It’s quick and easy setting up a sole trader business. You don’t need to do anything special and is great to test the waters of your new business.
However, very soon, as you start to grow and earn money, you will find that a sole trader structure is not always the best option.
It’s not just the tax savings you could expect from changing to a limited company structure, but it’s also the security of protecting your personal assets and that it looks much better from your customers’ perception dealing with a company
Because we specialise in small business accountancy, we can take care of the paperwork and admin associated with company formation, allowing you to concentrate on finding clients and generating an income from day one. We will guide you through the process from start to finish, ensuring your company is properly set up and the transition from being a sole trader to owning your first limited company is completed smoothly. Most importantly, we’ll look after all your compliance issues and ensure you’re able to operate in the most tax-efficient manner.
Here’s an outline of what’s involved.
Choosing your company’s name
Your company name must be unique to your business. If your preferred name is already in use, you will need to think of something new or consider adding a unique permutation. Perhaps you could refer to the industry you are in, or add words such as ‘consultancy’ or ‘solutions’ to make your name different. We will check what names are available to use and then complete the registration with Companies House once you’ve chosen your preferred option.
Because we specialise in small business accountancy, we can take care of the paperwork and admin associated with company formation, allowing you to concentrate on finding clients and generating an income from day one. We will guide you through the process from start to finish.
Choose a registered address
You must have a registered office address for your limited company. This can be your home address if you are not using formal business premises. If you wish to keep your home address from public view, you can opt to use our address as your company registered office address.
Appoint directors and shareholders
Your limited company must have at least one director and one shareholder. This may seem odd if it’s just you in the company, but don’t worry, you can hold both positions if it’s just you in the company.
As a director of a limited company you will also fall under the Self-Assessment tax system if you draw out dividends or earn other income over and above your declared wages. (The 2020 Business Taxes Guide)
Obtain a Standard Industry Code
The government assigns codes to limited companies according to which industry they operate in. It will be important to select the right SIC code before you undertake the registration process.
Register your company with HMRC
This is a relatively straightforward process that involves the completion and submission of what is known as a CT41G document. This provides HMRC with some basic information about your company and must be submitted within three months of company formation.
Register for self-assessment tax
As a company director, it’s highly likely that you will need to submit a self-assessment tax return by January 31st each year. We will need to register you for self-assessment and then ensure the correct submission is made by the deadline. If you’ve never completed a tax return, don’t worry, we’ll guide you through it.
Learn how to prepare your Self-Assessment Tax Return in our Self-Assessment guide.
Register for VAT
We will advise you whether the company should be registered for VAT from the outset. While VAT registration is voluntary until the income of the company exceeds £85,000 in the last 12 months, in some circumstances it may make sense to register early. For example, if you are incurring high levels of expenditure, or plan to purchase any assets, you can claim the VAT element back.
We’ll talk you through your different options, the best approach will depend on the industry you work in.
Open a business bank account
You will need to open a business bank account so that you can keep your business and personal finances separate. Banks will usually require your limited company registration number before you can open an account.
We’ve partnered with some great banking solutions to help you get set up quickly and efficiently.
Set up your online bookkeeping system
When you work with us, you will have access to our sophisticated online book-keeping software which enables you to input expenses, prepare invoices and track payments as well as a host of other accounting functions. All you have to do is register via our website and then you can access all your accounting records 24/7 wherever you are. We’ll show you how.
Let us help you set up your new company
As online accountants for small businesses, we love the company formation stage and enjoy being part of the initial process. Our job is to make the administrative side of things easier for you and to ensure you comply with the requirements of HMRC and Companies House.
Find out about our comprehensive limited company service plans or get in touch to find out more.