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Will I receive a W-2 or 1099 for compensation earned at my Workamping job?
There is no "one size fits all" answer here. This is a question that you should ask each Employer that you apply with/interview with - BEFORE accepting the position and regardless of what the compensation package is. This will help ensure less surprises at the beginning of the year when preparing your tax return.
Workampers are generally not exempt from labor/tax laws, and should be treated like any other employee (W-2) or independent contractor (1099). Most Workamper positions fall under the 'employee' classification. You can read more from the IRS here and visit this page for an easy breakdown of typical employee vs contractor traits.
If you are considering an independent contractor position, here is another article with helpful FAQs.
Generally, business owners withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee (and that employee is sent a W-2 annotating income received). Owners do not generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors (who receive a 1099 for income received over $600).
The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer (Employer) has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. If an Employer is requiring the Workamper to work specific days/hours and do the assigned tasks a certain way, then the Workamper should be treated as an employee.
If a Workamper is treated as an employee - in cases where an RV site, or other lodging, and/or meals are provided in exchange for work, there is an IRS regulation (irc 1.119 (b)) which allows for the exclusion of the value of these items from the employee's gross income, provided the following three tests are met: 1) The lodging is furnished on the business premises of the employer, 2) The lodging is furnished for the convenience of the employer, and 3) The employee is required to accept such lodging as a condition of employment. Employer provided meals may also be excluded from gross income. (Reference: IRS Publication 525 - "Meals & Lodging").
Be sure to check with your specific state as well, as guidelines for bartering may vary.
The IRS regulates the amount all people must pay for income taxes and contributions to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. These taxes are automatically deducted from an employee's paycheck. As an independent contractor, you must pay your own taxes. However, as an independent contractor, you may also take deductions for all of your business expenses, so you may actually end up paying lower taxes than an employee.
Please have a conversation with your accountant regarding a compensation package provided by an Employer, to determine how that will affect your individual situation.