether an individual is an employee with respect to services performed after 1954 is determined in accordance with section 3121(d) and (o) and section 3506. This section of the regulations applies with respect only to services performed after 1954. Whether an individual is an employee with respect to services performed after 1936 and before 1940 shall be determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of law and of 26 CFR (1939) Part 401 (Regulations 91). Whether an individual is an employee with respect to services performed after 1939 and before 1951 shall be determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of law and of 26 CFR (1939) Part 402 (Regulations 106). Whether an individual is an employee with respect to services performed after 1950 and before 1955 shall be determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of law and of 26 CFR (1939) Part 408 (Regulations 128).
(2) Section 3121(d) contains three separate and independent tests for determining who are employees. Paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section relate to the respective tests. Paragraph (b) relates to the test for determining whether an officer of a corporation is an employee of the corporation. Paragraph (c) relates to the test for determining whether an individual is an employee under the usual common law rules. Paragraph (d) relates to the test for determining which individuals in certain occupational groups who are not employees under the usual common law rules are included as employees. If an individual is an employee under any one of the tests, he is to be considered an employee for purposes of the regulations in this subpart whether or not he is an employee under any of the other tests.
(3) If the relationship of employer and employee exists, the designation or description of the relationship by the parties as anything other than that of employer and employee is immaterial. Thus, if such relationship exists, it is of no consequence that the employee is designated as a partner, coadventurer, agent, independent contractor, or the like.
(4) All classes or grades of employees are included within the relationship of employer and employee. Thus, superintendents, managers, and other supervisory personnel are employees.
(5) Although an individual may be an employee under this section, his services may be of such a nature, or performed under such circumstances, as not to constitute employment (see § 31.3121(b)-3).
(b) Corporate officers. Generally, an officer of a corporation is an employee of the corporation. However, an officer of a corporation who as such does not perform any services or performs only minor services and who neither receives nor is entitled to receive, directly or indirectly, any remuneration is considered not to be an employee of the corporation. A director of a corporation in his capacity as such is not an employee of the corporation.
(c) Common law employees.
(1) Every individual is an employee if under the usual common law rules the relationship between him and the person for whom he performs services is the legal relationship of employer and employee.
(2) Generally such relationship exists when the person for whom services are performed has the right to control and direct the individual who performs the services, not only as to the result to be accomplished by the work but also as to the details and means by which that result is accomplished. That is, an employee is subject to the will and control of the employer not only as to what shall be done but how it shall be done. In this connection, it is not necessary that the employer actually direct or control the manner in which the services are performed; it is sufficient if he has the right to do so. The right to discharge is also an important factor indicating that the person possessing that right is an employer. Other factors characteristic of an employer, but not necessarily present in every case, are the furnishing of tools and the furnishing of a place to work, to the individual who performs the services. In general, if an individual is subject to the control or direction of another merely as to the result to be accomplished by the work and not as to the means and methods for accomplishing the result, he is an independent contractor. An individual performing services as an independent contractor is not as to such services an employee under the usual common law rules. Individuals such as physicians, lawyers, dentists, veterinarians, construction contractors, public stenographers, and auctioneers, engaged in the pursuit of an independent trade, business, or profession, in which they offer their services to the public, are independent contractors and not employees.
(3) Whether the relationship of employer and employee exists under the usual common law rules will in doubtful cases be determined upon an examination of the particular facts of each case.
(d) Special classes of employees.
(1) In addition to individuals who are employees under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, other individuals are employees if they perform services for remuneration under certain prescribed circumstances in the following occupational groups:
(i) As an agent-driver or commission-driver engaged in distributing meat products, vegetable products, fruit products, bakery products, beverages (other than milk), or laundry or dry-cleaning services for his principal;
(ii) As a full-time life insurance salesman;
(iii) As a home worker performing work, according to specifications furnished by the person for whom the services are performed, on materials or goods furnished by such person which are required to be returned to such person or a person designated by him; or
(iv) As a traveling or city salesman, other than as an agent-driver or commission-driver, engaged upon a full-time basis in the solicitation on behalf of, and the transmission to, his principal (except for side-line sales activities on behalf of some other person) of orders from wholesalers, retailers, contractors, or operators of hotels, restaurants, or other similar establishments for merchandise for resale or supplies for use in their business operations.
(2) In order for an individual to be an employee under this paragraph, the individual must perform services in an occupation falling within one of the enumerated groups. If the individual does not perform services in one of the designated occupational groups, he is not an employee under this paragraph. An individual who is not an employee under this paragraph may nevertheless be an employee under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section. The language used to designate the respective occupational groups relates to fields of endeavor in which particular designations are not necessarily in universal use with respect to the same service. The designations are addressed to the actual services without regard to any technical or colloquial labels which may be attached to such services. Thus, a determination whether services fall within one of the designated occupational groups depends upon the facts of the particular situation.
(3) The factual situations set forth below are illustrative of some of the individuals falling within each of the above enumerated occupational groups. The illustrative factual situations are as follows:
(i) Agent-driver or commission-driver. This occupational group includes agent-drivers or commission-drivers who are engaged in distributing meat or meat products, vegetables or vegetable products, fruit or fruit products, bakery products, beverages (other than milk), or laundry or dry-cleaning services for their principals. An agent-driver or commission-driver includes an individual who operates his own truck or the truck of the person for whom he performs services, serves customers designated by such person as well as those solicited on his own, and whose compensation is a commission on his sales or the difference between the price he charges his customers and the price he pays to such person for the product or service.
