Frequently asked questions

1What is an umbrella company?
Umbrella companies employ workers who are on fixed term contract assignments. They act as intermediaries between yourself – a contractor – and your end client or agency. Your agency pays the umbrella company, who then pay you, the contract worker, through PAYE – as if you were a full-time employee.
2What is umbrella employment?
Umbrella employment is a type of employment arrangement that is often used by temporary or contract workers. It involves the worker becoming an employee of an umbrella company rather than being directly employed by the company the contractor is providing services to.
3Why do umbrella companies charge employers NI?
The 'assignment rate' which is agreed with the agency will usually be increased to factor in 'employment costs' such as Employers NI and the Apprentice Levy. As such, when Parasol invoice the agency, this will be for the assignment rate. Parasol will make deductions for the employment costs and our margin. The rest will be deemed as the employees 'gross taxable pay' which will then be subject to the statutory deductions.
4How much does an umbrella company charge?
Parasol will retain a margin of £29.75 per week however this is retained directly from our invoice which is before any statutory deductions. As such, the net impact will be as little as £13.79
5How does an umbrella company work?
Here's how it typically works:
Worker Engagement: The worker, often a contractor or freelancer, signs up with an umbrella company like Parasol. This can be a personal choice or a requirement set by industry legislation.

Contracting: The worker then enters into contracts with clients or agencies to provide services. These contracts are typically short-term and can vary in duration.

Payment Processing: When the worker performs their services, the payment for their work is made to the umbrella company rather than directly to the worker.

Employment Status: The umbrella company then pays the worker as their employee. This means that the worker is subject to the same employment rights and benefits as any other employee, including statutory rights like sick pay and holiday pay.

Salary Calculation: The umbrella company calculates the worker's salary, deducts income tax and National Insurance contributions (PAYE), and pays the worker's net income into their bank account.

Administrative Services: The umbrella company typically provides administrative services, such as handling payroll, taxes, and compliance with employment regulations, on behalf of the worker.

Continuous Contract: The worker maintains a continuous employment relationship with the umbrella company, even when they work for different clients or agencies on various assignments.
6How can I spot a genuine and compliant umbrella company?
Knowing a genuine and compliant umbrella company is crucial to ensure you're operating within the law and receiving the appropriate benefits and protections as a worker. Here are some tips to help you identify a reputable and compliant umbrella company:

Check for Accreditation or Certification: Look for umbrella companies that are accredited or certified by relevant industry bodies or associations. For example, the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) sets compliance standards for umbrella companies. Companies with FCSA accreditation are likely to be compliant with tax and employment regulations.

Research the Company: Conduct thorough research on the umbrella company you're considering. Visit their website, read reviews, and check their social media presence. Reputable companies should have a professional online presence and positive feedback from clients and contractors.

Ask for References: Request references from agncies and friends. They should be willing to vouch for an umbrella companies services.

Transparency: A compliant umbrella company should be transparent about their margin and take-home pay illustrations. They should provide you with a clear breakdown of how your income is calculated and any deductions made for taxes and National Insurance contributions (NICs).

Compliance with Tax Regulations: Ensure that the umbrella company complies with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) regulations. They should operate PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax deductions and NICs on your behalf and provide you with regular payslips.

Insurance Coverage: Check if the umbrella company provides insurance coverage, such as professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. Adequate insurance coverage is important for certain types of work.

Contracts and Agreements: Carefully review the contract or agreement offered by the umbrella company. Pay attention to any clauses that may affect your rights or obligations, such as notice periods, termination conditions, or exclusivity clauses.

Clear Communication: A reliable umbrella company should have open and clear communication channels. They should be responsive to your questions and concerns and provide timely support.

Compliance with Employment Rights: Ensure the umbrella company provides you with employment rights and benefits, such as statutory sick pay and holiday pay.

Record Keeping: Verify the umbrella company maintains accurate records of your financial transactions and provides you with access to your financial statements, tax documents, and payslips.

Avoiding Unrealistic Claims: Be cautious of umbrella companies that make unrealistic claims about tax savings or take-home pay. If it sounds too good to be true, it may be a red flag.

