High quality limited company and umbrella payment solutions for contractors

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1 High quality limited company and umbrella payment solutions for contractors

2 We provide market-leading contractor payment services in both of the compliant models available in the UK: Clear Accountancy Solutions: comprehensive Limited Company accounting and tax support packages Clear Umbrella Services: a UK-based, compliant, PAYE Umbrella service Clear looks after over 2,000 contractor clients throughout the UK and we have group offices in Greater London, Milton Keynes and Leeds. Our mission is to work in partnership with recruitment agencies that value a high-level of service, up-to-the-minute compliance and transparency. Why Clear? One-Stop-Shop We provide both payment models currently considered compliant in the UK. This means we can offer a costeffective and compliant solution for all your contractors, regardless of their circumstances. It also means we can give each client unbiased advice as to the most appropriate structure for them and their engagement, rather than pushing them into a solution, further reducing risk and increasing the length of relationships. Service We consider our main responsibility to be removing the hassle and administrative burden from your consultants. You give us the contact details for a candidate (or ask them to call us), we take care of everything else. We ll answer all their questions and have them set-up and ready to go in 24 hours. For umbrella contractors, we ll take care of payment (on time, every time), they ll receive an SMS advising them of their pay and we ll be there to answer any queries and resolve any issues. Advice We re on hand to provide advice to your consultants and contractors alike - whether it s IR35, AWR, tax planning or an update for your team on the latest legislation. We re friendly and approachable, we don t use jargon and we operate a same day response policy. Compliance and Tax-Efficiency All of our processes, documentation and operating models are fully compliant with the latest HMRC guidelines and are underpinned by specialist legal advice, including IR35, AWR, NMW, RTI, expenses and the onshore and offshore intermediaries legislation. We only operate a UK-based, 100% PAYE umbrella service and we have never offered any offshore, employee loan, payday-to-payday or other tax avoidance schemes. All our umbrella workers are employed on robust over-arching employment contracts, no expenses are processed without a valid claim and receipt and we perform random audits of expense claims to enforce this. We have IPSE-trained staff for IR35 advice and we provide tax investigation insurance. Technology We use market-leading technology, which makes it very easy for contractors to access and use our services and means there is a clear and robust audit trail of all calculations. Contractors can easily enter time and expenses online and get a realtime view of their pay calculations and limited company drawings available. Incentives We offer referral fees to agencies for each limited company and umbrella candidate but ONLY where this has been explicitly agreed and approved by the senior management of the agency concerned and all payments are made and reported in a fully transparent manner. 2 GET IN TOUCH

3 Service Overview Limited Company Umbrella UK- based personal service clients speak to an experienced adviser, who knows their account Guaranteed response times Unlimited specialist advice and support from experienced staff IR35 advice and proactive tax planning Full, tax-efficient business set-up, registration and induction support Comprehensive fixed price service including all accounting, tax and company returns Bespoke contractor online portal 24/7 view Ongoing tax-efficiency advice maximising remuneration whilst remaining compliant Same day company formation and help with bank account set-up Contractor insurance packages and specialist financial services and legal partnerships Compliant PAYE umbrella service AWR, NMW and expenses compliant Guaranteed pay by specified date and daily payrolls SMS messaging to confirm payment Guaranteed customer service response times UK-based staff with experience and knowledge of each account Same day sign-up Comprehensive service: training, on-boarding, set-up, payment and query resolution everything taken care of Market-leading, specialist technology portal for contractors to easily claim expenses, sign contracts and view payslips and gross rate to net pay analysis Full insurance cover 3

