Umbrella Companies for Public Sector Contractors – IR35 Choice

Umbrella Companies for Public Sector Contractors

Umbrella Companies for Public Sector Contractors

We are now seeing a massive take-up of umbrella companies for public sector contractors.

This is due to the Government changing the rules for contractors who work in the private sector.

They have now taken the IR35 decision out of contractors hands and it is the Government department who will now decide a contractor’s status.

The contractor can appeal this – to HMRC.

(Pause for a chuckle)

New Online HMRC IR35 Test

HMRC are telling us that they are devising an online IR35 test which will show whether a contractor is inside IR35 or outside it.

Of course, it will do nothing of the kind.

It is the laws of the land and the courts which decide that.

They have already told us that they are going to ‘cheat’ with this test.

Even before they have unveiled it they are telling us that they expect 90% of contractors to fail it.

How can that be?

Currently more than 90% of contractors are OUTSIDE IR35.

Indeed, when HMRC investigate contractors for IR35 they have a very low success rate.

And they must surely be picking what they see as the likeliest candidates.

Keep Using Their Personal Service Companies

Of course, most public sector contractors would prefer to keep using their personal service companies.

However, they are taking a big risk if they ask to sit the online IR35 test to try to prove their status.

The results are relayed to HMRC.

If the contractor fails the IR35 test, and has previously been using a personal service company on previous contracts, he, or she, is a prime target for investigation.

Government Picking on Contractors in the Public Sector

It’s easier for the Government to attack contractors in the public sector than in the private sector.

To hit those in the private sector they have to change the IR35 legislation.

Then they might have to fight long battles in the courts.

With public sector contractors they can just change their ‘house rules’.

After all, employers can make any rules they want when hiring contractors.

No Longer Taking Contractors Using Personal Service Companies

Some Government departments are now taking the easy way out and saying that they will no longer take on contractors using personal service companies.

The news on contractor websites has been about the number of contractors who have either quit the public sector because of this, or who plan to before it comes in during early April.

Umbrella Companies for Public Sector Contractors Option

However, an even bigger story is about the number of contractors who are dumping their personal service companies and going en masse to umbrella companies.

There is a big sudden uptake in umbrella companies for public sector contractors.

Sudden Demand for Umbrella Companies

Another contractor website owner told us that he was snowed under by public sector contractors wanting umbrella companies.

A provider of umbrella company services told us that they are snowed under too.

They are telling us that they are getting one contractor applying to join them from a public sector department and then getting the contact details from him, or her, of other contractors in the department who want them to contact them about joining them.

It’s an absolute stampede of public sector contractors out of PSCs and into umbrella companies.

Many more are doing this than leaving the public sector.

I’m sure that many more of them would like to quit.

Public Sector Business and Systems Knowledge

However, the reality is that their skills and business knowledge pertain to the public sector and they are not going to be at the front of the queue for contracts with banks, telecoms companies or oil companies.

So, for many, the reality of the situation is that they have to join umbrella companies.

And that is what most are doing in their hundreds and thousands.

It looks like it is umbrella companies for public sector contractors now for the most part.

Ad – Simply Umbrella – Simply the Best

New umbrella product Simply Umbrella came into being to solve this problem.

It adheres to all the new tax rules. They created it after the Chancellor’s spring statement.

It’s just like other umbrella companies in that the contractor is an employee of Simply Umbrella but they get to keep far more of their money than through an ordinary umbrella company.

It could be a great solution for both public sector contractors IR35 problems and indeed any contractor.

To find out more just click on Simply Umbrella.

Or simply fill in the form below and they will be in touch.

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Favourite Umbrella Companies for UK Contractors

Favourite Umbrella Companies

Favourite Umbrella Companies

Many people have their favourite umbrella companies. That’s especially true for agencies who tend to only include those umbrella companies on their Preferred Supplier List who give them bungs for sending contractors their way.

The 2010 Bribery Act bans this but it happens.

However, that’s another story.

So, what constitutes a favourite umbrella company?

Dodgy Umbrella Companies

Firstly, one that doesn’t try to con you in the contract.

Make sure you read the contract and if you see any clause detailing any penalties for leaving the umbrella company, run a mile.

Umbrella Company Recommendations for UK Contractors

Umbrella Company Recommendations for UK Contractors

If they are being sneaky and duplicitous in the beginning that’s because they are, well, sneaky and duplicitous.

If you go with that umbrella company you really have started off on the wrong foot.

Umbrella Company Recommended by Agency

So, should you go with the umbrella company recommended by your agency?