Check for Legal Compliance: Ensure the umbrella company adheres to all UK employment laws, including regulations related to the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) and the Off-Payroll Working (IR35) rules.
1How much does Parasol charge?
Parasol will retain a margin of £29.75 per week however this is retained directly from our invoice which is before and statutory deductions. As such, the net impact will be as little as £13.79
2Why choose Parasol?
When choosing an umbrella company, you should consider several factors, and the decision should be based on your individual needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating Parasol over other umbrella companies:
Reputation and Reviews: Research the reputation of the umbrella company by reading reviews, seeking recommendations from peers, or checking online forums. Look for companies with a history of reliability and good customer service, like Parasol.

Compliance: Ensure the umbrella company complies with all relevant tax and employment regulations. Like Parasol, they should be up-to-date with changes in tax laws and employment legislation.

Retained Margins: Understand the margins associated with each umbrella company's services. Compare what you get for the margin retained (Parasol's net impact to you is £13.79) to ensure they are competitive and transparent.

Support and Services: Consider the level of support and services offered by umbrella companies. Parasol is known for its high level of service, including assistance with tax matters, payroll processing, and administrative support.

Insurance: Check if the umbrella company provides insurance coverage, such as professional indemnity and public liability insurance. This comes with a standard £20 million insurance policy with Parasol.

Payment Processes: Understand how and when you will be paid for your work. Parasol runs 5 payrolls a day to ensure timely and accurate payments.

Transparency: Look for transparency in financial transactions and reporting. You get access to MyParasol to view your financial statements and tax documents.

Additional Benefits: Some umbrella companies offer additional benefits, such as pension schemes or employee perks. Parasol goes one step further with excellent "easier-life" perks like 24/7 GP access, discounted fuel cards, and Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Recommendations: Seek advice from peers in your industry who have experience with umbrella companies. Parasol works with thousands of contractors every month. We're regularly recommended.

But we still maintain, that before making a decision, you speak to several umbrella companies, obtain quotes, and ask questions about their services. We know you will speak to us again.
3Why does my Payslip look different?
When employed by an umbrella company, your payslip has complete transparency and therefore may look different and contain more detail.
4What is a margin?
The Parasol margin is the amount we retain from the invoices we raise for your work. This is a fixed amount per week or month depending on your pay frequency. We only retain one margin per period regardless of how many times you’re paid in the period.
5Can my recruitment agency force me to use a particular umbrella company?
No, you can choose any umbrella company that is compliant, however your agency may recommend a list of umbrella companies referred to as a preferred supplier list, this means the agency have a good relationship with that umbrella company or would imply they are compliant and reliable in handling your payroll.
6Why am I called an "employee"?
When working via an umbrella company such as Parasol you agree to a Contract of Employment with Parasol and therefore employed by us.
1What is IR35?
IR35 is a set of rules brought in to target tax avoidance in the UK contract market. The idea is to distinguish a 'disguised employee' from that of a 'true contractor'.
2What does inside or outside IR35 mean?
Somebody who is deemed as 'inside IR35' would be considered to be working more like an employee vs that of a true contractor.
3What expenses can I claim inside IR35?
Somebody who is deemed as 'outside IR35' would be considered as a 'true contractor'.
4What is the difference between inside and outside IR35?
Here's a breakdown of the differences:
Inside IR35:
Employee-Like Status: When a contractor or freelancer is deemed to be "Inside IR35," it means, for tax purposes, their working arrangement is considered similar to that of a regular employee.

Tax Implications: Inside IR35 contractors are subject to PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on their earnings for that assignment. This means that income tax and NICs are deducted at source, similar to regular employees.

Employment Benefits: Inside IR35 contractors are entitled to employment benefits, such as holiday pay, sick pay and continuous employment.

Less Tax Efficiency: Being Inside IR35 can result in a higher tax liability compared to working Outside IR35 because contractors don't receive the tax advantages associated with self-employment.

Outside IR35:
Self-Employment Status: When a contractor or freelancer is deemed to be "Outside IR35," it means that their working arrangement is recognized as genuinely self-employed.

