A limited company is a separate legal entity from its owners. As such, you’re protected by limited liability. Should your company go into debt, you’re only legally responsible up to the extent of the nominal value of your shares.
Running a limited company offers a more tax-efficient way to operate. Relative to sole traders, you’re able to pay a lower rate of income tax and NICs, as well as claim a wider range of allowable business expenses.
Being registered as a limited company also lends credibility to your company. This could lead to increased business opportunities, particularly for contractors, as it isn’t uncommon for established organisations to specify that they’ll only work with freelancers operating through their own limited company.
You’ll also benefit from easier access to funding. As a separate legal entity, your company presents a lower risk to lenders—which increases your chances of obtaining external financing at a lower interest rate, compared to sole traders. Additionally, you have the option of raising funds through selling shares.
If you're planning to start out on your own, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is figuring out how you should structure your business.
As a freelancer, contractor or small business owner, there are three main types of legal structures you should consider:
It's a decision that requires careful consideration, and it's important that you seek advice from qualified professionals when you weigh out the pros and cons of each business structure. To begin with, you need to have a good grasp of the basics - and here's where our guide comes into the picture.
Limited companies provide numerous benefits, from tax savings to limiting your liability.
But the first step is to understand what a limited company is exactly, and whether setting up such a company can help you achieve your goals. This article will clearly explain the pro's and con's so you can make an educated decision.
In a nutshell, a limited company is a private company that's a separate legal entity from its owner(s). For freelancers and contractors, a limited company is one of the three main business structures that you may use to run your business (the others being sole trader and umbrella companies).
In this article, we walk you through:
A company number (also known as a company registration number) is an eight-digit number that is assigned by Companies House to a company upon incorporation.
You can locate the number on your certificate of incorporation. The first digit of the company number is usually a zero, and is omitted in most instances. As such, your certificate of incorporation will show a seven-digit company number.
To restart a dormant business, you need to take the following steps:
You can appoint a new director, terminate the appointment of a director or change the director's personal details online, or by downloading the relevant forms and submitting it to Companies House by post.
Before you begin your registration process to set up a limited company, there are a few things you need to consider.
You need to choose the type of limited company you need (public limited company or private limited company), choose a company name and decide on how you’re going to set up your company. For the latter, you have the option of registering with Companies House or using a third-party service, like an accountant or company formation agent.
This involves completing documents like the Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association, Form 10 and Form 12, after which your application will be processed. Companies House will typically provide an update in the next working day, and mail out a hard copy of your articles of incorporation.
You need to open a business bank account, ensure that you’ve received your company UTR number and complete your VAT registration (or if you were VAT-registered as a sole trader, you need to notify HMRC of your transition to a limited company structure).
You’ll also need to set up your payroll, update your company details on your website and business documents (such as your order forms and business letters), and get your accounts sorted out.
While taxes and other administrative work may be relatively easy when you are a Sole Trader, as your volume of business goes up, there are more and more reasons to take on the task of becoming a Limited Company.
Luckily, running a Limited Company doesn't have to be exceedingly complex, though following a set plan will help to keep the complexity to a minimum.
Registering a company is a one off cost of £12 and done through Companies House. However, there are a few different ways that you can get this fee waved with other business services that you need.
We'll walk you through how to register your company for free and the perks that you'll get with each.
When you set up a limited company, you'll enjoy many advantages you don't get as a sole trader. Not only is it a tax-efficient way to run your business, it's also a great way to limit your personal liability and increase your credibility with customers. Additionally, it could open new avenues of work that wouldn't be open to you if you were operating as a sole trader, especially some contractor roles.
One of the disadvantages of running a limited company is that it involves a lot of paperwork, but with the help of this guide, we'll clear away the jargon and tell you exactly what you need.
If you're unsure about whether a limited company is right for you, check out our handy article comparing the differences between Limited companies and Sole Traders to see which business entity is right for you.
If you've got more important things to do than dealing with extra admin, you can always take advantage of one of our accountancy packages and we'll do all the forms and applications for you.
