Limited Company Accounting Support & Company Registration

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Limited Company vs Sole Trader

While operating as a sole trader is a simple and cost-efficient way to start a business, there are significant advantages to running your own limited company.

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.

sole trader vs limited company guide

Deciding between Sole Trader vs Limited Company vs Umbrella

Deciding between Sole Trader vs Limited Company vs Umbrella

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:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited company
  • Working through an umbrella company

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.

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what is limited company guide

What is a Limited Company?

What is a Limited Company?

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:

  • What a "separate legal entity" means
  • The different types of Limited Companies
  • The pros and cons of setting up a Limited Company
  • How to start a Limited Company
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How do I find my company number?

How do I find my company number?

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.

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How do I restart a dormant business?

How do I restart a dormant business?

To restart a dormant business, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Tell HMRC that your business has restarted trading by registering for Corporation Tax again.
  2. Send accounts to Companies House within 9 months of your company's year end.
  3. Pay any Corporation Tax due within 9 months and 1 day of your company's year end.
  4. Send a Company Tax Return - including full statutory accounts - to HMRC within 12 months of your company's year end.
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How do I transfer/ change a company directors?

How do I transfer/ change a company directors?

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.

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How to Register a Limited Company

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.

Once you’ve gotten these sorted out, you’ll be ready to begin the company formation process.

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.

Now that you’ve registered your company, there are a few additional items to cross off your checklist.

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.

Registering a Limited Company Guide

Registering a Limited Company Guide

Registering a Limited Company Guide

  • What is a Limited Company
  • 10 step process for setting up a Limited Company
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Limited Company vs Sole Trader Calculator

Sole Trader vs Limited Company

Sole Trader vs Limited Company

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register for limited company guide

Key considerations when you register a Limited Company

Key considerations when you register a Limited Company

As a freelancer, contractor, or small business, it is typical to start with the simple structure of operating as a Sole Trader.

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.

For instance:

  • A Limited Company protects your personal assets. If you are found liable in a lawsuit, only your business assets are at risk.
  • A Limited Company is usually more tax efficient than being a Sole Trader.
  • Once you have your name chosen as a Limited Company registered through Companies House, no one else can take your company name.

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.

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3 ways to register a limited company

3 Ways to Register Your Company for Free

3 Ways to Register Your Company for Free

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.

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set up a limited company guide

How to set up a Limited Company

How to set up a Limited Company

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.

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Limited Company Filing Deadlines

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.

These include:

  • File your Self Assessment by 31st January following the end of the relevant tax year.
  • If you’re VAT-registered, you need to file your VAT returns 1 month and 7 days after your VAT quarter end date.
  • File your company accounts 9 months after your company year-end. If you’re in your first trading year, your first annual accounts are due 21 months after your date of incorporation
  • File your Confirmation Statement up to 14 days after the due date. The due date is 12 months after the date your company was incorporated, or 12 months after the date you filed your previous Confirmation Statement. 
  • File your company tax return 12 months after the end of the relevant tax year.
  • If you’ve just begun employing staff or using subcontractors for construction work, you need to register as an employer before an employee’s first payday. 
  • If you already have employees, there are a number of deadlines you need to meet for your payroll year end
  • Submit your final payroll report for the year before your employee’s final payday for the tax year ending 5th April. 
  • Provide your employees with the P60 by 31st May (following the end of the relevant tax year). 
  • File employee benefits and expenses using your payroll software, and submit your P11D and P11d(b) forms by 6th July.
  • In addition to the payroll year-end deadlines, you’re also required to:

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 returns deadline guide

Company Filing & Deadlines: Self Assessment, VAT, Accounts, Tax & more

Company Filing & Deadlines: Self Assessment, VAT, Accounts, Tax & more

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deadline for tax return guide

Tax return and payment deadlines you need to know

Tax return and payment deadlines you need to know

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:

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What are the deadlines for payment of PAYE taxes?

What are the deadlines for payment of PAYE taxes?

If you're paying salaries to employees or directors, you need to register for PAYE and pay your PAYE bill to HMRC.

  • Monthly payments: Your PAYE bill is due on the 22nd of the next tax month.
  • Quarterly payments: Your PAYE bill is due on the 22nd after the end of the quarter.

There are various ways to make your payment.

  • Same or next day payments: online or telephone banking, CHAPS
  • Payments processed in 3 working days: card payments (online), Bacs, cash or cheque payments at your bank or building society, Direct Debit, by cheque through the post
  • Payments processed in 5 working days: Direct Debit (if it's the first time you're setting up a Direct Debit payment)

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What are the late filing and payment penalties?

What are the late filing and payment penalties?

PAYE

RTI late filing will incur a monthly penalty of £100, depending on the number of employees you have.

Self Assessment

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.

VAT

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.

Corporation Tax

HMRC's penalties are as follows:

  • 1 day late: £100
  • 3 months late: An additional £100
  • 6 months late: Your total corporation tax bill will be estimated, after which a penalty of 10% of unpaid tax will be imposed.
  • 12 months late: An additional penalty of 10% of unpaid tax will be imposed.

