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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Insanity on September 09, 2013, 10:19:09 PM

Title: 1099 vs W-2
Post by: Insanity on September 09, 2013, 10:19:09 PM
My dilemma -

After doing back of the napkin type calculations, a 1099 position has come in that after employer portion of the taxes, SEP, Health, HRA, and business expenses are taken out, that number is roughly 12-15% more than the offer for a W-2 contract after any pretax deductions (only factoring 401K and Health Care costs).

More information on the numbers:
SEP > 401K contribution + match (by approx $800)
Health = COBRA Rate (I'm hoping the exchange rate and/or the pre-existing condition allowed rate is lower than that)
Expenses = $5K (liability insurance, travel if non-reimbursed, a new machine if I want to buy one - which I probably won't, but I might need more hardware, and software licenses if need be)
Hours: 48 working weeks
HSA: $5K

I am not sure what the health insurance cost is going to be, so I estimated it at around $300 a month and I'm not sure if there is any HSA contributions.

Other factors:
W-2 is with a large company - ie: probably would get cell phone + internet reimbursed completely
W-2 is with a large tech company - i.e.: would probably get discounts on hardware (if not for free)
Job:  the 1099 is probably better suited for me out of the gate.  Right now my role in the larger company is a weak spot and I'm having to do a lot of things I don't like (system configurations) and am not good at.  That said there is a lot more freedom to move around in the W-2 position, but the 1099 is a step in the direction I want to go.
1099 is for a year, with potential option to either (a) re-up after a year, (b) go W-2 with the contracting company, (c) go W-2 with the client, or (d) move on elsewhere.  There is no termination parachute, nor is there anything holding either party from leaving outside of I cannot terminate without being at a safe point within the project as determined by the contracting company (I don't like that, but I understand the point and I wouldn't do that anyway).

So the question is:
What percentage more would a 1099 position have to be over a W-2 for you to have to take it (remember, this is AFTER business expenses / deductions have been taken out and pre-tax deductions on the W-2 side)?

(for my answer:  I was originally leading toward no, but after running the numbers and realize I was doing the math wrong, I am leaning towards taking it -  quicker to pay down debt)

And the ever popular question:  Is the right question to be asking?
Title: Re: 1099 vs W-2
Post by: smalllife on September 10, 2013, 05:38:07 AM
For me the 1099 would have to be at least 35% higher gross - employer taxes, employee taxes, extra costs of insuring oneself, job insecurity after 1 year etc.  I have seen more people screwed by 1099 status than W-2 employees, but it doesn't sound like you are in that position. 

What are the working condition like for each?  Office environment? Teammates? Boss?   

To me, those are the questions worth asking.  Money is great, but a miserable work environment won't make up for it.
Title: Re: 1099 vs W-2
Post by: Insanity on September 10, 2013, 07:21:18 AM
For me the 1099 would have to be at least 35% higher gross - employer taxes, employee taxes, extra costs of insuring oneself, job insecurity after 1 year etc.  I have seen more people screwed by 1099 status than W-2 employees, but it doesn't sound like you are in that position. 

What are the working condition like for each?  Office environment? Teammates? Boss?   

To me, those are the questions worth asking.  Money is great, but a miserable work environment won't make up for it.

Both are work from home, with a little travel:  the W-2 would be travel twice a year to conferences.  The 1099 would be day trips essentially to NYC from Philly area - more frequent to start, down to once or twice a month after the project starts.

Both groups seem pretty good.  I don't have the W-2 offer yet and the 1099 one I had actually turned down twice but they keep coming back to me - and upped the rate yesterday.

Just to be clear, the rate (based on 2000 hours for W-2) is about 57% higher for the 1099 than the W-2.  The % difference that I am looking at is after the employer side of the taxes, insurance, etc have been paid. 

For example:
W-2 Salary would be 100K gross.
1099 yearly would be 150K, but after business side expenses would be 115K or something like that.