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The employer/employee relationship - Legal perspective

Published on 01 Feb 12 by "THE TAX SPECIALIST" JOURNAL ARTICLE

Australian governments impose a range of taxes and other monetary obligations on employers in relation to payments of salary and wages and other benefits to their employees. The main touchstone for liability to these taxes and obligations is whether the payee is considered an employee at common law, but obligations are also imposed on payments to persons who fall outside the common law definition.

This article surveys a number of cases with a view to determining the key indicia of the employment relationship at common law, and whether it is possible to identify any trends in the criteria that the courts apply to distinguish employees from independent contractors. The article also examines the question of whether and to what extent the employee/independent contractor distinction is still relevant, and whether there is a basis for distinguishing between the various employment-related taxes and obligations.

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Michael FLYNN

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