Important Updates
Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Sprite Technical Services UK LLP (Sprite) is required by law to publish an annual gender pay gap report. This is our report for the snapshot date of 5 April 2017. These figures include Sprite’s permanent head office staff, in addition to contract workers. Only permanent staff are eligible for a bonus.

  • The mean gender pay gap for Sprite is 0.8%
  • The median gender pay gap for Sprite is -2.4%
  • The mean gender bonus gap for Sprite is 39.9%
  • The median gender bonus gap for Sprite is 49.2%
  • The proportion of male employees in Sprite receiving a bonus is 0.6% and the proportion of female employees receiving a bonus is 13.4%

Pay Quartiles by Gender:


% of Males

% of Females





Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them at or below the lower quartile




Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places above the lower quartile but at or below the median




Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them above the median but at or below the upper quartile




Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them above the upper quartile

The figures set out above have been calculated using the standard methodologies used in the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.


Sprite is committed to the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment for all employees regardless of sex, race, religion or belief, age, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability. It has a clear policy of paying employees equally for the same or equivalent work, regardless of their sex (or any other characteristic set out above). As such, it:

  • carries out pay and benefits audits at regular intervals;
  • provides regular equal pay training for all managers and other staff members who are involved in pay reviews; and
  • evaluates job roles and pay grades as necessary to ensure a fair structure.

Sprite is therefore confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work.  Rather its gender pay gap is the result of the roles in which men and women work within the organisation and the salaries that these roles attract.

In particular, the mean and median bonus gaps can be explained by the fact that during the snapshot month (April 2017) a commission scheme was in place for one particular head office department, which was predominately male. 

Furthermore, within the head office of Sprite, the proportion of permanent female employees is much higher within the upper quartile band, which is the reason why there is a higher proportion of females receiving a bonus than males.



Criminal Finances Act 2017: what you need to know

As you are aware, in the aftermath of the Panama Papers scandal the government gave law enforcement agencies new powers to seize suspected criminal property without bringing a prosecution.

From 30 September 2017, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 will make companies and partnerships criminally liable if they fail to prevent tax evasion by either a member of their staff or an external agent, even where the business was not involved in the act or was unaware of it.

The new rules target deliberate and dishonest behaviour. They do not create any new offences at the individual level - if activity would be considered to be tax evasion under existing law, then it will continue to be so. Likewise, if the activity would not currently be considered tax evasion, then the new law does not make it so.

Our stance

We welcome the new act enforced by the Government. Compliance is at the very core of our business and activities.


A business may avoid criminal liability where it can show that it had implemented reasonable prevention procedures, or where it can show that in the circumstances it would have been unreasonable or unrealistic to have expected it to have had procedures in place.

What firms should do

Firms will have to ensure that they have reviewed their current practices and procedures to minimise any risks, and to put in place appropriate monitoring and training of staff at all levels. The Act effectively makes owners and managers responsible for preventing their staff and external agents and consultants from committing tax evasion. The larger and more complex the business, the greater the risk that an activity may occur that could be caught.

More information

If you want to find out more about the potential risks of the changes to the Criminal Finance Act then please call us now on 01252 705 288.

Important documents:

HMRC draft detailed guidance (download PDF)
Criminal Finances Act factsheets
Criminal Finances Act 2017
Explanatory notes to the Bill (download PDF)



Taylor Review - Sprite's Stance

As you may be aware, Theresa May commissioned a report into modern working practices so that Government could make better decisions with regards to any changes that may be required of employment and tax law to keep up with new and emerging working trends.

One area of special interest is the 4.8m self-employed individuals that now make up over 15% of the total UK workforce, compared to around 7% at the end of 2000. There has been an especially sharp rise in the proportion of UK workers in full-time self-employment since the recession in 2008, which is mainly attributed to medium and large organisations ditching full-time PAYE employees in favour of self-employed operatives that can be brought in as and when required to allow those businesses to effectively control labour resource costs.

The main aims of the Taylor Report’s are to stop labour and workforce exploitation through the use of ‘irregular’ employment models and worker arrangements where rights and status are not always clear. Also, ‘fair’ taxation is almost always going to feature on the agenda, but may be difficult to get right for everyone.

The report features a number of recommendations for Government to consider and, no doubt, there will be more consultation with industry stakeholders to come before any legislation is changed or brought out.

