n. a person or business which performs services for another person or entity under a contract between them, with the terms spelled out such as duties, pay, the amount and type of work and other matters. An independent contractor is distinguished from an employee, who works regularly for an employer. The exact nature of the independent contractor's relationship with the party hiring him/her/it has become vital since an independent contractor pays his/her/its own Social Security, income taxes without payroll deduction, has no retirement or health plan rights, and often is not entitled to worker's compensation coverage. Public agencies, particularly the Internal Revenue Service, look hard at independent contractor agreements when it appears the contractor is much like an employee. An independent contractor must be able to determine when and where work is performed, be able to work for others, provide own equipment and other factors which are indicative of true independence.