Can a Hygienist be given a 1099 form for working at a Dental Practice?
No. In the majority of states, a Hygienist must work under the direction of the Doctor. Even if that is not the case, a temp Hygienist is working on the Doctor’s patients, using the Doctor’s equipment in the Doctors office. So it seems very clear that even if you are only working in the office one day a week, you are an employee and should be paid as such. Being classified as an independent contractor also puts a Hygienist at risk because they are not being covered by any of the Doctor’s insurance, malpractice insurance, or workers comp.
What Should I Do If I am a Hygienist and was given 1099?
First, I would contact that dental office and give them a chance to correct it. They can send an amended tax return to the IRS, and they will have to pay the back payroll taxes. It is a business’s responsibility to understand the laws, but many of them do not.
What If The Office Refuses To Amend 1099?
If they refuse to amend 1099 to a W2, they are committing payroll fraud. A dental hygienist can not be an independent contractor, which means in essence, that the Hygienist is self-employed. Some of the risks that a Hygienist faces if classified as a 1099 worker are:
- They have to pay all of their Social Security and Medicare taxes out of their own pocket (employers must pay half of these taxes for employees, but not independent contractors)
- They will be ineligible for unemployment benefits (and their employer won’t have to pay for unemployment insurance for them)
- They will be ineligible for worker’s compensation benefits (and the employer won’t have to pay for workers’ comp insurance for them)
- They will have none of the workplace rights that employees usually have, such as a right to a minimum wage, overtime pay, sick pay, and rest breaks.
If you have been given 1099, have spoken with the office, and they refuse to amend, then you will need to file an SS-8 form with the IRS. This allows you to explain to the IRS how and why you should not have been given 1099, and that will tell the IRS to investigate further. Theoretically, this could trigger an audit of the dental practice, and they will face very stiff penalties for committing payroll fraud if they have been issuing 1099 forms to Hygienists.
Once you have filed the SS-8 form and are determined by the IRS to have been misclassified, file your 1099 taxes and include form Form 8919. That is a form called the Uncollected Social Security and Medicare Tax on Wages. This allows you to not pay your half of the Social Security and Medicare taxes, but credits that amount to your Social Security Record. I hope this helps with the question. Payroll fraud is very common, and many Hygienists do not realize that they are a victim of it. I am just trying to help them protect themselves! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!