What is the law regarding registering a business name and paying employees as independent contractors?

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What is the law regarding registering a business name and paying employees as independent contractors?

I run a sole-proprietorship that is in no way registered with the state of Illinois. The business is simply that couples wanting to get married come to me through my business website, “Chicago Wedding Officiant Services,” and I prepare a ceremony for them and then assign them a wedding officiant to perform it. The wedding officiants are not my employees, they are independent contractors – though they are listed on my company website. I also have an administrative assistant who I pay as an independent contractor. Am I in any personal financial / legal danger by, a) not registering my business name, and b) including these independent contractors on my website? I feel that I’m saving time and money by doing business this way.

Asked on April 24, 2014 under Business Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you do business in Illinois or sell to Illinois consumers, you have to register, even if you are a sole proprietorship.--that's the law of your state.

Paying people as independent contractors when they are not--while your officiants may be independent contractors, your administrative assistant almost certainly is not; AA's almost never meet the tests to be independent contractors--is a violation of both labor and tax law.

You have significant potential liability. You should consult with an IL business attorney about setting up, registering, and running your business in a way that complies with the law.


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