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Hello, I would like to answer your question. Give me a few minutes to draft a response.
This question is rather complex. Have you evaluated the "independent contractor" criteria set forth by the IRS? Does this employee meet that criteria?
There are a few more critical questions, for instance: (1) do you set their working hours, (2) do you oversee the quality of their work, (3) do they have other income or do you prohibit them from performing other work? If you can describe the relationship I can provide a better more detailed assistance..
I understand the difficulty. In fact, it is highly subjective and even we as professionals have trouble making this determination. Some professionals can be deemed "independent contractors" by definition as established by the US Internal Revenue Code (IRC); for instance, real estate agents. In your example, if your assistant has flexibility in her work, makes her own hours, makes decisions without necessarily contacting you, there is a strong argument for an "independent contractor" status. Additionally, even if the IRS disagreed, you are not a resident nor citizen of this country (unless you omitted that information), which means the IRS would have a difficult time even holding you liable for any employee/employer relationship.
So, to answer your question... (1) There does not appear to be enough oversight, financial or behavioral, for me to say this person is clearly an employee. (2) There are no maximum or minimum number of hours which this person can work, or which create an employee/employer relationship; hours do not create that relations, rather the nature of work performed establishes that relationship.
Where she works is not relevant. What would be relevant is if you paid for her training, provided her a laptop, paid for any specialized tools, etc... If she works remotely using her own resources, that just furthers her classification as an independent contractor.
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I wanted to follow up and see if you need further information. If I have provided you with a sufficient response, please rate my answer as we are only compensated for our time of we receive a 3 to 5 star rating. I would be happy to expand on my response as your satisfaction and a 5 star rating is my goal.