Why You Should Not Use Comparator Websites To Choose An Umbrella Company?

12 May, 2020

It is always prudent to go through references, and enquire before purchasing any goods, or opting for any services. It may require an extensive market research to finalise a company with which you want to engage with especially when it comes to financial matters. In many cases, comparing quotes on different websites may prove helpful in making a decision; however in the recent years, many dubious websites have popped up which could land you into trouble with the taxman and may not deliver what was promised.

Furthermore, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), has released a tax avoidance bulletin, on 27th April 2020. It is known as "Spotlight 55", which warns that, using comparator websites, while choosing an Umbrella company may not turn out the same in reality. 

Why You Should Not Use Comparator Websites To Choose An Umbrella Company? 

Why would HMRC make such a statement?

The organisation has explained the matter elaborately. To put it simply, HMRC conveyed that, although comparison websites may act as a broker to find the right choice, however, a highly ranked organisation, may not be compliant, and promote tax avoidance. Further, HMRC has established a few points upon this matter, regarding what a non-compliant company may state to deceive a customer, and what to look for to evaluate the Umbrella company. 

What may a non-compliant incorporate in its profile to deceive consumers?

According to the warnings stated in the "Spotlight 55", the following statements can be found in a non-compliant organisation

  • You can retain 80% or more of your income after tax deductions.
  • Such companies offer a higher "take-home-pay" than you would receive from a compliant umbrella company.
  • Compliant tax effective payment.
  • HMRC Approved Umbrella companies
  • QC’s opinion

As HMRC does not approve any of the Umbrella companies, therefore, an organisation stating such facts is non-compliant. Customers who have opted for such companies have faced several issues before. 

How to compare an Umbrella company?

HMRC published the "Spotlight 55", to make every customer aware of the fact that comparing websites while choosing an Umbrella company may not be helpful. Moreover, one can be deceived by any non-complaint organisation. To help such customers, HMRC has provided a list of statements, which an individual should look for to choose any of the reliable Umbrella companies, such as the DNS Umbrella. The guide is as follows

  • The organisation is VAT registered.
  • A compliant Umbrella company will be registered in the UK and does not hold any offshore affiliations.
  • Applies PAYE tax and NICs.
  • You can use an over-arching contract with an Umbrella employee.
  • The organisation at least offers a National Minimum Wage.
  • The company offers a workplace pension.
  • The company pays every statutory payment an employee is entitled to.
  • A compliant Umbrella company such as DNS Umbrella offers to provide holiday pay to its employees.
  • Accredited from independent bodies such APSCo, or .


The government of the United Kingdom, along with HMRC, are applying various rules and acts to ensure a legitimate and transparent work environment. Further, it should be stated that the publishing of the "Spotlight 55", would help various customers to choose the right Umbrella company and receive a pleasant customer experience and a reliable service.