The decision to use either a limited company or an umbrella company is discussed in our article
Limited Company or Umbrella : Deciding on a payment structure. The topic of
choosing an accountant has also been covered. has also been covered.
This article discusses the practicalities of setting up your own limited company prior to contracting.
Company Formation – The Options
Having made the decision to form your own limited company you will need to
arrange for the company to be formed and then deal with the various matters
arising following formation.
There are three options to consider:
- Use an accountant to form your own company.
- Incorporate the company yourself.
- Use a company formation agent.
Using an Accountant to Form Your Own Company
If you are new to contracting and do not have an awareness of company accounts
and taxation matters, it is well worth using an accountant to form the company
for you. They will be able to offer a full service to get you “up and running”
and ready to trade with your company.
If you choose an accountant to deal with your ongoing work they will probably
provide you with a formation package which usually consists of the following
Providing the limited company
Applying for a company bank account
Corporation tax registration
Other minor formalities.
They will also:
Set you up with a simple accounting system like a spreadsheet
Explain your responsibilities as a company director
Establish the amount of your salary
Help determine and agree your IR35 status
Establish shareholding structure
Deal with other minor issues following formation.
Expect to pay between £150 and £250 for this complete service, depending on
what is included in the package. Some accountants market a “free” service but
their costs are usually included elsewhere. Accountants rarely work for free!
Incorporating the Company Yourself
If you intend to deal with the accountancy matters yourself, you could
incorporate the company yourself for as little as £20, by approaching Companies
House directly. Their website can be found on www.companies-house.gov.uk.
Using Company Formation Agents
As an alternative to approaching Companies House directly, you could go to a
company formation agent. These firms are not accountants and will simply supply
you with either an “off the shelf” company or a “tailor made” company, where
you can choose the name.
Company formation agents will only supply you with a limited company package,
including the Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum & Articles of
Association and certain other Companies House forms.
They will usually not offer the full package of getting you into a position of
being able to trade, including making sure that you fully understand your
ongoing responsibilities as a company director (as a firm of accountants would
Formation agents typically charge from £45 for the service and the
product supplied actually varies very little between the cheapest and most
Matters Arising on Formation
A list of points to consider when you form your company is as follows:
Appointment of Director
Appointment of Secretary
Accounting reference date for the company
Registered office address
Opening of company bank account
Payroll scheme application
Corporation tax reference application
Accounting system set up (a simple excel spreadsheet should suffice for a one
IR35 status of your contract
Expenses to be claimed