Being a limited company director comes with several legal responsibilities. In addition to your statutory duties, you’re also responsible for meeting your filing deadlines.
Send the FPS on or before your employees’ payday. The FPS must be submitted each time you pay your employee. This means that if your employee is paid weekly, you’ll need to make 52 submissions across the year.
Tax season can be stressful for small business owners.
You don't have the convenience of having an employer filing for you. While there are all kinds of tips and strategies for managing your taxes, the first order of business is to get key deadlines noted on your schedule, and determine how and when to make your payment.
Here's what you need to know:
If you're paying salaries to employees or directors, you need to register for PAYE and pay your PAYE bill to HMRC.
There are various ways to make your payment.
RTI late filing will incur a monthly penalty of £100, depending on the number of employees you have.
A late filing penalty of £100 is imposed if your tax return is up to three months late. The penalty increases if you're later than three months, or if you pay your tax bill late. Additionally, interest will be charged on late payments.
You may be required to pay a surcharge if you submit a late return. Surcharges for late payments or VAT return filings are indicated on the HMRC website.
HMRC's penalties are as follows:
The following penalties for private limited companies will be imposed if you fail to file your accounts with Companies House on time:
The first accounting year end date for a new company is the last day of the month in which the first anniversary falls on. For example, if your company was incorporated on 15 January 2021, the first accounting year end date will be 31 January 2022.
“What do I need to do after setting up a limited company?” is a question we’re often asked by users who’ve registered for our limited company accounting packages.
Here’s a brief overview of what you need to do:
Running a business involves catering for many aspects of the business that can bog you down.
You can even forget crucial roles, such as monitoring your small business finances. Although budgeting may not be the best and most exciting part of running an enterprise, it is fundamental for success.
When starting a new business, a budget is a vital part of your business plan. Once the business is open and operational, then budgeting becomes an essential exercise that takes place annually or quarterly.
A budget comprises of fixed and variable costs accompanied by the allocation of monies to reflect business objectives.
As a new business owner, you'll often find yourself juggling numerous roles and tasks-from growing your business, to managing your operations, financesand taxes.
In addition, you're now required to meet your legal obligations as a limited company director-such as filing the necessary paperwork and accounts on time-or you'll risk being penalised.
Staying on top of all of these tasks can feel overwhelming, and here's where a limited company accountant comes into the picture.
Below, we'll look into:
If you have a company, or are starting one, then you will need an accountant.
Though you could do all your accounts yourself, in practice few business owners have the time.
An accountant also checks that you are doing everything correctly, and is a useful reference for both HMRC and financial institutions should you ever need to apply for a loan.
The trouble is that finding the accountant who is right for you is never easy.
You do not want to pay more than you have to, but are low-cost, self-service, internet-based accountancy packages really the best fit for your business needs?
In this article we shall break down that option and its alternatives for you, as we answer the key questions that are occupying your mind right now:
The purpose of this article is to give you the context and background you need to ask the right questions-especially when you may not yet know what those questions are.
If you're a self-employed person or small business owner, you might have already asked yourself the question, "Do I really need an accountant?"
When people ask that, they usually mean, "Can I justify the cost of an accountant?"
It seems simple: Hiring an accountant might seem like something you could do without, and if you handle the accounting yourself, you save money.
But that isn't the best way to think about it. The reality is that there are hidden costs associated with DIY accounting, and you don't want to come up short. So instead, ask yourself, "Will hiring an accountant add value to my business?"
The answer is yes.
Below, we'll cover the key cases when you should hire an accountant:
You've delivered your work, and it's time to receive your payment.
Before that, you'll need to make an invoice. It's an important document: not only does it help you obtain money you're owed, it also serves as evidence of a transaction in the event that you need to seek legal action to handle non-paying clients.
If this is new to you, you might be wondering: How do I create an invoice, and what must I include? Are there best practices or tips I need to know?
We'll answer all of these questions below:
Speak to one of our accountants on a free 30 minute accounting consultation.