At Sprite, compliance is at the heart of everything that we do, and we fully support initiatives that ensure businesses are operating fairly, compliant with zero-tolerance towards workforce exploitation.

GLAA and Crimestoppers join forces to end Modern Slavery

Sprite is an official license holder by the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority; an accreditation only given to companies that meet strict compliance criteria.

The Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) - formerly known as Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) aims to protect vulnerable and exploited workers.

The GLAA recently announced that it has joined forces with the national charity Crimestoppers, a registered UK charity, for an awareness raising campaign about Modern Slavery.

Through this campaign, the GLAA aims to gather more information which will enable them to protect, prevent and reduce victims of Modern Slavery. Crimestoppers provides an anonymous telephone line which offers a translation service in any language or an online form, all available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week – and both of which are 100% anonymous.

What is Modern Slavery?

Modern Slavery is a global problem that is happening here on your doorstep. This includes human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude or debt bondage. Victims can be men, women or children of all ages and backgrounds, who are controlled by force, threats, coercion, abduction, fraud and deception.

Over the last 3 years the GLAA have:

• Prevented continued exploitation of 11,000 workers

• Identified £19.2m-worth proceeds of crime

• Assisted 900 victims of labour exploitation

• Rescued 138 potential victims of trafficking

Sprite fully endorse this campaign by the GLAA and Crimestoppers to protect the vulnerable victims of Modern slavery. If you would like to know more about our GLAA license, please contact our team on 01252 705 288.

Compliance update (courtesy: Chartergates Legal Services Ltd)


The concept of ‘personal service’ has played a key role in determining employment and worker status for a number of years. For much of this time the importance of personal service was clear. Where an operative has a genuine and unfettered right to send a substitute to do the work then they do not qualify as an employee or as a worker. In many circumstances this is still the case.

However, over recent years the law has become more complicated and the division between the tax and the employment law jurisdictions has widened. Furthermore, our recent experience of HMRC enquiries has uncovered a trend whereby HMRC are attempting to use their tax and NI powers to investigate whether there have been any breaches of ‘worker rights’ including holiday pay. We have asked HMRC to provide us with the statutory authority that allows them to investigate matters like holiday pay but we are still waiting.

Regardless of whether HMRC has the authority or not to look into holiday pay their attempt to do so is another example of the ‘joined-up’ approach that is more likely to be taken by HMRC, the GLA and immigration authorities following the creation of the Director of Labour Market Enforcement.

All of the above means that the role of personal service has altered in some circumstances and this newsletter will analyse those changes and how the law stands now

TAX & NI (where there is an ‘intermediary’)

In April 2014 the Government enacted the Onshore Intermediaries legislation (Section 44 ITEPA) which fundamentally altered the rules on employment status where an intermediary (like an employment agency or an umbrella company) is involved. These changes removed the role of personal service in determining the status of individuals (for tax and NI purposes) who were engaged via an intermediary.

The pre-April 2014 position was that where there was an intermediary involved, the individual did not have to be treated as employed unless there was supervision, direction or control (SDC) and there was a personal obligation on the individual to provide the services. In short, where the individual had a genuine right to send a substitute (that was suitably unfettered) then the position regarding SDC was irrelevant.

The post-April 2014 position altered Section 44 so that the personal service element of the pre-April 2014 rules was no longer a factor. What we have now is a test largely centred on SDC without reference to whether the individual is personally obliged to do the work.

So, with regards to employment status, for tax and NI purposes (where an intermediary is involved) the issue of personal service (aka substitution) is largely irrelevant. We have heard of rumours stating that ‘models’ are being propagated whereby the changes in Section 44 (the removal of the personal service necessity) are ignored. Where there is an intermediary the legislation (and Parliament’s intention) is clear that with regards to Section 44 a substitution clause will not have a bearing on their tax treatment


Personal service still has relevance for employment law purposes and tax/NI (where there is no intermediary). This relevance persists and has done so since the seminal case of Ready Mixed Concrete (South East) Ltd v Minister of Pensions and National Insurance [1968] 1 All E.R. In Ready Mixed it was held that in order for an individual to be an employee he/she must be obliged to provide their own work or skill.

