Setting up a limited company
This process is simple. The easiest way to do it is via the companies house online portal. The form you need to fill in is very simple, however there are some details that you need to have on hand before starting the process.
– Company name. This is obvious, however, your name must be unique, and if you want to chose something that will represent your company well. Think of something that properly sums up what you do, your mission statement, and how you are going to add value to your potential customers.
– Shareholder, director and secretary. It doesn’t matter if you are a one man band, or a growing team, you will need to allocate these roles straight away. They can all be the same person if you are working alone. These allocations are very important. Take advice as to what the best choice would be. Allocating shares or roles incorrectly now could lead to some awkward situations down the line. These need to be backed up by a memorandum of article of association. This is the paperwork that confirms all the roles.
– Company address. Every company is required to have a registered address. If you are a lone wolf and don’t want it registered to your home, then even renting a mail box is allowed.- Register for corporation tax. This again can be done through the government’s portal. This needs to be done within three months of starting your business. You can do it here, https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/registration/newbusiness/introduction
The actual process is very simple,you can set up a limited company online https://ewf.companieshouse.gov.uk/runpage?page=welcome. After you have done this, it is time to start running your company!
Why should you create a limited company? Well in England and the rest of the UK, you can run a company as a sole trader. However, there are certain benefits to being a limited company.
Protection. If things go badly in your company, and you are unable to pay business debts, the limited company is liable and not you personally. This means that in the worst case scenario, you are protected. You may not want to think about that happening, but it is a prudent business move to consider all possibilities, and protect your risk.
Tax. Yes, the dreaded word. With a limited company, the structuring of your payments into dividends and salary making what you pay more tax efficient. The rules can confuse some people, HMRC have provided a great explanation on their site, check it out here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dividend-allowance-factsheet/dividend-allowance-factsheet#examples. Being informed on this can mean you pay less tax, and take home more money.
Funding. This is an issue that many people are facing in the modern world. Many startups have the opportunity to receive funding. Seed funds, angel investors or crowdfunding are now possibilities for thousands of businesses. If you are a sole trader, it is going to be harder to convince a collective to fund your project. Investing into a limited company provides a much more solid framework to structure the deal in.
Professionalism. Your image can mean the difference between closing a sale or losing it. When dealing with larger companies, often times they want to feel like they are dealing with a legitimate and solid business. Having the Ltd at the end of your name can give your potential clients much more peace of mind.
Is it expensive to register a limited company? No, it is £12 if you do it online. By paper it can go up to £40.
Are there special records I need to keep? Yes. You will need to keep accurate and through accounts, added to that you will need to keep the registers of members, and other similar items. Read all the details here, https://www.gov.uk/running-a-limited-company/company-and-accounting-records. Keep this in mind when setting up the company, a good start will save paperwork later.
Am I automatically trademarked? No. When you register a company name, that name will not be taken by another company. However, a trademark is something different. You will need to apply for a trademark for your company separately.
What about PAYE and VAT? These can also be done on the government portal. You are not automatically registered for these, so if they fit your requirements, then you can sign up for them too.
The key thing to remember when setting up a limited company is to stay informed. You will have a lot more responsibility now, so read everything you can, and make sure all the boxes are ticked. All the best with your business!