How to Set Up a Limited Company: A Clear Guide - More Than Accountants

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How to Set Up a Limited Company: A Clear Guide

How to Set Up a Limited Company: A Clear Guide

Setting up a limited company in the UK is a crucial step towards establishing a legal and professional identity for your business. It provides personal asset protection, credibility with customers and suppliers, and tax benefits. For those starting as sole traders, transitioning to a limited company might be a significant step, and Sole Trader Accounting can provide valuable insights.

The first step is choosing a unique business name and registering it with Companies House. After registration, setting up a bank account for the company is essential. This separates personal and business finances, a key aspect of Small Business Accountants.

Understanding Limited Companies

If you’re looking to set up a business, you may be considering setting up a limited company. Limited companies are separate legal entities from their owners. There are LTDs for small businesses and PLCs for those seeking public capital. For detailed guidance on setting up, check out Limited Company Accountants.

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There are two main types of limited company: private limited companies (LTDs) and public limited companies (PLCs). LTDs are the most common type of limited company and are suitable for most small businesses. PLCs are larger companies that are listed on a stock exchange and are suitable for businesses that want to raise capital from the public.

One of the main advantages of setting up a limited company is that it offers limited liability protection to the company’s owners. This means that if the company gets into financial trouble, the owners are only liable for the amount of money they have invested in the company. Their personal assets, such as their home or car, are not at risk.

Another advantage of setting up a limited company is that it can be more tax efficient than other business structures, such as sole traders or partnerships. Limited companies pay corporation tax on their profits, which is currently set at 19%. This can be lower than the income tax rates paid by sole traders and partners.

To set up a limited company, you’ll need to register with Companies House and provide information such as the company’s name, registered address, and details of the company’s directors and shareholders. You’ll also need to choose a SIC code, which identifies what your company does.

Overall, setting up a limited company can be a good option for many businesses. It offers limited liability protection, can be more tax efficient than other business structures, and can give your business a more professional image.

Choosing a Company Name

When setting up a limited company, choosing a name for your business is an important task. It is the first thing potential customers will see and it will represent your brand. Therefore, it is important to choose a name that is memorable, unique and relevant to your business.

Name Availability

Before choosing a name, it is important to check its availability. You can use the Companies House company name availability checker to ensure your chosen name is not already taken or too similar to an existing name on the register. Your name cannot be the same as another registered company’s name or too similar to an existing name on the register.

Legal Requirements

There are also legal requirements that must be met when choosing a company name. The name must end with “Limited” or “Ltd” and cannot contain any sensitive words or expressions without the appropriate permissions. Sensitive words include words that suggest a connection with government or local authorities, words that suggest a particular status or function, and words that could be misleading or offensive.

It is important to note that the name of your company is not the same as your trademark. If you want to protect your brand, you should consider registering a trademark. This will give you exclusive rights to use your brand name and logo in connection with your goods or services.

In summary, when choosing a company name, it is important to ensure it is available, meets legal requirements and represents your brand. Take the time to research and choose a name that will help your business stand out and be memorable to potential customers.

Preparing Documents

When setting up a limited company, you will need to prepare several documents to register your company with Companies House. The following are the two most important documents you will need to prepare:

Memorandum of Association

The Memorandum of Association is a legal document that sets out the company’s constitution and objectives. It includes the following information:

  • The company name
  • The company’s registered office address
  • The company’s objectives
  • The names and addresses of the founding members

You can use a template to prepare the Memorandum of Association, which can be found on the Companies House website.

Articles of Association

The Articles of Association is another legal document that sets out the company’s internal rules and regulations. It includes the following information:

  • The rights and responsibilities of the shareholders
  • The procedures for appointing and removing directors
  • The procedures for holding meetings and passing resolutions
  • The procedures for issuing shares and paying dividends

You can use a template to prepare the Articles of Association, which can also be found on the Companies House website.

Both the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association must be prepared in compliance with the Companies Act 2006. Accurate preparation of these documents is crucial for the legal establishment of your company. For assistance in this process, Company Accounts Services can provide valuable guidance and support.

Registering Your Company

Once you have decided to set up a limited company, you need to register it with Companies House. There are three ways to do this: online registration, postal registration, and same-day registration.

Online Registration

Online registration is the most popular method due to its speed and convenience. To register your company online, you will need to provide key information, including:

  • Company name and registered office address
  • Director’s details
  • Shareholder’s details
  • Articles of Association

You can register your company using the Companies House Web Incorporation Service. Once your application is submitted and your payment is processed, you will receive a confirmation email from Companies House, and your company will be officially registered.

For those considering different business structures, resources like Partnership Accountancy Services and Limited Liability Partnerships Accountancy Services can provide valuable insights.

