Independent Contractor

The Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) have requirements regarding whether an individual providing personal services to Miami University can be considered an Independent Contractor or must be an employee.

  • Individual may be an Independent Contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done or how it will be done. 
  • Individual may be an employee if the payer has the right to control the details of how the services are performed, even if given some freedom of action.

There are also restrictions imposed by the state retirement systems that preclude retirees from providing services as Independent Contractors.

  • If the payee has been an employee within the past 12 months or if the payee ever retired from Miami under OPERS, they cannot be an Independent Contractor and must be rehired as an employee.
  • If the payee is a State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) retiree and begins service at Miami less than 60 days after retirement, the payee cannot be an Independent Contractor or employee.

To determine if the desired individual meets eligibility requirements as an Independent Contractor, departments should review the federal guidelines for the differences between an Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee.

If the individual does not meet eligibility requirements as an Independent Contractor, the hiring department should proceed with posting the position in HireTouch.

Hiring and Paying an Independent Contractor

For positions that do qualify as an Independent Contractor, departments should do the following:

  1. Working with the independent contractor, complete the appropriate Professional Services Agreement form (see Accounts Payable's Documents and Forms) and submit it to HR (
    • Please note: The Professional Services Agreement is not actionable until reviewed and signed by an authorized representative within HR.
  2. HR will determine if the intended services and the individual's current status with Miami meet the guidelines of an Independent Contractor. If HR approves the use of an Independent Contractor, the Professional Agreement will be authorized and returned to the department.
  3. The department must then send a copy of the completed agreement to the Independent Contractor, who must then complete the following hiring documentation:
    • IRS Form W-9
    • OPERS Independent Contractor/Worker Acknowledgement (see form code "PEDACKN" under "Memberships")
      • On the form, the Department needs to input the following information and then provide the form to the Independent Contractor:
        • Employer: Miami University
        • Employer Code: 1633-00
        • Employer Contact: Gary Kraft
        • Phone Number: 513-529-6223
      • Within 30 days from the beginning of services the contractor must complete and return this form to the hiring department.
      • The department must retain a copy of the completed form, and must submit original to OPERS at the address specified on the form. OPERS requires that departments retain the form for 5 years.
  4. The Independent Contractor may then render services to the department.
  5. Departments may initiate payments for these services through the BuyWay system.
    • Please note: The Professional Services Agreement, OPERS Independent Contractor/Worker Acknowledgment form, and the W-9 form must be attached to the request for payment or the request will be rejected.