4 Compliance Checklist How We Keep You Safe Key areas where we keep agencies and contractors safe and compliant include: Choice of structure: by offering both a PAYE-umbrella option and a limited company solution, we can make sure each contractor is set up with the structure that is appropriate and tax-efficient for their circumstances. IR35: our in-house, IPSE-accredited experts can advise on the probable IR35 status of contracts and assignments. Right to work: we will ensure all contractors provide proof of their right to work in the UK before an assignment, usually an EU passport, or a Visa or similar right-to-work document in some cases. Money laundering: all limited company contractors are checked using a leading identity-check service. Agency Workers Regulations (AWR): our system automatically flags any contractor that has been working on an assignment for more than 12 weeks. We will send you a match pay questionnaire, from which we can determine whether AWR is being complied with. Expense claims: we only process allowable and evidenced expenses, that have been specifically claimed by the contractor and are incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively for the purposes of their assignment. To be able to claim, the contractor must have incurred an actual expense and be able to evidence this and they will all receive a copy of our expenses policy. We undertake random audits each month to ensure this is the case. National minimum wage: all contractors are paid minimum wage in all circumstances. Minimum wage is always made up of salary only and no other element, such as expenses, is ever used to comprise NMW. Where expenses claimed would reduce the salary element of a contractor s remuneration to below the NMW, the system automatically stops the necessary amount of expenses being claimed and included in pay calculations, preserving NMW as 100% salary. Added Value Some of the things where we go above and beyond: Training updates for groups of agency staff or contractors, on site if required You give us a contractor s name and number, we ll take care of everything else 24-hour set-up and assistance with business bank accounts and specialist insurance Potential to fund payments to umbrella contractors and improve your cashflow 4 GET IN TOUCH

5 Limited Company vs. Umbrella With a limited company, the contractor has their own company, a separate legal entity, often called a Personal Service Company (PSC). The contractor becomes a director and shareholder of the company and they ll need to arrange insurance and a bank account, both of which we can help with. The contractor invoices their agency or client, normally monthly or weekly, and the money is paid into the company bank account. The contractor takes their remuneration from the company, in the most tax-efficient manner, as advised by their accountant. With an umbrella service, the contractor becomes an employee of the umbrella company. The contractor submits their timesheet to the agency or the umbrella company and the agency (or end-client) pays the umbrella at an agreed rate. The umbrella company then deducts PAYE income tax and national insurance, as well as any valid expense claims and pays the contractor net as a mixture of salary, expenses and holiday pay. An umbrella solution is simple, means no unexpected tax bills and no requirement for the contractor to raise invoices but also retains the ability to claim legitimate expenses and increase take home pay. The key advantage of a limited company structure is that it is nearly always considerably more tax-efficient and results in a higher take-home pay for the contractor, due to the tax rates and treatment of dividends, the range of expenses that can be claimed and the flat rate VAT scheme. In addition, the contractor has more control over their own money, without being dependent on the umbrella for chasing and paying their income. However, this option is only available for genuine freelance contractors that are in business on their own account and not caught by IR35 see below. We will advise on this on a case-by-case basis. There is some extra responsibility and paperwork involved in operating a limited company, although Clear Accountancy will take care of all this for the contractor, with the minimum of hassle and on an ongoing basis there is little more to do than with an umbrella solution. However, an umbrella solution is normally recommended for contractors that only intend to work independently for a short period of time, before going back to permanent employment. 5

