Employment Status

Are you a contractor? If you work for someone else, it is important to know whether you are working for that person in an employed capacity or in a self-employed capacity as an independent contractor.

Your employment status will determine the charge to tax on income from your employment or self-employment. It will also determine the class of NICs, which are to be paid.

Umbrella Companies employ you for tax purposes and complete central returns for all their contractors. It's less hassle and more flexible for you but take home pay is typically less than that the limited company option.

The best option for you depends on your plans, 'one off' contract or 'contractor for life'? [Read More...]

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Ten Must Ask Umbrella Company Questions for Contractors

Ten Questions to ask an Umbrella company

Are you thinking of becoming a contractor? Excellent, UK businesses depend on contractors to augment their workforce and provide specailist skills for projects and development.  Contracting can lead into permenant positions, almost a try before you buy policy that works well for the employer and employee

Are you new to contracting? Congratulations, contracting provides rewarding careers with diversity and challenge.

Suddenly found yourself in need of your own limited company or an umbrella company?  It very common, the excitement of finding your first contract or new contract to to fear and uncertainty as you discover you dont know what an umbrella company is or how to run your own business.

Not sure which option is best? Don't fancy spending hours of your 'free' time in front of the computer filling in forms and spreadsheets? Then you'll need to know more about the umbrella company service.

New contractors need to know:

  1. What umbrella companies do
  2. How to choose the best umbrella company
  3. What it costs to join an umbrella company
  4. How to compare different umbrella companies
  5. WHAT are the right questions to ask?

If you've just decided to start contracting you probably don't know what questions you should be asking.

  • To make life a lot simpler Umbrella Compare identifies exactly what questions you should be thinking about, together with some handy hints on what answers you should be looking for.
  • Umbrella Compare aims to ensure that you have the right information so that you choose the best umbrella company for your contract and circumstances.

Fast Food of Accounting

Umbrella companies are quick fix, efficient, low cost, low commitment flexaible payroll and accounting solution for contractors.

  • An umbrella company is simply a ready-made limited company. Think of it as the fast-food of accounting. You access the benefits of increased take home pay but don't get the hassle and legal commitments of running your own limited company. Umbrella companies started to become popular over ten years ago. In those days there were only a handful of umbrella companies, today you can choose from hundreds.
  • Given the massive increase in their numbers it's inevitable that some will be better than others.
  • Don't be fooled into thinking that 'longer lived' umbrella companies are always the best umbrella solution. A lot of the new kids on the block have cutting ede technology that links into HMRC and has data exchanges with Agencies to provide your payments faster, more efficiently at a lower rate than their counterparts.

Ten Questions to ask an Umbrella Company

  1. How much do they charge? And are there any extra charges?
  2. How many clients on their books?
  3. Can you claim business expenses? Do you need receipts?
  4. Are insurances included in the price? What are they and for how much?
  5. How quickly will you be paid after sending over your timesheet?
  6. Will you have your own account manager?
  7. Is there a formal complaints procedure?
  8. What are their opening hours? Does this suit you, if you need to call them?
  9. Can you leave them at any time without having to pay a penalty?
  10. What happens to your account when your contract ends?

Asking these questions should give you an idea of what it will be like working with them. Your relationship with your umbrella company is important, so don't make your decision lightly.

Homework Time!

Now you have the questions you need, it's time to build up your knowledge base.  The umbrella company articles and contractor articles below under further reading are the best place to start.

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HMRC Compliance

It's the basics... Compliance with Tax, VAT, PAYE and fiscal arrangements is mandatory for contractors regardless of whether you use an umbrella company or your own limited company.

Incredible then that there are still rogue umbrella companies and limited company accountants who expose their contractors to fraud. Umbrella Compare provides THE solution, we thoroughly vet all umbrella companies and limited company accountants that we list [Read more...].

Umbrella Compare provides a holistic overview of contracting with the aim of helping new and old contractors find the right payroll solutions. Contracting should be about focusing on the contract, not payroll, accounting, HMRC and bureaucracy.