If you are going to leave permanent employment to start contracting or freelancing, you need to look for your options. In the UK, you can set your own limited company or you can work via an umbrella payroll service. Both solutions have their positive and negative effects depending on the situation of the contractor. The advantages and disadvantage of both companies are listed below, which allows you to make a decision that what is good for you.

Umbrella Company

An Umbrella company is a firm that acts as an employer to agency contractors who work in the UK. The umbrella company provides full employment rights to contractors including sick pay, holiday pay, etc. Let’s take a brief look on the pros and cons of an umbrella company.

Pros of Umbrella Company

  • An umbrella company allows you to increase your take home pay by reducing your income tax. You can claim your business expenses, which results in maximum take home pay.
  • An umbrella company provides you more time to finish your contract by handling the admin work. You can focus on your work without any hassle of calculating tax or sending the invoices.
  • Umbrella solution is a good option for those contractors who come under IR35 tax. An umbrella company will provide employment cover and thus help contractors under IR35 make the most of their current status.

Cons of Umbrella Company

  • You will not remain as independent as running your own limited company because you are not the director of the company.
  • Many of umbrella service providers bound you to stay with them for a certain period of time.
  • The umbrella companies charge you a massive sum of money for their services, which means you have to pay more cost as compare to limited company. Also, it decreases the overall take home pay.

Limited Company

In a limited company, you will be the only owner of the company and will be full responsible of financial matters. You have to maintain the accounts by yourself or through hiring an accountant. The limited company allows you to keep full control over your money, so there will be no fear of losing money. The complete pros and cons of limited company are given below:

Pros of limited company

  • A limited company gives you full independence to make your own policies and save as much tax as you can while staying under the law of UK.
  • A limited company allows you to save more tax as compared to Umbrella Company. Since you have full control on the business policies and other affairs of a limited company, you can easily opt for tax efficiency. One such example would be setting up pension scheme and putting most money in it. Since pension account is tax-free, you will be able to save tax this way. Similarly, there are number of other legal tax saving schemes that can be implemented when operating through a limited company.
  • A limited company provides you full freedom over your financial matters and increases the income as you don’t need to pay for umbrella services.
  • There is no risk of losing your money as you are getting your payments directly. With umbrella companies, you may lose your money if the company goes into administration. You won’t be able to do anything about it.

Cons of limited company

  • Setting up a limited company requires time and resources. You will need to follow a procedure for incorporating your company since a company is a legal person. New rights will be created and you will have duties and liabilities as company director. This may not be an ideal situation for many contractors.
  • A limited company require extra time to complete the admin work, sending invoices, calculation of tax, filling the self-assessment form, etc.
  • If you come under the IR35 tax, then you can’t take any advantage of setting a limited company. In fact, you have to pay more tax as compare to Umbrella Company.
  • When working through a limited company, you may need to hire a lot of other people, especially an accountant for keeping the books. This means additional costs that clearly surpass the fee you pay to an umbrella company for similar services.