This concept was expanded upon in the case of Express and Echo Publications Ltd v Tanton [1999] IRLR 367 where it was held that if an individual has the genuine right to send a substitute and that this right is not unreasonably fettered then the individual cannot be an employee. The decision in Tanton led to a proliferation of substitution clauses being used in contracts in order to show that individuals are self-employed. Whilst Tanton gave clarity to the role that substitution clauses play with regards to employment status it also contained a warning for future Tribunals that would encounter substitution clauses;

“Of course, it is important that the industrial tribunal should be alert in this area of the law to look at the reality of any obligations. If the obligation is a sham, it will want to say so.”

In essence, Tanton was requiring future Tribunals to test substitution clauses to ensure that they are genuine and not a sham.

The concept of a sham was further expanded upon by the case of Autoclenz Limited v Belcher & Others [2011] UKSC 41. Here it was held that Tribunals must assess the reality of any obligations or rights that are written into contracts. Tribunals must be satisfied that these obligations and rights are the genuine intentions and expectations of the parties. To put it bluntly, if you include a substitution clause in a contract you must be satisfied and be prepared to show a Tribunal that it is genuine, relevant, can actually be utilised and consistent with the intentions and expectations of the parties. If you cannot then the substitution clause will be found to be a sham and ineffective.

So, with regards to employment status for employment law and tax/NI (where there is no intermediary) purposes a genuine, unfettered right to send a substitute will mean that an individual does not qualify as an employee.


As you will know from our various newsletters and seminars there is a third major status that is specific to the employment law jurisdiction. Where an individual qualifies as a ‘worker’ then they are entitled to some employment rights but not all. A ‘worker’ qualifies for rights like:

  • The National Minimum Wage
  • The Agency Worker Regulations
  • Holiday pay
  • The right not to suffer unlawful deductions from wages
  • Auto-enrolment pension
  • Whistle-blower protection

The test for worker status differs from the test for employment status (where there is no intermediary). However, one similarity that the two tests share is that where an individual is not personally obliged to do the work (they can send a substitute) then they cannot qualify as a ‘worker’ or as an employee. Consequently, an individual will not qualify for worker or employee rights.

However, as with the test for employment status where you are seeking to rely on a substitution clause it must be genuine and not be a sham. All of the provisos referenced above regarding substitution clauses and the need for them to be genuine apply equally to worker status. Ultimately, if a substitution clause is not genuine and cannot be exercised then it will be found to be a sham and will not be effective


The above article provides a breakdown of the differing role that personal service now plays within the major forms of status. It highlights differences in the jurisdictions (particularly where an intermediary is involved) as well as the requirement that any substitution clause be genuine and practically applicable.

As referenced above, HMRC are now seeking to expand their purview beyond tax and NI by requiring information pertinent to ‘worker rights’. We are still waiting for HMRC’s justification for this and in particular their current interest in holiday pay. However, what is clear is that HMRC not only have dominion over tax and NI but also over the NMW. This means that their interest in the veracity of substitution clauses is firmly within their purview and therefore the evidence provided to them could (following the new joined up approach) be provided to other Government organisations that do have purview over other rights.

With a rise in HMRC enquiries and Employment Tribunal claims it is crucial that where you are reliant on showing a lack of personal service that you are satisfied that substitution clauses are genuine, are agreed freely, can be practically exercised and are a true reflection of the parties’ intentions and expectations.

(source: Chartergates Legal Services Ltd)

National Minimum and Living Wage

UK's National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to all employees who are under the age of 25.  This is due to change on the 1st October 2016, as it does each year. 

You will also be aware of the new National Living Wage (NLW) that was introduced by the Government in April 2016 which is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to all employees who are 25 years of age and older.  

The NLW is unaffected on the 1st October 2016 and is next scheduled to be changed in April 2017 where the Government will align both the rates which will then only be changed in April each year going forward. 

New NMW Rates from October 2016

  Age Current rate Rate from October 2016
National Living Wage 25 years + £7.20 £7.20 (unchanged)
National Minimum Wage 21 - 24 years old £6.70 £6.95
National Minimum Wage 18-20 years old £5.30 £5.55
National Minimum Wage 16-17 year olds £3.87 £4.00
National Minimum Wage Apprentice rate £3.30 £3.40

If you have any questions, please contact Sprite on 01252 705 288 or email us on

Apprenticeship Levy

One of the changes to the Finance Bill 2016, to affect our industry, is the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which is due to come into effect in April 2017.

