Advantages and Process of Setting up a Limited Company in the UK
If you're considering setting up a limited company structure in the UK, there are several factors to consider. While many businesses operate as sole traders in the UK, there are numerous advantages to setting up a limited company, including tax benefits, separate legal entity, limited liability, and protected business name, among other advantages.
A limited company is a type of business structure that is incorporated with Companies House in the UK and has its own legal personality/identity. This legal distinction means the company is separate from its shareholders and directors, providing limited liability protection. As a shareholder, you will have no legal obligation to be personally responsible for any debts of the company. If your company becomes insolvent and is unable to pay its creditors, you will only be required to contribute the nominal value of your unpaid shares, protecting your personal assets.
To set up a limited company, an individual needs to register it with Companies House in the UK. The process of registration is called incorporation. An individual can register his/her limited company online or via post. The registration process requires choosing the type of limited company, picking a company name, selecting a SIC code for your business, providing addresses for your business, and deciding on the ownership of your company.
A limited company route is more tax-efficient from a personal tax point of view than operating as a sole trader. As a limited company director, you will typically take a small salary (with little tax liability) and the remainder of your income in the form of dividends, which are free from National Insurance contributions. Dividend tax rates are significantly lower than standard personal tax rates. Moreover, limited companies can claim more things as a tax-deductible expense than sole traders can.
Incorporating a business as a limited company can open up more business opportunities, build customer trust, and project a more professional image. However, there are some disadvantages of limited companies over being a sole trader in the UK, such as the cost of incorporation, requirements to pay corporation tax on profits, strict record-keeping requirements, and the need to disclose personal and corporate information on public record at Companies House.
In summary, setting up a limited company in the UK has significant advantages over being a sole trader, but certain rules must be followed. Seek professional advice from accountants such as dns accountants for limited company formation, company year-end accounts, self-assessment tax returns, and tax planning, etc.