You would if you were an idiot.

There’s almost certainly one reason, and only one reason, that your agency are recommending a particular umbrella company to you and that is that they expect to get a fee from the umbrella company for every contractor that they send them.

What about that then?

Too many contractors think of their agency as their agents, e.g. like the Mr. Ten Percents in the Acting and Football professions, who look after their clients’ interests.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

‘Your agent’ wants to extract as much money as he, or she, can from you. If they can possibly take half of the rate that is paid by the client for you then they would happily take it without any scruples.

Umbrella Company Preferred Supplier Lists

If your agency demand that you use a particular umbrella company, or an umbrella company on their Preferred Supplier List, you should refuse to do so.

If they tell you that you have to, ask them to put that in writing and see how they react.

It is illegal under the 2010 Bribery Act for agencies to induce contractors to join a particular umbrella company for a fee.

Don’t worry about standing up to them.

Umbrella Company Costs

Umbrella Company Costs for UK contractors

They won’t dump you. The main fee you get for them is the margin they get on your weekly earnings.

The bung the umbrella company give them is just a bit extra on the side.

They are not going to reject the main course for a little dessert.

Your Favourite Umbrella Companies

Your favourite umbrella companies should pay you weekly and pay you on receipt of your timesheets.

Certainly run a mile from an umbrella company who say “we’ll pay you when we get paid” or make you wait for payment.

Many umbrella companies pay you straight away so use one of them.

Umbrella Company Fees

Before you join an umbrella company, examine the fees they charge and what you get for that.

Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest. Go for the best service at the best price. Look at what they are throwing in.

Umbrella Company Fees and charges

Umbrella Company Fees and charges for using them

See, if they throw in are any insurances like Professional Indemnity Insurance.

They can purchase these insurances in bulk so they can get them for you more cheaply than if you applied for the insurances yourself.

Tax Deductible Umbrella Company Expenses

One thing that is very important, if they are to be among your favourite umbrella companies, is to find out of they’ll help you to claim expenses as tax-deductible – and what expenses you can claim.

You can more than cover the cost of your umbrella company fees by setting expenses off against tax.

Umbrella Company contractors already pay an average of £10,000 a year more in tax and national insurance contributions than a personal service company contractor does.

Don’t make it even worse by not offsetting your expenses against tax.

Umbrella Company Contractors Who Don’t Claim Expenses

I was astonished to find that between 50% and 60% of umbrella company contractors don’t claim any expenses at all.

That would increase the tax differential between umbrella company contractors and personal service company contractors to perhaps £15,000.

Soon you’ll be talking real money.

Travel and Subsistence Expenses

From April 2016, umbrella company contractors are longer be able to offset travel and subsistence expenses against tax if they are Supervised, Controlled and Directed by their client when working for them.

It would be relatively easy for you to change your contract and working practices to make it  so that you aren’t Supervised, Controlled and Directed by the client.

Umbrella Company Comparison

Umbrella Company Comparison for UK contractors

If the client previously gave you a piece of work, told you how long it should take and told you how to do it, supervised you doing it and where you should do it, negotiate a change in the contract and working practice here.

Supervision, Direction and Control

You are an experienced contractor.

Agree the piece of work to be delivered by the client and get the agreement signed off. Do the same with the estimate for the project. Agree that and get the agreement signed off. Agree where it is best done, at your home office or at the client’s site and document that agreement.

You surely don’t need to be supervised in doing the task. When the task is delivered ask your customer to give you a signed acceptance on what you have delivered to them.

If your umbrella company won’t give you advice on how to get these expenses offset against tax after April 2016 it may be because they don’t want you to be Unsupervised, Uncontrolled and Undirected.

They may not want not to change your contract to reflect your new way of working.

Outside IR35

Why, would they not want to do this?

One good reason, from their point of view, is that Supervision, Control and Direction is one of the three major planks of IR35.

The other two major planks are the Right of Supervision and Mutuality of Obligations, i.e. the obligation for them to pay you for turning up and for them to pay you whether there is work for you or not.

IR35 and UK Contractors - Inside or Otsideu

IR35 and UK Contractors and the tax they pay

If you are able to get outside the first plank of IR35, i.e. Supervision, Direction and Control, and you enter a Right of Substitution clause in your contract, then you are only a very short step away from being outside IR35 altogether – and not have to lose all that money each year by being in an umbrella company.

Maybe that’s why many umbrella companies are not too bothered about their contractors not claiming any expenses at all against tax.

Onshore or Offshore Umbrella Companies

Of course, the favourite umbrella companies for contractors could be either onshore ones or offshore umbrella companies.

