This is Part II of what, currently is a three act play. Part I was a request for relief from hardship on behalf of a Montana business woman.
It seems that there is widespread confusion as to what Government is. I’m reminded of Pogo’s observation, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
The basic purpose of government is to accomplish, for the greater good, those things requiring a united body of effort. It is not an entity separate and apart from the people; the individuals who provide the resources.
Most importantly, our Country was founded on the belief that Government must never be allowed to reign supreme above the people.
Thank you for your letter dated June 21, 2010, which clearly communicates the position of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), in regards to Independent Contractor status. Since your letter, also, graciously provides the opportunity for suggestions to improve Department procedure, I have one which I believe can achieve the mutual goals of Montana Employers and DLI.
Over the span of thirty years as a Certified Public Accountant, discovery has been made that: “Communication is what the listener does.” We can hear; yet, not understand. We can see; yet, not comprehend. Your letter emphasizes the efforts of Transmission by DLI; an important first step. Steps two and three are Reception and Feedback. Montana Employers and Hiring Agents have not fully understood and comprehended the seriousness of the issue.
As professionals, you and I work very hard to communicate clearly. For instance, the purpose of the “Mr.” in the signature block of my email to you dated June 13, 2010, is to remove any confusion about my gender; yet, your letter to me is addressed as, “Dear Ms. Foard”. One of your Field Representatives copied me on a letter dated February 11, 2010, using “Ford” as my last name, when it is actually “Foard”.
My point is this: We learn by doing. As professionals, we want the opportunity to correct our mistakes. Montana Employers, simply, want the opportunity to learn from theirs, too.
Montana Employers work very hard to start businesses, stay in business, provide value to the marketplace, support their communities and offer employment to others. Granted, we are a nation and society founded on the Rule of Law. Furthermore, there is the premise so eloquently articulated in the Gettysburg Address:
… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and, that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
This is my recommended solution to equitably resolve the audit issue of Independent Contractor vs. Employee:
- If the Employer has never before been audited in regards to this issue, then, they need the opportunity to establish a more formal relationship with their non-registered Independent Contractors.
- For those individuals who have received payment during the period of audit and are able to demonstrate their independence, by successfully registering under the Point System and Signed Affidavit referenced in your letter, the Hiring Agent is acknowledged by DLI to be in compliance with those individuals, retroactively and for the next two years.
The benefit for the State of Montana is that these newly registered Independent Contractors are affirming that they have paid all taxes in the past, and will continue to do so into the future. If not, then, they can accept full responsibility and be held accountable by our Government.
By using this approach, Montana Employers have the opportunity to actively learn by practicing the compliance efforts to hire only Employees and Registered Independent Contractors. The Employers, in turn, teach others about the importance of this Montana law. Additionally, a sense of parity, and fairness, is achieved when considering those activities currently exempted from the harshness of this strict standard, as referenced in my earlier correspondence: Payments to the Directors of Bank Boards.
I, respectfully, ask that the consideration above be offered to Montana Employers; so that we have the freedom as good citizens to participate in a Government which fully understands the source of its strength and resource:
… of the people, by the people, and for the people.
If I can be of value in further explaining the merit of this approach, please advise.