Postal Registration

If you prefer to register your company by post, you can download the necessary forms from the Companies House website. You will need to complete the following forms:

  • IN01: Application to register a company
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Articles of Association

You will need to send these forms, along with the registration fee, to Companies House by post. It can take up to 8-10 working days for your company to be registered using this method.

Same-Day Registration

If you need to register your company urgently, you can use the same-day registration service. This service is available at Companies House offices in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast. You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Completed IN01 form
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Articles of Association
  • Registration fee

Your company will be registered on the same day if you submit your application before 3 pm. You will receive your certificate of incorporation on the same day.

Registering your company is an important step in setting up a limited company. Choose the registration method that suits your needs and budget.

Setting Up Company Bank Accounts

When you set up a limited company, you’ll need to open a separate bank account for the business. This is a legal requirement and helps to keep your personal and business finances separate.

To open a company bank account, you’ll need to provide some documentation, including proof of identity and proof of address. You’ll also need to provide details about your company, such as its name, registration number, and registered address.

Different banks have different requirements for opening a company bank account, so it’s a good idea to shop around and compare different options. You can also use online comparison tools to help you find the best deals.

Some banks offer special deals and incentives for new business customers, such as free banking for a certain period or reduced fees. It’s important to read the terms and conditions carefully and make sure you understand any fees or charges that may apply.

Once you’ve opened your company bank account, it’s important to keep accurate records of all transactions and to reconcile your bank statements regularly. This will help you to stay on top of your finances and ensure that you comply with all legal and tax requirements.

In summary, setting up a company bank account is an important step in the process of setting up a limited company. By keeping your personal and business finances separate, you can help to protect your personal assets and ensure that your company complies with all legal and tax requirements.

Understanding Tax Responsibilities

When setting up a limited company, it’s crucial to understand your tax responsibilities, which include the following key areas:

Corporation Tax

As a limited company, you’re required to pay corporation tax on your profits, currently set at 19% in the UK. You need to register for corporation tax within three months of starting to trade, which can be done online through the HMRC website. Keeping accurate records of all your business transactions is vital for calculating your tax liability. Additionally, an annual corporation tax return must be filed with HMRC.

VAT Registration

If your annual turnover exceeds £85,000, you’ll need to register for VAT. VAT registration and quarterly returns can be managed online through the HMRC website.

PAYE System

For those employing staff, operating a PAYE system is necessary. This involves deducting income tax and National Insurance contributions from employees’ pay and submitting these to HMRC. A monthly Employer Payment Summary (EPS) is also required.

Staying updated with tax legislation is important, as non-compliance can lead to penalties. For businesses with complex tax needs, Tax Returns Services and VAT Returns Services can offer specialised assistance.

Maintaining Statutory Records

In addition to tax responsibilities, maintaining certain statutory records is mandatory for legal compliance. These include:

  • Register of Members: Contains information about the shareholders.
  • Register of Directors: Lists the company’s directors.
  • Register of People with Significant Control (PSC): Identifies individuals or entities with significant control over the company.
  • Register of Charges: Details any charges against the company’s assets.

Accurately maintaining these statutory records, along with comprehensive accounting records, is crucial. Services like Bookkeeping Services can be instrumental in managing these records effectively.

Annual Reporting and Filing

If you have set up a limited company, you are required to submit annual reports and accounts to Companies House, which include:

Confirmation Statement

This document confirms the details of your company’s directors, shareholders, and registered office address. It must be submitted at least once a year. The Confirmation Statement should reflect any changes since the last statement.

Annual Accounts

These are financial statements showing the company’s performance over the past year, including a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement. They must be submitted within 9 months of the company’s financial year-end.

Both the Confirmation Statement and Annual Accounts are legal requirements. Timely submission is crucial to avoid penalties. For assistance, Management Reports Services can be valuable. The filing fees will depend on the chosen method – online or by post.

Hiring Employees

When you set up a limited company, you may want to hire employees to help run your business. Here are some things to consider when hiring employees for your limited company.

Employment Contracts

When you hire an employee, you must provide them with an employment contract. This is a legal requirement. The employment contract should outline the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment, including their job title, duties, hours of work, pay, and holiday entitlement.

You should also include any other terms and conditions that are relevant to the employee’s employment, such as sick pay, pension contributions, and notice periods. It is important that you provide the employee with a written copy of their employment contract and keep a copy for yourself.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

As an employer, you are legally required to have employer’s liability insurance. This insurance provides cover for any claims made against you by your employees for injury or illness caused by their work. You must have a minimum of £5 million of cover.

Employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement, and you could face a fine of up to £2,500 for each day that you are not properly insured. It is important that you obtain employer’s liability insurance as soon as you hire your first employee.

Overall, hiring employees for your limited company can be a complex process. However, by following the legal requirements and providing your employees with clear terms and conditions of employment, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly and your employees are happy.

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