Under well-established Washington State law, "an independent contractor is one who, while rendering service in the course of an independent occupation, represents the will of his employer only as to the result of the work, and not as to the manner or means by which it is accomplished." Hubbard v. Department of Labor
and Industries, 198 Wash. 354, 88 P.2d 423 (WA 1939). Anyone else is an employee.
The issue here is whether or not the ushers can perform their tasks without any instruction or supervision by the church, or by the wedding party. If, for example, the church official simply tells the usher, "We need an usher on Sunday for a wedding from 1-2PM. How you usher and what you wear is entirely up to you," then that usher could reasonably be deemed an independent contractor -- which would mean that he/she could be paid on an IRS Form 1099-Misc. But, if the church requires that the usher wear a suit, and that he take instruction from the wedding party about who to seat where, etc., then the usher is an employee, and must be paid W-2 wages
The other alternative would be to ask the ushers to volunteer in exchange for whatever tips they can obtain from the wedding party, and take instruction from the wedding party, rather than from the church. The church would ask the wedding party to "chip in" to pay the ushers something for their efforts. Under that scheme, the church would not be involved at all, and it would be up to the ushers to report their own income.
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