The average IT Contractor earns £425 a day. That equates to around £100,000 a year once you take out time off.

An onshore PAYE umbrella company contractor would keep somewhere between £60,000 and £65,000 in tax and NI contributions.

Offshore Schemes for UK contractors to save tax

Offshore Schemes for UK contractors to save tax

An offshore umbrella company contractor would keep somewhere between 85% and 90%, depending on circumstances, mostly on what they earn.

Umbrella Company Alternatives

So, the offshore umbrella company contractor could be keeping as much as £40,000 more than an onshore umbrella company contractor – particularly one who doesn’t claim any expenses.

Other alternatives to onshore umbrella companies include Tax Efficient Limited Companies for Contractors.

Both return £85% or more to contractors.

Best Financial Options for Contractors Now

Best Financial Options for UK Contractors

Best Financial Options for Contractors

We look at the best financial options available for UK Contractors.

Retention levels available for contractors

One of the key decisions for contractors is which method to contract through.

This impacts on the amount of your fee you actually keep after taxes, administration and accountancy.

They have put this further into the spotlight following the changes to dividend taxation and travel and subsistence expenses for employees.

However, these changes will have a negative impact on the amount of money that will end up in your bank account.

So, contractors will pay extra amounts in tax and national insurance once the changes come into force.

Below is a summary of the options available and a summary of their position for tax and the likely level of retention a contractor can expect.

For the purposes of the article we will assume that the contractor is a single IT worker, of 40 with a standard tax code and a 12 month contract for £350 per day.

He works 5 days per week and 48 weeks of the year (annual income of £84,000).

This worker spends £8k per year on travel and subsistence.

Self Employed Contractors

There has been no significant impact to the status of a self-employed person. As before, the key obstacle is IR35 (and the rules are going to be subject to revision).

So, a self-employed person has to pay Income Tax and class 2 and 4 National Insurance.

Other than the deduction of expenses that relate directly to their employment, there are no commonly used methods of tax planning.

In addition, the self-employed person has to either undertake all administration for invoicing and collection.

Plus they also have the responsibility for making payments for tax when they fall due, or engage an accountant to do this.

There may be a large tax bill at the end of the period to settle.

So, the contractor here would retain 67-78% of their income.

Limited Company Contractors

The ability to use dividends is a key element in tax planning for those contractors who operate Limited Companies.

Dividends are taxed at a much lower rate than salary. There is currently an effective rate after tax credit of

  1. 0% up to £31,785,
  2. 25% above this up to £150,000, and
  3. 30.56% on any earnings above £150,000.

Going forward the removal of the tax credit on dividends will result in dividends being taxed at 10% up to £31,785.

Although there is a £5,000 tax-free dividend allowance.

They will tax them at 32.5% above this up to £150,000. They will aslo tax them at 37.5% on any earnings above £150,000.

So, this change will have a huge impact on contractors that operate a Limited Company. The benefit of making drawings in the form of dividends rather than salary has been greatly reduced.

In the 2014-15 tax year, our Limited Company contractor could retain 72.92% of their income.

However, moving forward into the 2015-16 tax year this will drop to 65.79% due to the changes in dividend tax.

There will, also, be costs associated and administration associated with the operation of a Limited Company.

There will, also, potentially be the need to control invoicing and collect payments.

Umbrella Company Contractors

Becoming an employee of an Umbrella has been a popular method of tax planning and also reducing the administrative burden for contractors.

The Umbrella will manage all invoicing, collection and taxation matters and pay the contractor their net fee.

By becoming an employee of the umbrella, it enables the company to deduct travel of subsistence expenses. These are not allowable deductions of self-employed workers.

Therefore, in the case of our contractor, using an Umbrella under current rules would provide a retention of 63.96% of their fee.

So, going forward into the new rules for Umbrellas, the retention drops to 59.30%.

Limited Partnerships Compliance with UK Tax Rules

Among the rules they have ensured their compliance with are:

1. Transfer of Assets Abroad Legislation – Chapter 2, Part 13 ITA 2007

2. DOTAS

3. GAAR – Section Part 5 FA 2013

4. IR35

5. Part 3, Chapter 7, ITEPA 2003

6. The newly announced Onshore Intermediaries guidance, 9 July 2015

Best Financial Options for Contractors Summary

So for each of the four options, the expected retention after taxes and fees is as follows:

Route                  2014-15  2015-16

Self Employed        67.78%      67.78%

Limited Company  72.92%  65.79%

Umbrella                   63.96%  59.3%

Tax Efficient Limited Company –  No less than 85%  No less than 85%

So, choose the best financial options for you.

