I'm starting a landscaping business as a sole proprietor. Can I hire an employee and 1099 him or use a staff leasing company without filing for an EIN number?

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By definition, you cannot hire an employee as a 1099. A "1099" is an independent contractor. Lack of clarity about whether you have hired an employee or an independent contractor can get you into serious trouble when it comes to handling employment taxes.

To avoid those problems, using a staff leasing company can be a very attractive option, although you will pay a little more for its administrative services. However, be aware that the staff leasing company may need you to have your own EIN (separate and apart from your SSN), so don’t be surprised if it requests that.

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