There are a few traits that identify sole traders: you’re taxed as an individual (and don’t pay corporation tax), you have unlimited liability (your business isn’t considered a separate legal entity) and you have sole ownership over your business.
There are several reasons why the sole trader structure is the most popular option among businesses in the UK. It’s easy to set up—all you need to do is to register as self-employed with HMRC, choose a business name, and you’ll be all set to begin trading.
And if you change your mind sometime down the road—whether you decide to stop trading or to change to a limited company structure—the process of termination or transition remains fairly simple and straightforward. Unlike with limited companies, there’s no need to take additional steps such as applying to strike off your company.
You’ll also enjoy full control over your business, as there aren’t shareholders you’ll need to answer to. Sole traders also have fewer compliance requirements compared to limited company directors, which means that you’ll benefit from less paperwork, greater convenience and lower accounting fees.
There are a few reasons why sole traders decide to make the transition.
Their profits may have grown to the point where it’s more tax efficient to trade as a limited company. They may decide it’s time to bring in shareholders or directors, or feel that their business could benefit from the increased credibility that a limited company structure brings.
Here’s what the process of transition involves: firstly, you need to decide if you’ll be the sole director. After which, you’ll need to notify HMRC of the change, select a business name, and register your limited company with Companies House.
Once the registration is complete, there are a few more items to cross off your checklist. You need to inform your stakeholders, set up a business bank account, set up your payroll, update your company details on your business documents 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.
Speak to one of our accountants on a free 30 minute accounting consultation.