Whitefield and PSCs – an introduction to us and you
The Whitefield Tax team have many years experience – over 25 – of providing services to PSCs (Personal Service Companies) with a successful format based on personal attention and plain speaking.
Our claim to fame – or notoriety – is that, we were the first practice (under our former name Garbetts) to realise the implications of the now notorious 1999 IR35 budget press release and make public comment on it within an hour on the internet via what was known a Usenet – a pre runner of todays fora and social media.
A few days after that we were starting to brief clients, and refining our advice as more information came out. We correctly predicted how the final IR35 rules would look, bridging the gap between HMRCs (then Inland Revenue) initial unrefined thinking and what would be achievable in practice.
We can legitimately claim to have the longest experience with IR35 of any accounting or legal practice. A lot of water has now passed under the bridge of course, but our services and approach have stood the test of time.
We’re based on the Isle of Wight, which, to avoid any confusion, is part of England and no different to London except cleaner air and more green space – don’t confuse us with offshore accounting firms on the Isle of Man or Channel Islands – we operate under English Law.
For more about us as a firm, click here
This page focuses on our services for Personal Service Companies – if you are interested in more general accounting and tax services for business and individuals, then visit our Fees and Services page.
We use the term “PSC” loosely – generally its any knowledge based company, regardless of whether there is one customer or many, an agent or direct, IR35 is a close concern or is off the radar.
As we don’t just focus on IT contractors working via agencies, we bring a breadth of vision and commercial understanding that some specialists don’t have; we are happy to support clients with ambition to expand or broaden their business.
Charges and Services
Our PSC service covers contractors, consultants and freelancers in a variety of disciplines – IT, engineering, design, social work, accounting, legal services, strategic planning, management consulting, to name but a few. There are no particular disciplines we can’t assist. The service isn’t restricted to people who regard themselves as contractors / freelancers, its suitable for anyone with a company predominantly supplying their own skills and experience in the knowledge economy.
Our services for PSCs are based around a simple fixed fee to cover routine work – business accounts, business and personal tax returns, payroll (including RTI), checking quarterly vat returns, pre year end review and ad hoc advice on IR35 and other issues. The fixed fee for this is £1,000+vat pa, (£100.00 p/m including vat, payable by monthly standing order).
The only extras you may routinely face are IR35 contract reviews, £200+vat.
We also recommend tax enquiry insurance to cover tax investigations and enquires, including IR35, currently £150 pa inc vat but this is optional.
We pay a £100 referral bonus or new clients joining us, so clients can make a saving telling their colleagues.
Joining us – Company Formation and Transferring an Existing Company
Company formation, if requires, costs £120+vat = £144, and payment can be made at the time of registering or by phoning card details through. Just a note on this fee – you can form a company yourself at Companies House for £20, using the same service as we use. Our fee covers advice and guidance – you probably only form a company once, or a handful of times, in your life – we do it daily and know the pitfalls and practicalities. Company formation also covers your first months fees with us.
We don’t provide Umbrella companies or Managed Service Companies; in our view they don’t serve the needs of the majority of contractors very well. Our advice on them, and circumstances when they may make sense.
Getting Started with your Company
Choosing an Accountant
For a PSC/Contractor the choice of accountants and similar service providers is bewildering. Many jazzy websites, many dubious promises of take home percentages. A few thoughts:
- Services offered range from an almost complete management package for your company (although in principle this conflicts with the MSC rules) through to a portal for self managing your accounts and tax with an accountant on hand for questions, in many ways a hosted bookkeeping and accounting package with accountants support.
- We are unashamedly old fashioned here – rather than go to either extreme, we start from the premise that our clients are professionals and business people – like us – and we prefer to advise and guide rather than dictate. So in some ways our service is hands off – we prefer clients to ask for advice rather than us dictate, but to match that we are committed to both keeping our clients informed about the fiscal regulatory environment and being a “critical friend” when it comes to bookkeeping, accounts and returns.
- Watch out for companies advertising certain take home percentages – its attractive if an accountant says they can increase your take home by more than a competitor, which by implication means setting the tax bills lower. However it exactly the same tax rules apply to everyone – different take home illustrations from accountant to accountant can only mean more or less sophisticated modelling or differing base assumptions. Our view is this misleads potential clients, and glosses over the inherent complexities in the tax system.
- Different accountants take a differing stand on how forceful they should be with clients regarding IR35 compliance, ranging from almost ignoring it though to withdrawing if the client doesn’t take their advice – you will need to be assured your chosen accountant meets your own requirements in this regard.
- Preferred accounting systems vary amongst accountants from using spreadsheets, using bought in systems (eg Xero, FreeAgent, Sage QuickBooks) or proprietary web portals / off-line systems. You’ll need to be assured the accountants way of working suits you. Its also worth asking about flexibility – must you use their systems – and portability of data if its a proprietary system. We guide our clients to a spreadsheet solution, but are equally happy to work with a clients own choice on packages like Xero, FreeAgent, Sage QuickBooks.
- We are sometimes asked if we are IPSE (formally PCG) accredited accountants – answer no, as whilst we have a lot of time for both the IPSE we feel their accreditation scheme is a unnecessary level of bureaucracy. We have been working in the sector since before the PCG (as IPSE was then known) was formed – we were at the Barbican meetings in 1998 after IR35 was first mooted which led to PCGs formation – and rest on our reputation and ACCA membership. We recommend IPSE membership for clients.
Terms of Business
Accounting and Transaction Recording Spreadsheet
For information on our spreadsheet based transaction recording system, including downloading the excel sheet,
Auto Enrolment and Workplace Pension Reform is now a requirement, and this includes Company Directors. However many PSCs can opt out.
Professional Fee Protection
Although its not compulsory, we encourage clients to take up Professional Fee Protection (formally known as Tax Enquiry Insurance), for details see our Professional Fee Protection Scheme Page