We are delighted to have achieved FCSA Accreditation and look forward to continuing the high standard of work we have always maintained and that it is essential to becoming an FCSA Member. We have also undertaken an independent audit by Markel Tax who work closely with HMRC and The Treasury and consult with them regarding current legislation. Markel Tax and the FCSA audit our entire business to encompass Umbrella and CIS compliance, tax compliance, AWR, Pensions, RTI, IR35 and MSC. AZebra will ask Markel Tax to review all terms of business between agencies and AZebra to ensure full compliance and protection. In addition, Markel Tax will also review terms with end clients to establish a suitable payroll route for the workers.
Following the introduction of IR35 reforms in the public sector in 2017, HMRC has confirmed that the new rules will now be extended into the private sector, effective 6th April 2021. IR35 has been in place since 2000 with the intention of removing tax advantages of providing services via a limited company for individuals who are not truly in business. However this was largely ineffective and resulted in many limited company owners working outside the rules. The changes to be implemented will place responsibility for the assessment of the employment status on the client. This will affect all organisations in the public sector and Medium and Large companies in the private sector. Small Private companies are exempt. As umbrella companies employ all their workers, the off payroll working rules do not apply. The legislation only covers self-employed contractors.
Legislation affecting Travel and Subsistence relief was introduced on the 6th April 2016. The legislation restricts expenses being paid to workers who work under an employment intermediary (Umbrella Company) unless they can prove they are not under SDC (Supervision, Direction & Control) in the manner in which the work is undertaken (how you do your job).
Subject to contract approval, we conduct an SDC test for each assignment worked on to establish whether the manner in which the role is undertaken is under supervision, direction and control. If the worker is deemed not to fall under SDC then legitimate business expenses may be claimed in line with HMRC benchmark rates.
AZebra operates a strict AWR policy, working with our clients to ensure full compliance with the legislation. We operate Matching Permanent Pay (MPP) for all workers who reach 12 weeks under Regulation 5 of the legislation. Our payroll system monitors the length of contracts and flags any contractor due to reach the 12 week threshold. In addition, if a contract falls within regulation 10 of the legislation, AZebra does have the facility to operate pay between assignments. This would need to be agreed with the agency and the contractor prior to commencement of the assignment
AZebra operates a fully compliant Umbrella Payroll Service which falls outside of the MSC legislation. We do have the options for contractors to be paid via self-employed and CIS following contract and self-employment checks prior to payment.
AZebra works with NOW:Pensions to administer our scheme. A letter explaining what auto enrolment is, who qualifies and how it works is included in our contractor welcome pack. We also explain what the process is for opting in early and for opting out after auto enrolment. Please also see our Pension guide in the download section.
Contractors can no longer determine their IR35 status when working in the Public Sector and this will now fall to the agency or third party to firstly determine the contractors IR35 status; and secondly, if inside of IR35, it is now their responsibility to calculate the Tax, and NICs and pay these across as well as provide RTi information. We work closely with our specialist advisors and can provide you with the advice and guidance needed to help you navigate these changes as well as the best solutions for your workers.
These restrictions were due to be applied to the private sector in April 2020 but have now been put back to April 2021. We will keep you updated on news and updates as and when they happen.
Azebra cover all industry sectors, with some having their own dedicated teams such as Teaching, Driving and Construction. This allows our employees to specialise in and understand your industry. We aim to employ people with experience in those sectors and encourage the teams to visit industry events and keep up to date with changes to adapt to your needs. It also means you have a dedicated team looking after your account giving a prompt response to all questions and queries.
Our Customer Service team is dedicated to compliance, service and customer satisfaction. There’s no question they can’t answer, or a task they won’t do. It’s what AZebra does best, so this team is central to the way our business is run.
All contractors receive a welcome pack immediately after their sign up call. This includes a welcome letter summarising the sign up call, contract of employment, assignment schedule and other useful information. A request for signed returned contract and ID is included.
We have consciously chosen to not place inbound calls in a queue. We believe that you should be able to talk to a person every time you call. All our staff are trained to answer basic queries, however our specialist teams are always available to answer more specific questions.
We call each contractor after they have received their first weeks payment. We ensure that the contractor is happy with the service and has understood their payslip and the deductions that have been made.
We will not allow anyone to be employed by AZebra if they are unable to show us their right to work in the UK, and the appropriate ID.
We require: Proof of right to work in the UK. This need to be a stamp in a current passport or Biometric Residence Permit. We will track expiry dates and request updated copies for our records. Biometric Residence Permit – will state any work the contractor cannot do, an expiry date or will state there is no limit on time allowed to remain in the UK. Itwill also state if there is a limit on the hours which can be worked.
Please see the tables below for extra clarification:
Contractors can sign up with AZebra by telephone or by completing our application form. One of our advisors will go through the complete process with the worker. They will establish whether they qualify for the Umbrella Scheme and then proceed to cover the following:
• New referrals are called within 1 hour.
• Umbrella payroll explained in full, including expenses, deductions and procedures.
• Contractor sent welcome pack.
• Agency sent contract for services informing them of contractor registration.
• Consultants informed daily of referrals unable to be contacted.
Our dedicated staff look after your agency and ensure that the service you get is the highest available in the industry. We don’t mind if you pay just one or a thousand people through AZebra, either way you are given the same level of care and the same customer service steps are followed.