If you're confused about whether or not your independent contractors are indeed independent (see "Legal Briefs," [Article link] below), consider that --

BNA Plus (800-452-7773, 202-452-4323 in Washington, D.C.), the Bureau of National Affairs' research arm, can provide you with resource material on the difference between employees and independent contractors, for $23 plus $5 shipping and handling.

Paladin (201-584-9488), a labor-relations consulting firm in Flanders, N.J., will send you a checklist of the 19 factors the IRS considers in evaluating a worker's status, for $5.

The IRS will rule on the employees in question if you file a Form SS-8 with the district director at your IRS district office.

-- Ellyn E. Spragins