By Teresa Noon
If you have been trading for a while you may not have considered how you are currently set up. It may be that you have set up as a sole trader as it seemed like the easiest option, however, set up in this way you could be paying too much tax.
If your profits are in excess of £20,000 per annum (and by this we mean sales less overheads) you may be left with more disposable income if you traded as a small limited company. The savings are likely to be anywhere between £2,000 and £6,000 per annum depending on your cost structure and how much your accountant charges you to run a company!
As a sole trader you pay income tax and national insurance on profits as they arise. Tax payments are made each six months and discipline is required to set money aside to pay tax each period. If profits are rising, tax bills will not be static and this can lead to large unexpected balancing payments.
As a Limited Company less tax is paid due to the mix of tax rates. A basic rate sole trader tax payer will pay income tax at 22% and National Insurance of 8%. As a Limited Company a deemed rate of income tax of 10% is paid on dividends with no National Insurance Liability. Salary is taken at the annual exemption limit, attracting no income tax or National Insurance liability and Corporation Tax of 19% is paid on profits after salary.
Running a small company need not be a burden and should involve little more administration than your sole trade. Basically, you ask your accountant to set up a company (which has the added advantage of giving you limited liability protection) and then you trade as normal, but draw money out of the company on a monthly basis as salary and dividends. An amount equal to Corporation Tax due is retained in the company bank account ready to pay the tax bill when it falls due.
So, the advantages of setting up a company are:
– More disposable income
– Limited Liability protection
– No more unexpected tax bills
– As a lower rate taxpayer, the money you draw from the company is yours, no further income tax is due
– You can call yourself Managing Director!
Ask your accountant to show you a comparison of tax due as a sole trader and as a limited company. You should be nicely surprised at what you could be saving.
Teresa Noon ACA CTA
Indigo Tax and Accountancy Limited