White House Backs Bill To Close Independent Contractor Tax Loophole

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., released a statement Wednesday noting that the White House has endorsed their legislation to close a tax loophole currently allowing businesses to misclassify workers as "independent contractors."

Kerry and McDermott said that the Fair Playing Field Act of 2010 would protect workers from losing benefits and protections as the result of the tax loophole.

Vice President Joe Biden said, "When employees are classified as independent contractors, whether by design or because the rules are unclear, they are denied access to critical benefits and protections, at significant cost to government at all levels."

"For these reasons, stopping worker misclassification is a priority for the President's Middle Class Task Force, which I chair, and I applaud Senator Kerry and Congressman McDermott for introducing this bill," he added.

In addition to providing guidance about worker classification, the bill would also increase the penalties for the failure to deduct and withhold income taxes and the employee's share of FICA taxes.

"Today a tax loophole is being abused to deny workers basic protections and benefits," Kerry said. "We shouldn't reward those who game the system while hard-working Americans are denied their due protections and businesses that play fair are disadvantaged."

In the Senate, the bill is cosponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Al Franken, D-Minn., Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Cosponsors of the House bill include Reps. Ben Chandler, D-Ken., Lynne Woolsey, D-Calif., Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, George Miller, D-Calif., Laura Richardson, D-Calif., Lois Capps, D-Calif., John Tierney, D-Mass., Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Mark Critz, D-Penn., David Loebsack, D-Iowa, and Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif.

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