Intuit updates QuickBooks for the gig economy

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As more small businesses hire workers for short-term gigs, Intuit is adding features to QuickBooks to streamline the paperwork around paying these contract employees.

Employers who use QuickBooks may now send contract workers an email inviting them to submit key information the Internal Revenue Service requires for its W-9 contractor tax form in a simplified format, automatically enrolling the contractor for future tax communications, Intuit announced on Wednesday.

“The contract worker gets an email to fill in key information for the W-9 that’s much easier to understand than the actual federal tax forms, which can be confusing for many people to use,” said Tad Milbourn, contractor ecosystem leader at Intuit’s QuickBooks division.

Employers who enroll contract workers through QuickBooks also may send the IRS-required 1099 tax form electronically at the end of the year, eliminating hassles for small businesses that often struggle to track down and mail those forms to temporary workers, Milbourn said.

Intuit’s latest upgrades for gig workers—which the company estimates by 2020 will make up about 40% of the U.S. workforce—do not include methods to streamline payments to those employees, but it’s an area Intuit is looking at, Milbourn said.

“We’re keenly interested in making it easier for small businesses to handle the paperwork and payments to contract workers, and our latest features are setting the stage to do more,” he said.

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