Tax Responsibility: Contractors working Outside IR35 are responsible for managing their own taxes and NICs. They may pay themselves through a combination of salary and dividends if they operate through a limited company.

Tax Efficiency: Working Outside IR35 typically offers more tax efficiency, as contractors can take advantage of tax allowances and deductions that employees cannot.

Fewer Employment Benefits: Contractors Outside IR35 do not receive employment benefits like sick pay or holiday pay unless they arrange these benefits separately.
5What is disguised employment?
Disguised employment, refers to a situation where a worker is treated as a contractor or freelancer, but their actual working arrangement is more akin to that of a regular employee. This can be a concern because it may result in tax avoidance and the evasion of certain employment rights and benefits.

The key characteristics of disguised employment often include:
Control: The client exerts a high level of control over the worker, dictating how, when, and where the work is performed.

Exclusivity: The worker may be required to work exclusively for one client, which is more typical of an employment relationship than a contractor arrangement.

Integration: The worker is integrated into the client's workforce, often working alongside permanent employees and performing similar tasks.

Mutuality of Obligation: There is an expectation of ongoing work and payment, creating a mutual obligation between the parties, which is a hallmark of an employment relationship.

Lack of Business Risk: The worker does not bear significant financial or business risks, such as investing in their own equipment or marketing their services to multiple clients.

No Right to Substitution: The worker may not have the right to send a substitute to perform the work, which is a common characteristic of self-employment.

Benefits and Perks: The worker does not receive the typical benefits and perks of employment, such as sick pay, holiday pay, or pension contributions.
6What is a fee payer in IR35?
A "fee payer" is the entity responsible for determining and deducting income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from payments made to a contractor when the contractor is deemed to be inside IR35.
7Why is an IR35 review important?
An IR35 review is important because it:
1. Ensures correct tax payments.
2. Helps avoid penalties and legal issues.
3. Ensures compliance with tax and employment laws.
4. Reduces disputes and investigations. 5. Aids financial planning for contractors.
6. Clarifies client responsibilities.
7. Establishes clear contract terms.
8. Determines tax responsibilities for subcontractors.
9. Provides an audit trail for future reference.

In short, it helps everyone follow the rules, avoid problems, and manage their finances properly.
8Who is responsible for determining IR35 status?
The end-hirer (client) is responsible
9How much tax do you pay inside IR35?
When you're inside IR35, you pay income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on your earnings. The amount you pay depends on your income, but generally:
Income Tax: Rates vary from 20% to 45% based on your earnings.

NICs: You'll pay employee and employer NICs, with rates that depend on your income.
10How often should I have an IR35 status assessment?
You should have an IR35 status assessment:
1. When starting a new contract.
2. If there are significant changes in a current contract.
3. Annually or periodically for ongoing contracts.
4. When tax laws or HMRC guidance change.
5. When renewing or extending a contract.
6. In case of disputes or investigations.
7. Consider continuous monitoring for complex or long-term assignments.

Regular assessments help ensure compliance with tax regulations and alignment with your current working situation.
11How does IR35 affect contractors?
IR35 affects contractors in these key ways:
Alters tax treatment: Changes tax deductions and take-home pay.

Limits flexibility: Reduces financial control and tax advantages. Impacts employment rights: May grant certain benefits.

Adds complexity: Requires navigating tax assessments.

Influences contractual choices: Can affect job options.

Alters financial planning: Requires budgeting differently.

Requires Status Determination Statement understanding: Key for tax compliance.

Affects substitution rights: Limited delegation ability.

May require professional advice: For compliance and tax planning.

Impacts competitiveness: May affect service pricing.
12What is the end hirer responsible for?
The end hirer, or client, is responsible for:
1. Determining IR35 status for each assignment.
2. Providing Status Determination Statements (SDS).
3. Maintaining accurate records.
4. Communicating with the worker and fee payer.
5. Passing on information to intermediaries.
6. Handling disputes.
7. Periodically reviewing determinations.
8. Ensuring tax compliance.
9. Bearing liability for incorrect determinations under certain conditions.

Their role is crucial in complying with IR35 rules and tax regulations.
1Can I continue to use my current pension provider?
Parasol are happy to make payments into your existing pension plan providing the provider are happy to accept payments from Parasol
2What pension options do I have?
Parasol as your employer will be able to offer you a work place pension via NEST. Alternatively, we can continue to pay into your existing pension plan. We can also refer you to our partner CMME who can provide financial advice on all available options.
3What pension options do I have with Parasol?
After the first 3 months of your employment with Parasol you will automatically be enrolled into our auto-enrolment pension scheme with NEST. You may opt out, but you can only do this once you are enrolled. Further information will be sent to you by email so keep a look out for it. We also have the ability to make contributions into your existing pension.
4What pension provider can I use?
We have the ability to make contributions into your existing pension providing your pension provider are happy to accept contributions sent over by Parasol
1What is SDC?
Supervision, Direction or Control commonly known as SDC is a determination that Parasol are required to carry out via assessment, and determines whether you are able to claim Parasol mileage. It is also used to determine if any client billable expenses are subject to tax and national insurance deductions.
2What insurance do I need as a contractor?
The assignment paperwork between the agency and Parasol will usually request Professional Indemnity and public liability insurance. This is included with both of Parasol's employment options as standard.
3What does contractors liability insurance cover?
Contractors' liability insurance typically covers a range of risks and liabilities that contractors may face while performing their work. The specific coverage can vary depending on the policy and insurer, but here are the common types of coverage typically included in contractors' liability insurance:
Public Liability: Injury or property damage to third parties.

Employers' Liability: Employee/subcontractor injuries or illness.

Professional Indemnity: Professional advice errors.

Product Liability: Harm caused by products.

Contract Works: Damage during construction.

Tools and Equipment: Loss or damage to tools.

Personal Accident: Worker injuries or disability.

Cyber Liability: Data breach protection.

Environmental Liability: Environmental damage.

Legal Expenses: Legal dispute costs.

Hired/Non-Owned Auto: Vehicle-related liability.
1How does IR35 affect recruitment agencies?
IR35 is a government legislation that applies to the client hiring the contractor, it would not affect the agency in-between.
2What is the benefit of a recruitment agency using an umbrella company?
Recruitment agencies may benefit from using an umbrella company in several ways:
Streamlined Payroll and Administration: An umbrella company handles payroll, including tax deductions and National Insurance Contributions (NICs), on behalf of the agency's contractors. This reduces the administrative burden for the agency, allowing them to focus on their core activities of recruitment and client management.

Compliance and Risk Management: Umbrella companies are well-versed in tax and employment laws, including IR35 regulations. They can help ensure that contractors are engaged compliantly, reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties associated with incorrect tax classifications.

Attracting Contractors: Many contractors prefer to work through umbrella companies because it simplifies their tax affairs and provides certain employment rights and benefits. Recruitment agencies that offer umbrella company services may attract a larger pool of contractors, making it easier to fill job vacancies.

Competitive Advantage: Offering umbrella company services can be a competitive advantage for recruitment agencies. It demonstrates a commitment to compliance and supporting contractors, which can differentiate the agency in the market.

Contractor Support: Umbrella companies often provide additional services, such as assistance with pensions, and employee benefits. This can enhance the overall experience for contractors and help build positive relationships with agency clients.

Reduced Liability: By using an umbrella company, recruitment agencies may transfer certain employment-related liabilities to the umbrella, reducing their exposure to legal and financial risks associated with employment disputes or tax non-compliance.

Efficient Payments: Contractors working through an umbrella company typically receive regular and timely payments, which can improve their job satisfaction and reduce the need for agencies to address payment-related issues.

Expertise and Guidance: Umbrella companies often have tax and legal experts on staff who can provide guidance on IR35 and other compliance matters, helping agencies make informed decisions.

It's important for recruitment agencies to choose reputable and compliant umbrella companies to partner with to ensure the best results for both the agency and its contractors.

Additionally, the specific benefits may vary depending on the umbrella company and the services they offer, so agencies should carefully assess their needs and select a partner that aligns with their goals and values.

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