This is essentially a levy on employers for the purposes of funding new apprenticeships.

The levy itself is only payable by employers in the UK who have an annual pay bill of over £3m. The amount subject to the levy is the total amount of earnings paid to employees in respect of which the liabilities for secondary class 1 contributions are incurred, and the percentage at which the levy is calculated from the pay bill is 0.5%.

The levy is only payable by employers if the calculation set out above exceeds the levy allowance. The levy allowance is £15,000. Therefore, if an employer’s pay bill is exactly £3m (or lower) then there is no levy payable (because £3m x 0.5% is £15,000). However, if an employer’s pay bill is £10m in the tax year then a levy amount of £35,000 would be payable (because £10m x 0.5% is £50,000 – £15,000 = £35,000).

The levy will be payable monthly through the Pay as Your Earn (PAYE) process and information about payments of the levy must be supplied to HMRC via the Real Time Information (RTI) system.

We are finding that a number of agencies that operate their own large-scale ‘in-house’ PAYE are looking at alternative options.

If you would like to discuss this, or any other matters, please do not hesitate to call us on 01252 705 288 or email

Intermediaries Reporting - Quarter 2

Quarter 2 report Due - 05th  November 2016

Reporting Deadlines


Reporting Period

Deadline date

Date you can replace a report by

6 Apr to 5 Jul

05 - Aug


6 Jul to 5 Oct

05 - Nov


6 Oct to 5 Jan

05 - Feb


6 Jan to 5 Apr



Do you need to submit intermediary reports?

You must send a report to HMRC if at any time in a reporting period you:

  • Are an agency

  • Have a contract with a client

  • Provide more than one worker’s services to a client because of your contract with that client

  • Provide the worker’s services in the UK - or if the services are provided overseas, that the person is resident in the UK

  • Make one or more payments for the services (including payments to third parties)


If your report is late, incomplete or incorrect you may be charged a penalty.

Automatic penalties have been introduced for not sending a report or for sending a late report. These are given based on the number of offences in a 12-month period.  Read more about penalties here

Date that Sprite will be sending out reports 2016/17

Sprite will send you a report to submit if you are registered with us as an Intermediary.  If you do not receive a report and you think you should please contact us.


Week ending 14/10/2016 (already sent)


Week ending 13/01/2017 


Week ending 14/04/2017

The report will include the following information:


PAYE Operatives

Self-employed/CIS operatives

Limited Company Operatives

PAYE operatives will be reported as category ‘F’ which means the following information will be supplied:

  • Worker forename

  • Worker Middle Name

  • Worker Surname

  • Worker Date of Birth

  • Worker Gender

  • Worker National Insurance Number

  • Worker Address

  • Worker Start Date

  • Worker End Date




Self-employed/CIS operatives will be reported as category ‘A’ and the above information plus the following with be supplied:

  • Worker UTR Number

  • Amount paid for the Workers Services (Workers Gross)

  • Currency

  • If the amount is including VAT

  • Our Company Details





Limited Company Operatives will be reported as category ‘D’ and the same will be report as category ‘A’









If you require further information, please contact us on 01252 705 288 or via email on

Sprite's GLA License

At Sprite, our focus is compliance.

Compliance is at the heart of everything that we do, ensuring our clients, business partners, employees and subcontractors are safe. We are proud that the Gangmasters Licensing Authority acknowledges this, allowing us to provide our excellent service to agencies and subcontractors working in the agricultural, horticultural, shellfish and fish industries.

View our GLA Licence

Sprite have held a GLA Licence for 8 years; an accreditation only given to companies that meet strict compliance criteria. Rarely given to Intermediaries, the GLA licence demonstrates strong, ethical values through strict compliance procedures. We currently engage substantial numbers of temporary labour through our GLA licence and would like our clients to be aware, should this create opportunities for them.

The GLA (Gangmasters Licensing Authority) will become the GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) from April 2017.

The remit of this body will be widening from the sectors mentioned to allow them to monitor and report labour abuse in any sector, including both permanent and temporary roles.

