AUCAE meet with HMRC

It’s been a mere 4 months since the launch of, All Umbrella Companies Are Equal and the group has attracted significant attention within the industry, signing up 31 members who all promise to work within HMRC’s guidelines to provide a ‘risk-free’ environment for contractors to work through. The ‘straight talking’ logo means that all members are open about the way they work and are happy to answer any questions regarding compliance from contractors, agencies and even other umbrella companies.

Lucy Smith, one of the founder members and managing director of Contractor Umbrella Ltd said; “it has been refreshing to see the number of umbrella companies who are looking to work together to create a truly level playing field within the industry and for whom compliance is a central issue. However, All Umbrella Companies Are Equal has discovered that compliance is not high on everyone’s list of priorities. In a recent poll conducted on the website, which received more than 210 responses, 100% of respondents stated that at some point in their career they had been offered “more take home pay” from one umbrella company over another, which begs the question; how? The only difference in take home pay between umbrella companies should be in their margin.

As more and more compliant umbrella companies are losing business to companies claiming to offer anything up to 93%, All Umbrella Companies Are Equal have looked to gain backing for those companies who are not putting their contractors at risk of investigation from HMRC. Following a recent meeting with HMRC, where current industry issues were discussed, the group is pleased to receive support and guidance from the Employment Status Policy Team. Robin Wythes, Team Leader for the department stated; “HMRC sees the formation of any organisation designed to help its members to be tax compliant as a positive development and one fully in keeping with our strategy to support those who wish to be compliant. I hope that we can work together to support our mutual aim of all umbrella companies operating within the law.”

All Umbrella Companies Are Equal aim to provide advice to umbrella companies looking to be ‘compliant’, guidance for contractors looking for an open, transparent and ‘straight talking’ company to work through, and also as a valuable resource for recruiters. Recent press coverage has highlighted the risks that recruiters could face from debt transfer by recommending ‘non-compliant’ umbrella companies. However it appears that HMRC are now raising the stakes by looking to fine any company who is promoting these so-called ‘tax avoidance’ schemes. It seems that if recruiters are not doing their homework properly, they could be left with some hefty, unnecessary fines!

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