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If you’re looking for an alternative to full-time employment and you’re considering becoming self-employed, you may have thought about working as a contractor. To help you take the first steps, we’ve outlined all you need to know about contracting and the different business structures available.
A contractor is a professional who provides services to clients for a limited period of time. Usually, they will be hired for their specialist skills or knowledge or to fulfil a particular project and paid at either an hourly rate or a fixed fee for that contract.
Everyone has their own motivation for becoming a contractor. Some of the most common are:
Two of the most common ways for a contractor to operate are usually through a limited company or under an umbrella company. The route you choose will depend on your individual circumstances, the level of responsibility you’re looking for and how much control you want over your money.
Working under an umbrella company means that you will become an employee of the company. You have a contract of employment for a fixed period of time, under which time the company will manage your tax and National Insurance and pay you a salary.
Companies like Parasol will take care of your finances, which can help to alleviate some of the pressures of self-employment. It also means that you will be entitled to employee benefits such as sick pay, maternity and paternity cover and business expenses and you don’t need to worry about whether your assignment falls under IR35.
Setting up and working as the director of your own limited company is seen as a popular choice for contractors and is seen as the most tax-efficient way to operate. As a limited company director, you will control your own invoicing, your company bank account and can take advantage of tax efficiencies such as paying yourself a combination of salary and dividends.
For more information about the differences between the two, give our limited company vs PAYE umbrella guide a read.
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Appointing an accountant can save you time and stress when starting up on your own. If you would like to speak to someone about any of the above information or any other queries you may have, arrange a callback and a member of the team will be in touch.