Sprite is licenced to offer PAYE umbrella services to GLA contracts. If this could benefit you, or you would like further information on how we can engage your operatives, please give us a call.

If you require further information, please contact us on 01252 705 288 or via email on

OBK Group announcement

OBK Group (our affiliate) will become IN-SYNC Group on the 1st April. Read full statement by the OBK Group here

New Government Apprenticeship Levy

The new Apprenticeship levy which comes into force in April 2017 has now been set at 0.5% of an employers wage bill and will apply to firms with a PAYE bill of more than £3m a year.

Employers will receive an allowance of £15,000. The effect of this allowance is that the levy will only be payable on the PAYE bill in excess of £3,000,000 – employers with a PAYE bill less than £3,000,000 will be exempt.

Contractors can potentially expect to pay less than they presently pay to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) because of the way the new apprenticeship levy is set up. The CITB sets it charge at 0.5% but levy kicks in at a much lower payroll threshold of £80,000.

However this does not change the new CITB rules and regulations being introduced in 2016 for the self-employed, the CITB Levy of 1.25% based on an employers CIS300 monthly return to HMRC.

Many major contractors have already publicly said they simply will not pay two parallel levies for training. This will severely cut the CITB’s £160m annual fee income to a point where it will need to review and consider how it operates in the future.

James Wates, Chairman of the CITB, said: “While the announcement regarding the Apprenticeship Levy creates a challenging environment for CITB across Great Britain, we will continue to support industry and work with government to ensure the best possible outcome.

“Our next step is to engage in extensive consultation with employers and work out the most effective way to continue providing the construction industry with the skills and training it needs.”

Steve Radley, head of policy at the CITB, said: “The Government is very clear that it is for the industry to decide what role the CITB has going forward. “Clearly there is a lot of work needed to be done to determine how to fulfill the industry’s wider skills needs”.

“Our next step is to engage in extensive consultation with employers and work out the most effective way to continue providing the construction industry with the skills and training it needs.”

The government will establish a new employer-led body to set apprenticeship standards and ensure quality. The body will be independent of government and will also advise on the level of levy funding each apprenticeship should receive.

Autumn Statement Highlights

Here are the highlights from "last autumn statement" as Philip Hammond, the Chancellor announced that starting in 2017 Britain will have an autumn Budget and a "Spring Statement" from 2018, announcing tax changes well in advance of the start of the tax year.

  • National Living Wage to rise from £7.20 an hour to £7.50 from April next year
  • Employee and Employer National Insurance thresholds to be equalised at £157 per week from April 2017
  • Class 2 National Insurance contributions to be abolished from April for the self-employed (see paragraph 4.8 in the statement)
  • The government will reform ‘Off Payroll working rules’ for PSCs in the public sector from April 2017 (see paragraph 4.11 in the statement)
  • The tax and employer National Insurance advantages of salary sacrifice schemes will be removed from April 2017, (with some exceptions) (see paragraph 4.13 in the statement)
  • Business Corporation tax to be brought down to 17% by 2020. (see paragraph 4.23 in the statement)
  • Making Tax Digital - In January 2017, the government will publish its response to the Making Tax Digital consultations and provisions to implement the previously announced changes. (see paragraph 4.42 in the statement)
  • Budget 2016 announced changes to tackle use of disguised remuneration schemes by employers and employees. (see paragraph 4.46 in the statement)
  • Flat Rate Scheme - The government will introduce a new 16.5% rate from 1 April 2017 for businesses with limited costs, such as many labour-only businesses (see paragraph 4.51 in the statement)
  • Tax free personal allowance to be raised to £11,500 in April
  • Higher rate income tax threshold to rise to £50,000 by the end of the Parliament

You can view a copy of the statement here

If you require further information, please contact us on 01252 705 288 or via email on

Compliance is our number one priority

You will no doubt be aware of the recent high profile Employment Tribunal claims regarding the Self-Employed drivers' status.  We appreciate that with the ever changing legislative landscape it can sometimes be difficult to keep ahead of the game.

You will feel safe in the knowledge that compliance is our number one priority:

  • We are affiliated to UK's leading tax and employment law specialists, Chartergates.
  • We work closely with our legal advisors, Osborne Clarke.
  • We are registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office).
  • We are holders of a GLA License from the Gangmasters License Authority.

