Can I recover payroll taxes I paid as a contractor when I was in fact an employee?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2011

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Can I recover payroll taxes I paid as a contractor when I was in fact an employee?

For 7 years I worked as a contractor for my former employer, being hired back after accepting early retirement. For most of that time I had managerial and budget responsibility, participated in corporate decision making and worked on company premises with company-provided equipment. Is there anything I can do to recover the self-employment taxes I paid as well as benefits that I should have received as an employee? This covers a period from 7-14 years ago.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, if someone were misclassified as an independent contractor when (s)he was really an employee, the employer could be liable for  the employer portion of FICA, for benefits, for overtime (if applicable), etc. However, the problem for you is that it may be too late to take action: there is a time limit on how long you have to sue, called the statute of limitations, and the typical statutory period for misclassification or labor law cases is 2 or 3 years. If the events you describe occured 7 - 14 years ago, it is likely too late--too much time has passed--to bring legal action. Sometimes, though, there are circumstances that would "toll," or extend, the statute of limitations; you should speak with an employment lawyer *immediately* about your case, to see if there may be any way you can still bring it. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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