Friday, March 20, 2009

A Message from MSPA

Today I am only calling your attention to a legislative matter. The MSPA has the following on their site:

Dear Mystery Shopper:

MSPA has some very important, and quite serious, information for you.

There are some very serious legislative threats that could deny you the right to work as an independent contractor and threaten the mystery shopping industry.

We urge you to contact your Senators and Members of Congress and implore them to oppose legislation that would undermine the legal recognition of independent-contractor status.

We ask that you contact your Senators and your Congressional Representatives in three ways:
  1. Call their Washington or home district offices
  2. Send them an email or submit a web-form message to them
  3. Write and mail a letter to them (and copy us at the address on the bottom of this message or send a copy by fax or email)
The following are suggested points you should make in your communications:
  • I am an independent contractor (I do mystery shopping on contract with companies) and I strongly urge you to oppose any proposals that would threaten my right to work as an independent contractor
  • New laws that increase the risks to companies that do business with independent contractors put legitimate self-employed service providers – like me – out of business, because our clients will be afraid to do business with us.
  • Many companies that are clients of Independent Contractors qualify for Section 530 protection and need the certainty that Section 530 provides in order to continue doing business with independent contractors – like me.
  • IRS data indicate that the federal tax compliance rate for independent contractors whose earnings are reported on Forms 1099 is 97%, which is only 2 percentage points lower than the 99% compliance rate for employees--that is, we are, as a group, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens.
  • Now is an especially inappropriate time for the government to take any action that will depress economic activity, especially in the entrepreneurial sector.
For your further information, at this point, we are not aware of any specific anti-independent-contractor bills that have been introduced in the U.S. Congress. Nonetheless, we believe that bills that would make it more difficult to establish independent-contractor relationships are currently being drafted. Our request is that you join us in our effort to urge elected representatives to oppose any such bills.

That having been said, one of the major areas of concern is the prospect of making changes to Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978. As written, Section 530 provides parties to covered business relationships with absolute certainty that the independent-contractor status of their relationship will be respected for federal employment tax purposes. Prior efforts that we believe will be resurrected would remove that protected certainty. The protection afforded both to shoppers and to mystery shopping companies would be eliminated under provisions of earlier attempts to change the law and we believe the same efforts will be made this year.

We believe the preservation of independent-contractor status is critical to the mystery shopping industry. If new Federal legislation were enacted that significantly increases the legal risks associated with doing business with independent contractors, it is impossible to predict with absolute accuracy how that would affect the mystery shopping industry. We believe, however, that the effect, on balance, would be extremely negative. If a new law were to result in companies hiring mystery shoppers as employees, the cost to clients would necessarily increase, and that cost increase could lead to a singificant reduction in the amount of mystery shopping opportunities available.

Thank you for your support in this very important effort.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been subscribing to your blog for a while now. I am also a longtime mystery shopper, and write some mystery shopping related articles (among others) on my blog, Tricia's Dish This article was interesting. I did not realize there were threats to workers with independent contractor status. My husband is one as well.