6 Compliance Guides IR35 IR35 is the key thing to consider for a contractor opting for the limited company route. In 2000, HMRC brought in legislation to stop people that were really employees, setting themselves up to get paid via a limited company, with all the associated tax advantages. To be able to legitimately operate via a limited company, a contractor must be able to prove that they are facing the same risks and rewards as someone in business, as opposed to an employee, based on both the wording of their contract and their working practices. If a contractor is deemed to be caught by IR35, they will have to treat any income from their company effectively as if it was salary for tax purposes, therefore eroding much of the tax benefit. There are no simple rules but there are some commonly agreed key tests, based on previous cases, and we can review each case to ensure these are met or advise where there is a risk. Dividend vouchers it is also important that limited company contractors correctly draw their remuneration, claim only allowable expenses and correctly evidence any dividends. We will take care of this. Clear Accountancy has staff that have been trained by IPSE to review contracts and advise on IR35 status. We always advise in a pragmatic, commercial way. We also provide tax investigation insurance and our systems ensure there are accurate records of remuneration and documentation to evidence dividend payments. Agency Workers Regulations The AWR regulations came into force in 2011, primarily to protect low paid temporary workers. Most limited company contractors will automatically be out of scope of the legislation, by virtue of the relationship being a business-to-business one (agency/client to limited company), so AWR only applies to PAYE and umbrella contractors. The regulations cover both equal treatment and equal pay. From the beginning of an assignment, the contractor must enjoy the same access to workplace facilities and permanent vacancies as permanent staff. However, the main impact of the legislation is that, after 12 weeks of working for a given client or contract in the same role, a contractor must be receiving a pay package (including basic pay, overtime, commission, shift pay, performance bonuses and holiday pay) that is the equivalent of permanent workers doing the same job. Our systems will flag which contractors are approaching 12 weeks and we will send the relevant agency or client an approved questionnaire covering the pay level of both the contractor and comparable permanent staff. This needs to be completed by the end client and as long as it shows the contractor earning a comparable amount to the permanent workforce, this covers off the risk. There have been relatively few cases in relation to AWR and often temporary contractors are actually paid more than their permanent counterparts. Expenses Claiming expenses is a huge area of importance for contractors as it can reduce their tax bill. However, only certain expenses can be claimed and they have to be wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in their work. For an umbrella contractor, the compliance regime is particularly important. For an umbrella worker to be able to claim travel, subsistence and other incidental expenses in relation to an assignment: The workplace must meet the criteria of being a temporary one The contractor must be employed on a robust and overarching contract of employment, meaning they are genuinely employed by the umbrella company and can expect to work for it on multiple assignments. If this is not the case, the contractor will be deemed to be working at a permanent place of work, since it will work at one location for the entire employment The contractor must not be at the same location, nor expect to be at the same location, for more than 24 months An expense must have actually been incurred and be capable of being evidenced Our systems allow contractors to simply submit expense claims on line. We use proper contracts of employment, approved by specialist employment lawyers and we monitor all contractors for the length of time they have been on a given contract. We review all expenses before they are released for payment and use in tax calculations and we require receipts for all expenses that are not based on HMRC-approved scale rates for mileage and subsistence. Onshore Intermediaries Legislation This legislation was brought in in April 2014 and has pretty much ruled out any other form of payment structure for contractors, other than PAYE umbrella and limited company. It basically means that any services supplied personally by an individual have to be taxed via PAYE: Where the individual is not being paid directly by the end client and there is an intermediary of any sort in the chain (e.g. a recruitment agency); and Where the individual is subject to supervision, direction or control by anyone; and Remuneration is received in the form of employment income Umbrella services are not caught by the legislation as contractors are already paid under PAYE. Similarly, limited company arrangements are not caught as they usually operate through a mixture of directors salary, which is paid under PAYE, and dividends, which are not employment income. However, a number of other selfemployed models, including CIS, have been made a lot more risky as a result of the legislation, particularly since it is the last business in the chain (the so-called Intermediary Number One ) before the end client, often the recruitment agency, that is liable for the PAYE, unless it has been deducted and paid further down the chain, for example by an umbrella company. There are also related reporting requirements that will be mandatory for all Intermediary Number One businesses from April This involves recruitment agencies and those in a similar position having to report to HMRC the details of all payments made, where they have not themselves deducted PAYE, every quarter, including details of the payee and an explanation of why PAYE was not deducted. This therefore includes all PSC and umbrella contractor payments. 6 GET IN TOUCH

7 Clear s compliance framework Culture, Documentation and Processes 100% UK PAYE umbrella solution Advice from experienced personnel Overarching employment contracts Specialist legal review Technology Systemises processes & calculations No non-compliant expenses paid NMW not contravened AWR flagged Legislation-driven Audit 24-month rule Expenses evidenced RTW checks AWR flagged and checked Protection Insurance cover IR35 contract reviews 7

8 Got a question? Give us a call

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