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Say I apply at McDonald's and give the conditions that I wish to work under:

1.No income is withheld from me -- thus I am self-employed.

2.I work like every other worker, but get paid a fixed amount agreed upon.

3.I am responsible for taxes myself.

4.I ask specifically for no benefits other than money.

5.It could be contract-based, but doesn't exactly have to be.

Could an employer legally do this?

  • I assume that it is essential to your scenario that you are doing the same thing as regular employees, and the distinction is that you're saying "I don't want to be treated as an employee". – user6726 Apr 27 '16 at 5:13
  • Employees of a business aren't self-employed merely because they adjust their withholding level... – Pat W. Apr 27 '16 at 12:10
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Not really. If you are doing the same work as an employee and are treated the same as an employee, then the IRS (for purposes like withholding) and the government for other purposes (like wage and hour or antidiscrimination laws) is going to treat you like an employee.

There is a multi-factor test to determine if you are an independent contractor or an employee. If you are working as an employee, the test will show that you are one. Failing to treat you like one is illegal and has tax consequences.

See, e.g., https://www.irs.gov/publications/p15/ar02.html#en_US_2016_publink1000202292

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