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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Best Umbrella Company 2013

Best Umbrella Company 2013

As 2013 drawers to a close Umbrella Compare looks at 2013 and the shift in the umbrella market.

Umbrella Compare (Formerly Contractor Supermarket), rebranded in July 2013 with a shift of focus towards enhanced social interaction and compliance. The aim being to look across the umbrella company industry holistically and provide a high standard of compliance in terms of vetting and approval. No other website in the UK has the same high standards of compliance. Whilst others aim/suggest that they provide a equal and compliant assessment, the reality is far from the truth though there are some excellent ethics and Umbrella Compare is hopeful that their vetting procedures are heightened in 2014. The contractor should and always must come first.

Battle of the Giants

Interestingly, Umbrella Compare has seen far fewer votes and interaction from the large umbrella companies this year. The contractors who do use and vote for their umbrella companies originating from the middle market. This is good news for the contract/freelance market. High quality competition is essential to ensure sustained compliance, good rates and quality of service in the industry. It will also be good for a market whose most senior companies are becoming a little arrogant in their marketing and self projection. Long lived umbrella companies will need to sharpen their toolsets to meet the challenge of the new, more technically competent and scalable umbrella companies. As we have witnessed from our friends in the banking sector, long lived and large companies are not always the best or most open and honest operators - a key factor in our drive to encourage contractors to choose an approved and vetted umbrella company. Vetted umbrella companies have to show a good deal of sensitive material to Umbrella Compare to be approved, this underpins a good business ethic and willingness to meet HMRC compliance and high business moral standard. Again, great news for the industry and contractors as services and systems improve with quality competition.

Umbrella Compare hopes to see 2014 be the battle of quality, technology and customer (contractor) focus.

Best Umbrella Company 2013

The contractors vote rules the day. Below are the top 5 umbrella companies for 2013 as voted for by the users of Umbrella Compare, ranked in the final order of ranking at vote close off. The voting system will be completely reset for January 2014.

Top 5 Vetted Umbrella Companies 2013

Vetted and Approved Umbrella Companies

Best Umbrella Company 2013

  PositionUmbrella CompanyFinal Score
  1 Contractors Umbrella Company 28.5
  2 Go Umbrella 20.5
  3 iBalance 20.5
  4 Tempo Umbrella 16.1
  5 Gabem Management 14.8

Top 5 Non-Vetted Umbrella Companies 2013

Umbrella Companies which have not completed our vetting procedure.

  PositionUmbrella CompanyFinal Score
  1 giant strongbox 21.3
  2 your umbrella 18.0
  3 Parasol Umbrella 16.4
  4 paraplus Umbrella 11.6
  5 Liquidity Group 11.6

Best Umbrella Company 2013

So, who will be the best umbrella company in 2014? That down to the contractors and freelancers of the UK to determine. The slates are wiped clean on the 1st of January 2014, we looked forward to seeing who will prove to be the contractors favourite umbrella company of 2014.

Umbrella Company Ranking Table - Vote for your Top UK Umbrella Company 2014

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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.