(ii) Full-time life insurance salesman. An individual whose entire or principal business activity is devoted to the solicitation of life insurance or annuity contracts, or both, primarily for one life insurance company is a full-time life insurance salesman. Such a salesman ordinarily uses the office space provided by the company or its general agent, and stenographic assistance, telephone facilities, forms, rate books, and advertising materials are usually made available to him without cost. An individual who is engaged in the general insurance business under a contract or contracts of service which do not contemplate that the individual's principal business activity will be the solicitation of life insurance or annuity contracts, or both, for one company, or any individual who devotes only part time to the solicitation of life insurance contracts, including annuity contracts, and is principally engaged in other endeavors, is not a full-time life insurance salesman.
(iii) Home workers. This occupational group includes a worker who performs services off the premises of the person for whom the services are performed, according to specifications furnished by such person, on materials or goods furnished by such person which are required to be returned to such person or a person designated by him. For provisions relating to the determination of wages in the case of a home worker to whom this subdivision is applicable, see § 31.3121(a)(10)-1.
(iv) Traveling or city salesman. (a) This occupational group includes a city or traveling salesman who is engaged upon a full-time basis in the solicitation on behalf of, and the transmission to, his principal (except for side-line sales activities on behalf of some other person or persons) of orders from wholesalers, retailers, contractors, or operators of hotels, restaurants, or other similar establishments for merchandise for resale or supplies for use in their business operations. An agent-driver or commission-driver is not within this occupational group. City or traveling salesmen who sell to retailers or to the others specified, operate off the premises of their principals, and are generally compensated on a commission basis, are within this occupational group. Such salesmen are generally not controlled as to the details of their services or the means by which they cover their territories, but in the ordinary case they are expected to call on regular customers with a fair degree of regularity.
(b) In order for a city or traveling salesman to be included within this occupational group, his entire or principal business activity must be devoted to the solicitation of orders for one principal. Thus, the multiple-line salesman generally is not within this occupational group. However, if the salesman solicits orders primarily for one principal, he is not excluded from this occupational group solely because of side-line sales activities on behalf of one or more other persons. In such a case, the salesman is within this occupational group only with respect to the services performed for the person for whom he primarily solicits orders and not with respect to the services performed for such other persons. The following examples illustrate the application of the foregoing provisions:
Example 1.
Salesman A's principal business activity is the solicitation of orders from retail pharmacies on behalf of the X Wholesale Drug Company. A also occasionally solicits orders for drugs on behalf of the Y and Z Companies. A is within this occupational group with respect to his services for the X Company but not with respect to his services for either the Y Company or the Z Company.
Example 2.
Salesman B's principal business activity is the solicitation of orders from retail hardware stores on behalf of the R Tool Company and the S Cooking Utensil Company. B regularly solicits orders on behalf of both companies. B is not within this occupational group with respect to the services performed for either the R Company or the S Company.
Example 3.
Salesman C's principal business activity is the house-to-house solicitation of orders on behalf of the T Brush Company. C occasionally solicits such orders from retail stores and restaurants. C is not within this occupational group.
(4)
(i) The fact that an individual falls within one of the enumerated occupational groups, however, does not make such individual an employee under this paragraph unless (a) the contract of service contemplates that substantially all the services to which the contract relates in the particular designated occupation are to be performed personally by such individual, (b) such individual has no substantial investment in the facilities used in connection with the performance of such services (other than in facilities for transportation) and (c) such services are part of a continuing relationship with the person for whom the services are performed and are not in the nature of a single transaction.
(ii) The term “contract of service”, as used in this paragraph, means an arrangement, formal or informal, under which the particular services are performed. The requirement that the contract of service shall contemplate that substantially all the services to which the contract relates in the particular designated occupation are to be performed personally by the individual means that it is not contemplated that any material part of the services to which the contract relates in such occupation will be delegated to any other person by the individual who undertakes under the contract to perform such services.
(iii) The facilities to which reference is made in this paragraph include equipment and premises available for the work or enterprise as distinguished from education, training, and experience, but do not include such tools, instruments, equipment, or clothing, as are commonly or frequently provided by employees. An investment in an automobile by an individual which is used primarily for his own transportation in connection with the performance of services for another person has no significance under this paragraph, since such investment is comparable to outlays for transportation by an individual performing similar services who does not own an automobile. Moreover, the investment in facilities for the transportation of the goods or commodities to which the services relate is to be excluded in determining the investment in a particular case. If an individual has a substantial investment in facilities of the requisite character, he is not an employee within the meaning of this paragraph, since a substantial investment of the requisite character standing alone is sufficient to exclude the individual from the employee concept under this paragraph.
(iv) If the services are not performed as part of a continuing relationship with the person for whom the services are performed, but are in the nature of a single transaction, the individual performing such services is not an employee of such person within the meaning of this paragraph. The fact that the services are not performed on consecutive workdays does not indicate that the services are not performed as part of a continuing relationship.
[T.D. 6516, 25 FR 13032, Dec. 20, 1960, as amended by T.D. 6744, 29 FR 8314, July 2, 1964; T.D. 7691, 45 FR 24129, Apr. 9, 1980]

Title 26 published on 2014-04-01

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  • 2014-06-02; vol. 79 # 105 - Monday, June 2, 2014
    1. 79 FR 31219 - Designation of Payor To Perform Acts Required of an Employer; Correction
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      DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Internal Revenue Service
      Correcting amendment.
      This correction is effective on June 2, 2014, and is applicable March 31, 2014.
      26 CFR Part 31

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Title 26 published on 2014-04-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 26 CFR 31 after this date.

  • 2014-06-02; vol. 79 # 105 - Monday, June 2, 2014
    1. 79 FR 31219 - Designation of Payor To Perform Acts Required of an Employer; Correction
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Internal Revenue Service
      Correcting amendment.
      This correction is effective on June 2, 2014, and is applicable March 31, 2014.
      26 CFR Part 31