Crystal Umbrella

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Back in 2001, we decided that our business would always be fully compliant with all government regulations. To this day we maintain a 100% compliant approach and are proud to do so.

In April 2000, a new piece of landmark tax legislation, introduced by HM Revenue & Customs, came into force. IR35, as it came to be known, affected the entire contracting community and Umbrella Companies were divided about which solutions to offer.

The majority of contractor management companies and accountancy firms encouraged contractors and freelancers to set up Personal Service Companies (PSC) or to become part of grouped company structures know as composite companies. Both of these solutions used dividend payments to reduce (and sometimes remove completely), the Directors tax liabilities.

Throughout this period of uncertainty Crystal's owners anticipated that at some point HM Revenue & Customs were sure to take the view that these schemes were simply 'disguised employment', which would allow them to challenge the validity of the contractor and question whether they were actually in business on their own account.

The government has always perceived all UK contractors as being potential 'tax avoiders', due to the tax saving benefits they enjoy by operating as a Limited Company/Personal Service Company and composite style arrangements, whilst their true status was clearly that of a 'deemed employee'.

Even to this day, some 10 years after IR35 was formally introduced, some less scrupulous providers still promote high returns and obscure methods of trading, without appearing to take account of the individual contractor's requirements first. Anyone using these schemes runs the daily risk of investigation and the threat of having to pay back up to six years underpaid tax.

When you join Crystal, things couldn't be more different! We ensure that every new contractor becomes an employee of Crystal through a fully audited and legitimate Employment Contract. All Tax and NI contributions are then calculated, processed and paid directly to HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf.

This simple, but crucial difference is what sets us apart from the more, shall we say 'Fly by Night' providers. It's also what ensures that neither Crystal nor its employees ever contravene IR35 regulations in any way whatsoever.

Crystal Umbrella: fighting for professional standards across the industry

Crystal Umbrella is a member of PRISM, an organisation that was formed to provide a unified voice and a comprehensive set of standards for the umbrella industry. Their aim is to promote the important role the sector plays in supporting the flexible workers market; the fastest growing area of worker engagement.

Crystal Umbrella processes all income received by its contractors using the long established HMRC compliant standard, pay as you earn (PAYE) as a basis, so our compliancy is 100% guaranteed.

PRISM's Aims and Objectives:

Lead Objectives

  • To protect and promote the interests of businesses across the members sectors
  • To represent its members' interests relating to UK activities
  • To set clear standards across all the sectors its members operate within, including operational processes and procedures, customer service, transparency and compliant handling

Lobbying and Representation

  • Meeting Government and key officials
  • Carrying out surveys and research into the professional payment intermediaries market to ensure fair and accurate representation
  • Promoting the benefits of the sectors to UK plc and its importance in maintaining a flexible workforce
  • Obtaining clarity on compliance issues within the sector


  • Proactively engaging with Government and Civil Servants to promote the good work carried out by the sector
  • To ensure fair and appropriate responses to issues
  • To create the right economic environment for growth
  • Promoting high standards and compliance

Stakeholder Relationships

  • Government
  • Key Civil Servants
  • Recruitment representative groups and their members
  • Employers Group and their members
  • Professional Associations and Bodies
  • Trade Unions

PRISM provides advice and guidance to companies looking at taking a long-term view of the market and who choose to operate in a responsible and compliant way.

Crystal Umbrella and Prism

To find out more

Simply give our experienced New Business Team a call today on 0800 848 8888, chat to us online or feel free to submit your query using our quick online form

Ready to join?

Call us on 0800 848 8888, download an application form or open an account online