An independent contractor is (by definition) not an employee. Typically the title of contractor is interchangeable with a title of consultant. They provide services pursuant to a consulting or services contract (thus the name contractor), and are not entitled to the same "employee benefits" as an employee (such as health insurance, 401(k) plans, etc.).
A company is not responsible for withholding employment taxes from a contractor, as they are for an employee. However, a company may still need to report what is paid to a contractor by filing a Form 1099 with the IRS when they file their taxes (talk to your accountant to understand the IRS requirements around 1099 contractors).
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