We’re welcoming record numbers of new clients who’ve left umbrella companies after landing an outside IR35 contract. Given what we’ve learnt recently about umbrella company skims and scams, we’re now offering free umbrella payslip audits to anyone who joins inniAccounts. Read on to learn more.
It finally feels like we’re reaching a turning point with IR35. The last two weeks have been our busiest for new clients appointing us so far this year. That’s welcome news in itself.
But what’s more interesting is where our new clients are coming from. Traditionally, the bulk of our new clients are first-time contractors and consultants. However, right now, our new clients are predominantly experienced contractors and consultants. For the most part, they were deemed inside IR35, closed down their limited companies, and started using an umbrella company.
The market, however, seems to be defrosting, rapidly. The most recent cohort of clients who’ve joined us are once again outside IR35. They’re leaving their umbrella companies, and we’re helping them to set up new limited companies, or revive their dormant businesses.
This isn’t the only data point we’ve got. We’re currently penning a much longer article where we explore a number of significant quantitative and qualitative signals we’re seeing in the market.
(FYI – if you’ve closed down a company and you’re setting up a new one, you’ll need to be aware of TAAR rules. Hopefully, your old accountant told you about it when you closed down! We’ll be blogging about it soon, but in the meantime, you can chat to our team or read this technical article over on Accountancy Age).
Umbrella Companies: The Wild West
During the last 12 months, vast swathes of contractors have been forced into umbrella companies, and some of these firms have reputations for shady practices. The chief executive of the FCSA (the trade association for umbrella companies) described the umbrella market as the “wild west”. Through the work we’ve done over on www.offpayroll.org.uk, we’re inclined to agree.
This year, we’ve checked hundreds of umbrella payslips and contracts and found irregularities that are leaving umbrella workers out of pocket – mostly for a few hundred pounds, but sometimes to the tune of thousands of pounds. We’ve written about the common skims and scams, contributed to a regulatory framework, and we’ve also launched FairScore, which provides an objective assessment of how ethical an umbrella company is. It’s fair to say we’ve become pretty clued up about umbrella malpractices.
The techniques used by umbrella companies vary wildly. The big headlines include withholding holiday pay (and then running down the clock to prevent an employment tribunal claim) and falsely deducting National Insurance on pension contributions and pocketing it. The smaller skims include payslips that don’t add up, through to charging umbrella workers for services they didn’t ask for.
The bad news for umbrella workers is that it can be really hard to see where the pickpocketing is happening. That’s where we can help.
Free umbrella payslip checking
If you’ve landed an outside IR35 contract, and you’re appointing inniAccounts, we’ll undertake a thorough audit of your umbrella engagement, for free, including:
- Your umbrella payslips
- Your umbrella P45
- Your umbrella employment contract
- Your Key Information Document
- Payments made to HMRC
Based on our experience, we know where to look to find all the common tricks and techniques that rogue umbrella companies love to deploy. We’ve built internal tools to help to track down missing payments from payslips, too. We can also check with HMRC to ensure that your tax, National Insurance and other deductions have been paid correctly, and not pocketed on the way.
Hopefully we won’t find a problem, but if we do, we can help too. We’ll draft a letter for you, (again, for free), to send to your umbrella company and we’ll tell you about the trade associations’ complaints procedures. We can put you in touch with the government departments responsible for overseeing umbrella companies, and we also know some brilliant legal professionals who are experienced in defeating rogue umbrellas, if needed.
Of course, as well as getting your payslips checked, you can look forward to our first-class accountancy service. Just last month we won IPSE’s Self-Employed Supplier of the Year award, thanks to our “strong sense of ethics and a thirst for legacy”. To find out more, take a tour, request a callback – or simply go ahead and appoint us today!