Can I recover payroll taxes I paid as a contractor when I was in fact an employee?

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Can I recover payroll taxes I paid as a contractor when I was in fact an employee?

For 7 years I worked as a contractor for my former employer, being hired back after accepting early retirement. For most of that time I had managerial and budget responsibility, participated in corporate decision making and worked on company premises with company-provided equipment. Is there anything I can do to recover the self-employment taxes I paid as well as benefits that I should have received as an employee? This covers a period from 7-14 years ago.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, if someone were misclassified as an independent contractor when (s)he was really an employee, the employer could be liable for  the employer portion of FICA, for benefits, for overtime (if applicable), etc. However, the problem for you is that it may be too late to take action: there is a time limit on how long you have to sue, called the statute of limitations, and the typical statutory period for misclassification or labor law cases is 2 or 3 years. If the events you describe occured 7 - 14 years ago, it is likely too late--too much time has passed--to bring legal action. Sometimes, though, there are circumstances that would "toll," or extend, the statute of limitations; you should speak with an employment lawyer *immediately* about your case, to see if there may be any way you can still bring it. Good luck.


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