Owning Equity as an Independent Contractor: Equity Possibilities with Deel

Deel helps independent contractors unlock new financial possibilities by supporting equity grants. Clients can easily add a stock option grant as part of your compensation.

Gabriele Culot
Written by Gabriele Culot
September 29, 2023
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In recent years, a surge in independent contracting has reshaped the way we work. The lure of autonomy, the freedom to select meaningful projects, and the flexibility to travel are just a few factors contributing to this shift.

Although the freedom is an appealing factor, contractors have often been locked out of potentially valuable company equity opportunities. Traditionally, equity has been a perk reserved for full-time employees. 

However, the landscape is changing, and Deel is at the forefront of this transformation with innovative products like Deel Card and Deel Advance, enhancing financial opportunities for contractors. Deel recognizes that contractors are not just temporary hires but integral contributors to a company's journey.

Understanding Equity: A Game-Changer for Independent Contractors

Equity ownership has long been reserved for full-time employees under traditional contract forms. This perk offers a stake in the company's ownership, aligning the worker's interests with the organization's growth and long-term success. The benefits of expanding access to equity for contractors are manifold, even for employers, and when things go well, the rewards can be substantial. These include:

  • Higher motivation and engagement: Equity ownership can be a powerful motivator, encouraging independent contractors to contribute their best efforts to the project or assignment.
  • Access to a better talent pool: Offering equity grants can make a company more attractive to high-caliber independent contractors. 
  • Long-term relationship building: As the contractor becomes a stakeholder in the company, they may be more inclined to continue working with the company on future projects.
  • Success sharing: Independent contractors often take on a level of risk by working on a project basis. Equity grants allow them to share in the company's potential upside, mitigating some of the risks associated with project-based work.
  • Tax Advantages: Depending on the structure of the equity grant, there may be tax advantages for both the company and the contractor. However, tax implications can vary based on jurisdiction and the specific terms of the equity arrangement.

Challenges Faced by Contractors in Obtaining Equity

The landscape of contractual relations is evolving, making many of the obstacles that prevented contractors from accessing equity obsolete. Historically, these obstacles have included:

  • Legal and regulatory constraints: Equity ownership is often more straightforward for employees than independent contractors. Legal and regulatory constraints may limit the ability of contractors to receive equity.
  • Complexity of equity arrangements: Determining the appropriate structure, vesting schedule, valuation, and other terms may require legal and financial expertise that is not always readily available.
  • Uncertain future relationship: Independent contractors typically work on a project-by-project basis. This uncertainty can make it challenging to structure equity grants that align with the contractor's contributions over time.
  • Tax implications: Tax considerations can be a significant challenge for contractors receiving equity. Grants for independent contractors may differ from those for employees, and contractors must be aware of the potential tax implications.
  • Valuation challenges: Unlike publicly traded companies, private companies may require a more intricate valuation process, and contractors may face challenges in understanding and agreeing on the valuation method.

To address these challenges, contractors and companies must work closely to establish clear and transparent equity arrangements. Legal and financial professionals can play a crucial role in navigating the complexities of equity grants for independent contractors and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, a well-defined agreement outlining the terms of the equity arrangement is essential to manage expectations and potential issues.

Deel's Commitment to Equity Solutions

Deel is levelling the playing field by providing compliant solutions that embrace the evolving work environment. 

Today, when creating a contractor agreement, clients can easily add an equity grant to with just a few clicks. Deel ensures that the agreed-upon equity grant is not only satisfactory to all parties but also compliant with relevant regulations.

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Tailored Equity Grant Agreements with Deel

Deel offers a variety of equity grant formats, ensuring accessibility for contractors. The platform allows contractors to choose from different structures, such as time-based or milestone-based equity grants. The flexibility provided by Deel ensures that the equity agreement aligns with the specific dynamics of the contracting relationship. And what’s more, equity can be granted in just a few clicks.

Beyond Selecting Equity: Informed Decision-Making

While Deel simplifies the process, both parties must be well-informed about various stock option forms, tax implications, and regulatory requirements. Choosing to grant or receive equity is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and conscious choice. Deel provides assistance not only with the practicalities but also with broader concerns when establishing an equity grant agreement plan.

Consult with Deel's Experts

For a deeper understanding of how to choose the best equity options for your unique situation, report grants to local authorities, receive advance approval from tax authorities, and navigate regulatory requirements, consult with Deel's experienced professionals. Our Equity Consulting team is available to guide you through the process and support you in finding an engaging equity compensation strategy.

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Embrace a Compliant Future of Work with Deel

The future of work is a blend of innovative employment approaches, enhanced mobility, and technological advancements. However, navigating evolving regulatory requirements and seizing opportunities can be challenging. Let Deel handle the complexities while you focus on your strengths.

Sign up for Deel today and embark on a journey towards a secure future as an independent contractor.


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