Each quarter, we invite an independent firm of auditors into our business to rigorously assess the integrity of our payroll calculations and ensure that all employee and CIS subcontractor deductions have not only been deducted correctly, but also paid in accordance with HMRC deadlines.

We are happy to share the content of this report with all of our employment businesses, and we are equally happy to invite employment businesses or contractors with their own audit teams to visit and inspect our business and processes.

If you require further information, please contact us on 01252 705 288 or via email on

New Legislation update

 Sprite Technical Services UK LLP – we can help you find a solution

If you have been impacted by the legislation or would just like to discuss your options, please contact us today to find out how we could help you.

Call us on: 01252 705 288



The Finance Bill 2016 has now been published and it has been confirmed that the final version of the legislation affects all contracts where there is a right of Supervision, Direction or Control (SDC). It is important that the whole contractual supply chain adopts the new rules to remain compliant. Subject to approval from agency clients, Sprite’s engagement options are as follows:

  • Sprite Umbrella
  • Sprite Plus
  • Sprite CIS/Sole Trader
  • Limited Company Option – advice available from our accounting partner, OBK Tax LLP

It is important that the whole contractual supply chain adopts the new rules to remain compliant.



National Living Wage from 1st April 2016

Please be aware that from Friday 1st April 2016,  the government are introducing a new mandatory National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 25 and above, set at £7.20.

The National Living Wage (NLW) only applies to those aged 25 and over. Everyone under the age of 25 will continue to be on their relevant National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Aligned with this increase, the new minimum rates Sprite will accept for those aged over 25 will be:

• Sprite Umbrella = £9.17 per hour 
• Sprite Plus   = £8.17 per hour

For existing NMW rate, Sprite will accept for those under the age of 25:

• Sprite Umbrella = £8.50 per hour 
• Sprite Plus   = £7.55 per hour

If you have any questions, please speak to our team on 01252 705 288. 

Important: Changes to tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses - April 2016

The Finance Bill was published on 24th March 2016 and the changes to tax relief on travel and subsistence came into law on 6th April 2016. 

What are the changes?

 There are 2 key pieces of legislation that affect the payment of expenses – these relate to ‘what’ can be claimed (the temporary workplace rules) and ‘when’ tax relief can be given (salary sacrifice rules).

  • Temporary workplace rules:  Basically travel and subsistence expenses (home to site) are not allowable for tax relief if the operative is under (or subject to the right of) supervision, direction or control (SDC).  This will affect most PAYE operatives.  If SDC is not present, the whole contractual chain must prove this position.
  • Salary sacrifice rules: Prior to 6th April 2016, most umbrella companies applied business expenses by way of a ‘salary sacrifice’, which meant operatives forfeited part of their pay (taxable income) to claim non-taxable expenses.  From the 6th April 2016, this new legislation has deemed salary sacrifice schemes to be unlawful. We are well aware of umbrella companies continuing to operate non-compliant schemes, which can leave all parties to the supply chain at risk, including the end client, the agency and the individual operative. Please exercise caution when choosing an umbrella company to work with.

 What does this mean to employees?

  •  Umbrella employees who previously claimed travel and subsistence expenses from home to a single site will not be able to do so going forward unless it can be proved that the assignment in which the work is being carried out is not subject to SDC, both contractually and in reality. 
  • Tax relief for any other allowable expenses that are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of employment duties cannot be claimed weekly through an umbrella company via a salary sacrifice scheme. 
  • For most this will mean that only tools, clothing, equipment, training/professional costs or site to site travel (multiple sites) can be claimed; however, this cannot be given as a weekly benefit and must be claimed at the end of the year. 

 What are the risks?

 We are well aware of some umbrella companies continuing to operate non-compliant schemes in the belief that HMRC “will not come calling”. This can leave all parties to the supply chain at risk, including the end client, the agency and the individual operative. HMRC have stated their intent to look into any avoidance schemes and we are aware that many agencies and operatives have already received correspondence from HMRC in this respect.  They also have visibility of the various models being operated and the tax being paid through Onshore Employment Intermediary Reporting and Real Time Information(RTI) and Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) returns.