Company accounts

The following penalties for private limited companies will be imposed if you fail to file your accounts with Companies House on time:

  • Up to 1 month late: £150
  • 1 - 3 months late: £375
  • 3 - 6 months late: £750
  • More than 6 months late: £1,500


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What is your First Accounting Year End Date?

What is your First Accounting Year End Date?

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.

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Key Things You Need When Starting a Limited Company

“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:

  • Fulfill your responsibilities as a limited company director
  • Open a business bank account
  • Keep your stakeholders updated: If you’re transitioning from being a sole trader to a limited company structure, you’ll need to notify stakeholders—like your banks, debtors, landlords and insurers—of the change. With stakeholders like your suppliers and customers, you may need to review your contract, and transfer it to your new company. 
  • Get your VAT sorted out: You may need to register for VAT. And if you’re already VAT-registered, you may request for a transfer to be made to your new company, or cancel your VAT and complete a re-registration. 
  • Set up your payroll
  • Ensure that your company details are up-to-date: As a limited company, you need to meet specific requirements when it comes to displaying your company information. Your company name must be included on all company documents, letters and communication materials. In addition, your websites, business letters and order forms must show your company’s registered number, registered office address, where your company is incorporated and indicate that your company is a private limited company.  
  • Obtain business insurance: If you’re an employer, you’re legally required to obtain employer's liability insurance. Other types of business insurance you should consider getting include public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and business contents insurance. 
  • Get your books sorted: If you were already using an accounting package as a sole trader, you’ll need to create a new account and start anew. And even if you were managing your own accounts before, do note that the requirements of limited company accounting can be complicated—so you’ll benefit from using accounting  software, or from the expertise and advice of a specialist accountant.
business budget guide

Creating your business budget

Creating your business budget

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.

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accounting cost guide

How much should accounting cost?

How much should accounting cost?

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:

  • What you can expect to pay for limited accounting packages
  • Services that are included in the cost
  • FAQs relating to choosing a limited company accounting provider
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finding an accountant guide

How to find an accountant

How to find an accountant

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:

  • Do I need an accountant?
  • What should I look for in an accountant?
  • How do I find the best accountant for me?

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.

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hire accountant guide

When Should I Hire a Small Business Accountant?

When Should I Hire a Small Business Accountant?

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:

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how to make invoice guide

How to make and send an invoice for your clients

How to make and send an invoice for your clients

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:

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Limited Company Accounting Pricing

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View All Limited Company Guides:

When do I need a Limited Company?

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How do I transfer/ change a company shareholders?

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How do I register a limited company?

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How do I transfer/ change a registered address?

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How do I transfer/ change a company name?

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How do I file for SEIS investment?

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What are Personal service companies?

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How do I register my business?

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How do I close my business?

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How do I file for EIS investment?

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What is a Service Address?

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How do I file a Members Voluntary Strike Off?

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How do I restart a dormant business?

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How do I unlist a from companies house?

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How do I file for informal strike off?

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How do I transfer/ change a company directors?

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What are Company Deadlines?

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How do I find my company number?

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What are Confirmation Statements?

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What do I need to do as a Company Director?

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What are the disadvantages of a Limited Company?

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What are the advantages of a Limited Company?

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What is a Limited Company?

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What are the differences between Directors, Shareholders & Employees?

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What are my Limited Company Directors Responsibilities?

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What is a Companies House confirmation statement?

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What is a SIC code?

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How many shares should my new Company issue?

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What are trading and registered office addresses?

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Closing a limited company

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What is a share transfer?

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Change of company address – who to inform and how

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What is share allotment?

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advantages limited company guide

3 Disadvantages of a limited company

The 4 disadvantages of a private limited company: An up to date guide.

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The 7 advantages of a private limited company: An up to date guide.

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Thinking about subcontracting, or hiring a subcontractor? We run through important tips and considerations you should keep in mind

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set up a limited company guide

How to set up a Limited Company

Setting up a limited company is one of the best ways to optimize your tax, maximise your take-home pay and give your company that professional edge. In this comprehensive guide, we take you through everything you’ll need to get started

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register for limited company guide

Key considerations when you register a Limited Company

Setting up a Limited Company comes with a lot of details. Fortunately, a trusted accountant can help you with the unfamiliar steps

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how to register as self employed guide

How to register self employed with HMRC

A step-by-step guide on registering as self-employed with HMRC

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what is contractor guide

What is a Contractor?

We'll explain what it means to be a contractor, the different types of contractor employment, contractor business structures and factors that identify a contractor.

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what is limited company guide

What is a Limited Company?

Limited Companies provide numerous benefits, from tax savings to limiting your liability. We dive deeper into the advantages and drawbacks.

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what is sole trader guide

What is a Sole Trader: 12 Things You Need to Know

In this article, we look at what it means to be a sole trader, the benefits and downsides associated with operating as a sole trader, tax responsibilities and more.

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type of business guide

What type of business structure is best for you?

Guide to the benefits and drawbacks of five common business structures

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sole trader vs limited company guide

Deciding between Sole Trader vs Limited Company vs Umbrella

Read on to find out about different business structures, the pros and cons of each structure and key factors you need to evaluate when choosing a business structure.

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