IR35 for Contractors: Finding the Best Employer/Umbrella

IR35 for Contractors: Finding the Best Employer/Umbrella

Jan 27, 2021

In these difficult times of Brexit and repeated Covid19 lockdowns there are greater financial risks in the contracting chain than ever before.

It is therefore vital that you choose to work with businesses up and down the contracting chain that do not bring additional financial risks to yourself, particularly in these difficult times for everyone.

Crest Plus is financially strong in its own right but is additionally part of the second largest group in the UK within our sector. In these risky times you must consider minimising your own financial risks by working with financially strong partners who will not fail during the sadly inevitable difficult times ahead. We recommend you should always seek independent evidence of financial strength rather than just taking the word of your suppliers and customers. As we have been trading profitably for over 20 years and have a strong balance sheet, your payments are safe with Crest Plus as your employer.


When deciding how to help minimise the financial impact on you if you are caught inside IR35 you should consider the following factors:

  1. Is there a way to change working practices or contracts to keep yourself outside IR35?
  2. If not, then what are the contracting options available?
  • Umbrella
  • Agency or hirer’s own PAYE
  • Self-employment/CIS

Where deciding on your employment and contracting options the following factors need to be considered:

A) Can the umbrella company support me with the all the contracting options suitable for me? For example within the construction sector, genuine expertise is vital if you wish to consider working under a CIS option. Workers have often lost monies due to umbrella companies “playing” in this sector without the required expertise.

B) Can your umbrella company support you with IR35 determination assessments advice?

C) Can your umbrella company evidence independently audited compliance? Many hirers and recruiters now insist on FCSA membership from their umbrella company Preferred Supplier List partners because poor compliance within your umbrella company can, now more than ever, cost you in unexpected tax assessments and penalties.

D) Is my umbrella company employer financially strong enough to navigate the difficult period ahead? Do your own checks – many umbrella companies have unaudited accounts, are micro companies or have very weak balance sheets. This can evidence bigger risks for your own payments.

E) How many contractors does your umbrella company pay – a good sales pitch and website may gloss over inexperience and lack of people in the back office. One of our clients recently commented that they “would not rely on small businesses to pay our workers during a pandemic as unfortunately there is inadequate back up if staff are not in work”. This can seriously impact on you getting your money accurately and on time.

F) Does the umbrella employ genuine experts full time within the business e.g. Chartered Accountants? Many umbrella companies sell their own expertise but they don’t genuinely have it. This can lead to incorrect advice and trouble in the future.

G) What additional benefits do they give you as their employee? Do they provide free personal accident and commute insurance covers, do they provide free retail shopping discounts and give free mental health and lifestyle support for you? Such additional benefits can represent big savings and excellent lifestyle support for you and mustn’t be overlooked.

H) Look for evidence of professionalism and training – do they have Investors In People or ISO Awards? Lack of training of umbrella back office staff can cause you to be paid incorrectly and/or late.

I) Does the umbrella company’s own culture evidence a genuine caring approach and a “going the extra mile” culture – look for evidence of them supporting charities, and seek references from others.

Crest Plus have worked hard over many years to position ourselves to uniquely tick all the above boxes.

Contact us now if you want to join the many workers joining Crest Plus to take advantage of all the many benefits above and help you safely navigate all the impending issues arising from IR35 reform, Brexit and Covid19.

The Crest Plus Team would like to wish you the very best of luck in your future contracting. Why not contact us on [email protected] or call us on 01244 684700 to take your next step now.

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