Our founder Julia Kermode was delighted to be invited to give a presentation at a recent IR35 conference, attended by over 75 businesses that hire contractors. The event was run by Business Forums International (BFI) and aimed to give a crucial update on what has happened since legislation changed in 2019.
Kermode’s presentation covered the recent increase in umbrellas, the dubious practices that take place within the sector, risks to businesses and how they can protect themselves. Importantly their duty of care towards safeguarding their whole workforce (including contractors) from tax avoidance schemes was emphasised.
There have been many dubious practices in the umbrella industry exposed in recent years, and almost all of them involve doing something underhand with the money that ought to be ending up in workers’ pockets. Money that your clients have paid in the expectation that it will reach your pocket, and a portion to HMRC too of course. Some dubious practices are legal, but certainly not ethical, and this has got to change.
Reduced margins alongside other financial pressures mean that an increasing number of reputable and seemingly compliant umbrellas are up to no good on the side. Please don’t be fooled.
Worryingly there is also a trend of businesses blindly accepting certain compliance ‘assurances’ without any understanding of what these actually mean. We know of many instances where businesses are misled into believing they are protected from tax avoidance schemes, whereas in reality nothing could be further from the truth! If you have any concerns, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice.