Statement of Facts: Hundreds of universities now offer courses online. These courses are generally taught by adjunct faculty who generally have no contact with the universities aside from teaching these courses online.
Most frequently, the adjunct faculty teach the online courses directly from their homes or professional offices, which may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from the sponsoring
Issue 1: Are adjunct faculty who teach online courses for a university independent contractors or employees under the U.S. Tax Code? Use the IRS 20-factor test to evaluate whether online adjunct faculty, as distinct from adjunct faculty who teach on the ground, to
evaluate employment status and supplement your analysis with case law.
Issue 2: If both the university and the online faculty instructor want to treat the relationship as an independent contractor, predict how a court would interpret that relationship as either an employee or independent contractor.
Note: You will find case law indicating that adjunct faculty should be treated as employees. However, these cases all were decided before the advent of the Internet. The courts reasoned that a university exercised considerable control over the adjunct faculty teaching on the ground. In an online environment, adjunct faculty can teach a course, if they want to late at night, dressed in pajamas.
Assignment: Your assignment is to find the 20-point checklist used by the IRS to distinguish employees from independent contractors, and analyze each test based on the facts contained in this sample problem. Few positions are ever 100% employee or 100% independent contractor under the 20-factor checklist, but your task is to determine, in light of the various weights you assign to individual factors, if ONLINE faculty should be treated as employees or independent contractors.
Analyze cases at the U.S. Courts of Appeal level, and explain how “entrepreneurial opportunity” has come to replace the former “control of employees” factor as the primary consideration.
If examining the case law precedents leads you to conclude that online faculty would nevertheless be treated as employees, then state the reasons for your conclusions.
Please do not prepare a general research memo, and then leave it up to the reader to decide which way the cases and the IRS 20-factor checklist indicate a court should rule on this matter.
Your answer should address both Issue 1 and Issue 2, which will require you to predict the evolution of a new and growing area of tax law. This is one of the questions I need help with. The last person that said they would help said they would have a response by today. I believe that another tutor in your group may have helped someone else with this research question.
Discuss why it is important to be aware of state tax issues and give an example where state taxes could reverse your recommendation to a client?
Describe how non-tax laws may affect federal tax research, and give a specific example where non-tax law defines one or more issues in tax law?