The Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) is a voluntary program described in Announcement 2011-64 (PDF) that provides an opportunity for taxpayers to reclassify their workers as employees for employment tax purposes for future tax periods with partial relief from federal employment taxes. To participate in this new voluntary program, the taxpayer must meet certain eligibility requirements, apply to participate in VCSP by filing Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, and enter into a closing agreement with the IRS.
The VCSP is available for taxpayers who want to voluntarily change the prospective classification of their workers. The program applies to taxpayers who are currently treating their workers (or a class or group of workers) as independent contractors or other nonemployees and want to prospectively treat the workers as employees.
A taxpayer must have consistently treated the workers as nonemployees, and must have filed all required Forms 1099 for the workers to be reclassified under the VCSP for the previous three years to participate in VCSP. Additionally, the taxpayer cannot currently be under audit by the IRS and the taxpayer cannot be currently under audit concerning the classification of the workers by the Department of Labor or by a state government agency.
If the IRS or the Department of Labor has previously audited a taxpayer concerning the classification of the workers, the taxpayer will be eligible only if the taxpayer has complied with the results of that audit.
Exempt organizations and Government entities may participate in VCSP if they meet all of the eligibility requirements.
A taxpayer participating in the VCSP will agree to prospectively treat the class or classes of workers as employees for future tax periods. In exchange, the taxpayer:
· Will pay 10 percent of the employment tax liability that may have been due on compensation paid to the workers for the most recent tax year, determined under the reduced rates of section 3509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
· Will not be liable for any interest and penalties on the amount; and
· Will not be subject to an employment tax audit with respect to the worker classification of the workers being reclassified under the VCSP for prior years.
In addition, as part of the VCSP program, taxpayer will agree to extend the period of limitations on assessment of employment taxes for three years for the first, second and third calendar years beginning after the date on which the taxpayer has agreed under the VCSP closing agreement to begin treating the workers as employees.
Applying for VCSP
To participate in the VCSP, a taxpayer must apply using Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program. The application should be filed at least 60 days from the date the taxpayer wants to begin treating its workers as employees. Taxpayers who want to begin treating a class or classes of workers as employees for the fourth quarter of 2011 should file Form 8952 as soon as possible. The IRS will make every effort to process Form 8952 with sufficient time to allow for the voluntary reclassification on the requested date.