UK Contractors Blackest Day Ever – Was it?

UK Contractors Blackest Day

UK Contractors Blackest Day Ever

Yesterday was arguably UK Contractors blackest day ever. Only the day they set up IR35 in 1999 could rival it. IR35 did not affect the majority of UK Contractors, however, like yesterday did.

It was the blackest, blackest day for Umbrella Companies who can no longer claim tax relief for contractors on travel and subsistence.

Umbrella companies’ best ever day was the day IR35 came in. They sprung up after that, disguising contractors as permanent employees so that they could claim tax relief on travel and subsistence for them.

No longer!

Yesterday was their worst ever day and the umbrella company industry will never be the same again.

However, the Chancellor also attacked those using limited companies. It was UK Contractors blackest day too. Read on for the impact of yesterday’s cruel budget on contractors which we got from an expert source.

SUMMER BUDGET 2015: UK CONTRACTORS BLACKEST DAY

The Chancellor of the UK delivered his Summer Budget yesterday. Within this there are a number of matters that will affect contractors. So, the main changes that will have an impact are:

· First of all, they announced a change to the taxation policy on dividends. Previously there was an advantage for those operating a Limited Company to take dividends rather than salary. This was available at a saving of up to 12.5% (on payments up to £150k).

However, the changes in the Summer Budget mean that they will remove the Dividend Tax Credit from April 2016 and they will introduce a new Dividend Tax Allowance of £5,000 a year. New rates of tax on dividend income above the allowance will be 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers, 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers and 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers.

· Secondly, they aimed the other impact at those contractors that are the sole employee of their own company (PSCs). Previously an allowance was available for those PSCs paying employers Class 1 National Insurance on ordinary salary payments up to £2,000.

Umbrella Companies Worst Day

In his Budget, Mr Osborne has now removed access to this allowance for those operating PSCs.

· First of all, a key fact of Umbrella businesses is the ability to offset expenses on travel and subsistence. This enables contractors to reduce their taxable income. It is one of the most widely adopted methods of tax planning in the contractor market.

After first being discussed in the March 2015 Budget Plan, it was announced that this relief is to be removed with effect of April 2016.

· Secondly, IR35 has long been a key area for both contractors and HMRC. It has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny. Again, the Government have chosen to review this. Although no specific guidance has been given, the likelihood is that this is an area of planning that will be open to a reduced cross-section of the contractor community.

 

Umbrella Company Reviews – Offshore Umbrella Companies

Umbrella Company Reviews for Contractors

Umbrella Company Reviews

Contractors often ask us for Umbrella Company Reviews. We are happy to oblige.

There are two types of Umbrella Company. There are offshore umbrella companies and there are onshore umbrella companies.

The Umbrella Companies HMRC prefer are the onshore umbrella companies. That’s because they get more tax from them.

Tax Avoidance Measures

So, Offshore Umbrella Companies are tax avoidance – but legal tax avoidance. They allow the contractor to keep from 80% to 90% of his, or her, money earned.

Contractors choose an umbrella company or a limited company. The Limited company options returns more to the contractor than the onshore umbrella company. However, offshore umbrella companies return the most.

We have offshore umbrella company lists and onshore umbrella company lists on other pages on this website.

Umbrella Companies Explained

Many of the offshore umbrella companies operate from the Isle of Man.

Onshore Umbrella Companies allow contractors to lay some expenses off against tax. The top umbrella companies are the safe ones.

Contractors can claim travel expenses and overnight expenses against tax as well as a few other things like pension contributions.

Umbrella Company Reviews and recommendations

Umbrella Company Reviews offshore and onshore

Umbrella Company Reviews and Comparisons

With an onshore company you would probably keep about 60% to 65% of the money you earned. With a Limited Company it would be maybe around 75%. With the offshore companies you would keep from 80% to 90%.

There are also companies which operate like the offshore ones but are onshore. They allow contractors to still use their limited companies.

Sometimes, agencies try to steer contractors towards particular umbrella companies. However, the suspicion is that they get commission from doing this. This is illegal under the 2010 Bribery Act – but they still do it.

Working through those offshore umbrella companies is the most lucrative for contractors. Using umbrella companies like that will have returns of up to 90%.

Umbrella Company List

To find some of these offshore umbrella companies, and more umbrella company reviews, you should click on Offshore Umbrella Company List

Contractors who want to find moneymaking opportunities should click on Contractor Moneymaking