Misleading Advertising: Umbrella Requirements Ltd t/a Umbrella Requirements breaks the UK advertising rules for making misleading claims and omissions for the tax arrangements offered on the https://umbrellarequirements.co.uk/ website.
Together with HMRC, the CAP Compliance team has been taking market-wide action about the advertising of tax arrangements. As part of this work we published our joint Enforcement Notice - Advertising Tax Arrangement Schemes.
The Notice applies to websites which advertise a tax arrangement to UK individuals or businesses that has been challenged by HMRC. The tax arrangement advertised by Umbrella Requirements Ltd was challenged by HMRC and subsequently this issue was passed to the Compliance team.
The following references on the Umbrella Requirements website breach the Enforcement Notice because the arrangement has been challenged by HMRC:
- “… This is why we deliver a personalised umbrella service that takes care of all your financial and administrative obligations.”
- “We are committed to complying in a responsible manner with the appropriate polices and processes to ensure the integrity of our tax liabilities together with timely and accurate payments. Where available, we claim relief, exemptions and incentives in line with HMRC rules.”
- “We do not use tax structures or engage in artificial transactions solely aimed at arriving at a contrived tax result. We do not accept any form of behaviour that facilitates the evasion of tax in the UK or elsewhere, whether carried out by an employee or business partner action for us or on our behalf.”
On the basis that the tax arrangement offered for umbrella payroll services on the https://umbrellarequirements.co.uk/ website has been challenged by HMRC, and contractors using the scheme may not be paying the correct tax and National Insurance contributions, we consider these statements are likely to mislead consumers.
Ads for schemes under HMRC challenge may be advertised – but it is particularly important to be clear and upfront about the potential risks to customers of entering into the challenged arrangement.
HMRC investigation does not necessarily mean that a claimed tax advantage will not be upheld. It does mean, however, that there is a risk that the scheme will not successfully deliver the tax advantages claimed, which should be disclosed. Omission of the disclosure of risk of entering the scheme is a problem.
The Umbrella Requirements website has not laid out any of the risks of entering into their tax arrangement as laid out in the Enforcement Notice.
The CAP Compliance team contacted Umbrella Requirements Ltd and, in the absence of a response, took the decision on 20 March 2023 to place Umbrella Requirements Ltd’s company details on this section of the ASA website. These details shall remain in place until such time as Umbrella Requirements Ltd t/a Umbrella Requirements has appropriately amended the https://umbrellarequirements.co.uk/ website to ensure compliance with the CAP Code.