 Please exercise caution when choosing an umbrella company to work with and consider the following

  • Transfer of Debt provisions – could affect ALL parties in the supply chain.
  • Targeted Anti Avoidance Regulations (TAAR) – mass migration of operatives to CIS models (with dubious so called SDC tax insurance!) or mass use of PSCs may be viewed as avoidance by HMRC.
  • Fines - HMRC have the ability to issue fines for non-compliance with tax legislation. 

What is Sprite’s position?

It is a time of uncertainty and it is important that agencies have trusted payroll partners to avoid smearing of their reputation or the possibility of transfer of debt rules being enforced. 

Sprite has always operated with compliance at the heart of the business and we will continue to do so, even in this fiercely competitive market. We constantly seek the best legal advice from the industry’s top legal firms and we are confident in our position on the new legislation changes.  We are in good company with this approach as our main large competitors are adopting the same stance. We will ensure that we continue to protect the reputation of our clients and the integrity of our workforce by ensuring that payments to our operatives are made within the rules. 

Many operatives may still have allowable expenses that are incurred ‘wholly, necessarily and exclusively’ in the performance of their employment duties and it is rightly so that tax relief should be claimed for these expenses.   It is our position that the only way tax relief can now be claimed on these expenses is via an end of year claim to HMRC.  Sprite will assist all operatives with these claims free of charge at the end of the tax year and our online expenses portal can be used to collate these expenses throughout the year. 

Our Options

  • Through Sprite Umbrella we can offer a compliant service at a competitive price with holiday pay included and allowable expenses claimed at the end of the tax year.
  • Sprite Plus continues to be a strong option for our operatives – this engagement is fully compliant with the new legislation, regardless of whether SDC is present or not.  
  • Sprite CIS where it can be proven that SDC does not apply in the supply chain, and the nature of the work falls within the Construction Industry Scheme, then Sprite CIS could be an option for skilled operatives.
  • Sprite Sole Trader for industries that fall outside of construction.
  • For some operatives a setting up a Limited Company maybe the best option and we can refer to our preferred accountant OBK tax for this service.

All other elements of our service remain the same as we endeavour to continue to provide services that are compliant, cost effective and reliable.

Did you know – you could be missing out on receiving a marriage allowance?

Not everyone is aware of the government’s Marriage Allowance so make sure you are not missing out

  •   Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,100 of your Personal Allowanceto your husband, wife or civil partner - if they earn more than you.
  •   This reduces their tax by up to £220 in the tax year (6 April to 5 April the next year).
  •   To benefit as a couple, you (as the lower earner) must have an income of £11,000 or less. You can calculate how much tax you’ll pay as a couple.
  •   If you were eligible for Marriage Allowance in the 2015 to 2016 tax year, you can backdate your claim to 6 April 2015 and reduce the tax paid by up to £432.

[source: HMRC]

Who can apply

You can get Marriage Allowance if all of the following apply:

  •   you’re married or in a civil partnership
  •   you don’t earn anything or your income is under £11,000
  •   your partner’s income is between £11,001 and £43,000

You can still apply for Marriage Allowance if you or your partner:

  •   are currently receiving a pension
  •   live abroad - as long as you get a Personal Allowance.

Sprite Technical Services LLP is an affiliate of the OBK Group. OBK Tax (part of the OBK Group) offers a range of services to self-employed individuals, providing additional income and rebates by making them more tax-efficient with maximised take-home pay. Visit their website: or call them today on: 01252 704 030

Festive opening times 2016

Please see our opening timings in respect of the festive period. Have a great festive season!


Day Date Working hours
Mon 19/12/2016 08:00 to 18:00
Tue 20/12/2016 08:00 to 18:00
Wed 21/12/2016 08:00 to 18:00
Thu 22/12/2016 08:00 to 18:00
Fri 23/12/2016 08:00 to 17:00
Mon 26/12/2016 BANK HOLIDAY - CLOSED
Tue 27/12/2016 BANK HOLIDAY - CLOSED
Wed 28/12/2016 08:30 to 16:00
Thu 29/12/2016 08:30 to 16:00
Fri 30/12/2016 08:30 to 16:00
Mon 02/01/2017 BANK HOLIDAY - CLOSED
Tue 03/01/2017 08:30 to 17:30
Wed 04/01/2017 08:30 to 17:30
Thu 05/01/2017 08:30 to 17:30
Fri 06/01/2017 08:30 to 17:00

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