10 May 2024

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has added a new name to the current list of named tax avoidance schemes, promoters, enablers and suppliers.

The most recent update was on 9 May 2024 with the addition Accent Umbrella Ltd (AUL).

HMRC has provided additional information regarding its interpretation of the schemes and how they work:

“Some employees of AUL receive their remuneration made up of two elements. The first element is a salary in line with National Minimum Wage rates that has Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) deducted. However, the second element has no Income Tax and NICs deducted.”

“HMRC’s view is that both elements of the payment should be treated as ‘normal income/as the user’s salary’, and therefore subject to Income Tax and NICs. HMRC have previously published Spotlight 60 on Disguised remuneration schemes involving agency workers and contractors employed by umbrella companies. HMRC are aware that some Umbrella Companies operate more than one scheme, for example a standard compliant scheme and a non-compliant scheme. The AUL website shows examples of contractors working in the medical and tech sectors. HMRC advise employees of AUL to familiarise themselves with the guidance and to satisfy themselves that the correct amount of tax is being deducted on their income. 

HMRC also advise employees to be cautious of following advice from published promoters to join other umbrella companies as in its first month of operation 100% of the employees of AUL had previously been employed by a previously published promoter.”

It is important to spread awareness of these schemes and to not get caught up in them. But, if you think you are involved in one, or know of someone who is, you can contact HMRC for assistance and guidance.