Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 66, Issue 7

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 66, Issue 7
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 10:20:14 +0300

Gene,

The logical extension of this would be to require the contractor to use his or her own computer as well.

Unfortunately, your view of IRS and State regs, while probably quite correct, raises an immediate conflict with the ASP crapola.

I believe it is safe to assume, too, that the rules for contractors will only continue to tighten as the government seeks ever more income and cast their nets wider and wider.

I also think this will continue to expand the opportunities in telecommuting for contractors, where there is no question that they are using their own tools from start to finish.

That said, there is also quite a conflict between the chosen software tool set in a particular company and the same rules regarding contractors. Theoretically, according to the IRS rules, the employer cannot dictate the tools used by the contractor without risking being said to be not a true contractor relationship.

The entire contractor regulations require drastic overhaul, I believe, for they were never originally intended for software and a networked world.

If I were still in the midst of my own career rather than moldering somewhat on the sidelines these days, I would be looking to freelance as an off-site contract employee. (That would be especially handy as I live these days in Ukraine!)

For those seeking to hire contractors today, I believe the smartest method of all would be to specify the deliverable carefully enough that the tools used to create it may be somewhat or even largely immaterial. If, for instance, you are a DITA shop it should not matter to you how the contractor produces the files so long as the result is fully DITA compliant.

On the other hand, if a project requires frequent and close collaboration by multiple authors, this may not be feasible as the most efficient method. Often, though, there are individual documents that would normally be assigned to one writer that could lend themselves to such a contract arrangement quite well. The rub would come in if the person working on that doc were to disappear for some reason before the final output is attained.

To give but one example--we have a thread presently regarding alternatives to Dreamweaver. I still know a surprising number of people who hand code HTML with a programmer's text editor. Some of them I'd pit against most Dreamweaver users in terms of quality and speed of output.

Of course, there are also still some folks who program in assembler and sweat by it...but that is something for another day perhaps in another venue.

David



If you bring in real contractors (1099 as opposed to a temp), the
contractors are required under IRS regs and most US states' labor laws
to provide their own tools, and if they use yours you risk being cited
for improper employment classification.

There is nothing wrong with an employer allowing employees to use
their own tools. The issue is with employers not providing employees
with required tools and expecting them to provide them at their own
expense.

Gene

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