What is the law regarding registering a business name and paying employees as independent contractors?

UPDATED: Apr 24, 2014

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What is the law regarding registering a business name and paying employees as independent contractors?

I run a sole-proprietorship that is in no way registered with the state of Illinois. The business is simply that couples wanting to get married come to me through my business website, “Chicago Wedding Officiant Services,” and I prepare a ceremony for them and then assign them a wedding officiant to perform it. The wedding officiants are not my employees, they are independent contractors – though they are listed on my company website. I also have an administrative assistant who I pay as an independent contractor. Am I in any personal financial / legal danger by, a) not registering my business name, and b) including these independent contractors on my website? I feel that I’m saving time and money by doing business this way.

Asked on April 24, 2014 under Business Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you do business in Illinois or sell to Illinois consumers, you have to register, even if you are a sole proprietorship.--that's the law of your state.

Paying people as independent contractors when they are not--while your officiants may be independent contractors, your administrative assistant almost certainly is not; AA's almost never meet the tests to be independent contractors--is a violation of both labor and tax law.

You have significant potential liability. You should consult with an IL business attorney about setting up, registering, and running your business in a way that complies with the law.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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