A sole trader is someone who runs his or her own business, whereas a limited company is owned by multiple individuals who work together under one roof. This article explains what each type of entity entails and how you might choose to set up your business.
A sole trader is someone who runs his/her own business without registering it as a company or partnership. A limited company is a legal structure used to incorporate small businesses into larger ones. This article explains what the differences are between the two types of entities, how they differ legally and why you might want to consider incorporating.
What is a sole trader?
A sole trader is someone who runs their own business without having an employer or employees. This type of business structure is often used by small businesses because it allows them to keep control over how much money they make and what products they sell. While this arrangement offers flexibility, it does come with some drawbacks.
One of the biggest challenges of being a sole trader is that it makes you personally liable for any debts incurred during the operation of the business. If you fail to pay suppliers or rent, you could end up paying yourself out of pocket. Another downside is that you’ll likely earn less than you would working for another company.
There are several advantages to operating as a sole traders though. You won’t have to deal with the politics of office life, such as meetings and team building exercises. Instead, you’ll spend most of your time thinking about the next project and making sure things run smoothly.
Another advantage is that you’ll be able to set your own hours, work from home, and take holidays whenever you want. In addition, you’ll be able to choose whatever products you want to sell, and you’ll be free to change suppliers or even close down your business altogether if you decide to do so.
If you’d like to start a business as a sole trader, here are 5 tips to help you succeed.
1. Start Small
The best way to learn how to operate a sole trader is to start off with something simple. For example, you could open a food stall at a local market or offer freelance writing services online. By starting small, you’ll be able find out whether you enjoy the work enough to continue. Once you’ve found out whether you love doing the job, you can move onto bigger projects.
What is a limited company?
A limited company is a legal structure where a person owns shares in the company. This allows him/her to separate his/her personal assets from his/ her business activities.
When you set up a limited corporation, you will be able perform certain tasks such as paying tax and making payments to creditors without having to worry about losing your personal assets.
Limited companies are usually formed by individuals who want to protect themselves against potential liabilities associated with running a business.
Sole trader vs limited company
The choice between being a sole trader or a limited company is one of the most important decisions you will make as an entrepreneur. Here we explain the differences between the two types of company, including why some people choose to set up as a sole trader rather than a limited company.
Limited company advantages
A limited company offers greater protection against loss of profits and assets if things go wrong. A limited company is taxed differently to a sole trader.
The government charges corporations income tax on profit. But if you’re a limited company, it doesn’t charge you anything because there’s no profit. Instead, it charges you capital gains tax – usually around 15 per cent.
If you’re a sole trader, however, you’ll have to pay both types of tax. If you make £100,000 a year, for example, you’ll pay about £15,000 in income tax, plus another £7,500 in capital gains tax.
But if you set up a limited company, you’ll only pay capital gains tax. You won’t have to pay any income tax.
This makes limited companies much more tax efficient. For every pound you earn, you’ll pay less tax. This is why most people choose to run their business as a limited company.
You can still do it as a sole trader, though. And many small businesses do use a limited company structure. But if you want to save money on taxes, it might be worth looking into setting up a limited company.
Limited company disadvantages
A limited company is a legal entity that has shareholders, directors and officers. A limited company must file accounts each year with Companies House, HM Revenue & Customs and the Financial Conduct Authority. If you want to start trading online, it makes sense to use a limited company because it gives you greater protection against personal liability. You can buy shares in a limited company without having to pay tax. However, there are some downsides to setting up a limited company.
Choosing between a single proprietorship and a corporation
A sole trader is a form of self-employment where you run your own business. You do everything yourself – from creating marketing materials to managing your finances. A sole trader doesn’t have employees, so there’s no one else to sue if something goes wrong.
Limited companies are different. They’re set up like a business and have shareholders who each own shares in it. This structure offers protection against personal injury claims, but it does mean that the company itself can be sued.
Both structures offer protection against personal liability. But what are the differences between the two? And which type of business should you start? Here’s our guide…
Advantages of conducting business as a limited liability company:
Running your own business as a sole trader or partnership offers certain advantages over being a limited company. However, there are many benefits to having your company set up as a limited company including:
• You can choose to keep your personal assets separate from those of the business.
• You can avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of shares in the company.
• If you want to raise finance, it is easier to do so.
• There are fewer restrictions on dividends.
• Your personal pension contributions are protected.
• You can take advantage of the corporate tax relief schemes.
Disadvantages of conducting business as a limited liability company:
Limited companies are taxed differently to Sole Traders. This makes them more complex to set up and manage. They require more documentation and filing requirements. You must pay corporation tax on profits earned within the UK. If you do not make enough profit, you could end up paying interest on capital gains.
There are several disadvantages to running a business as a sole trader. These include:
• You don’t have access to HMRC records such as accounts and invoices
• You cannot claim expenses against income
• You cannot apply for VAT refunds
• You cannot use the PAYE system
• You cannot take advantage of the Self Assessment process
A good accountant will know how best to minimize these disadvantages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it preferable to be a lone proprietor or a corporation?
The choice about whether to go into business as a sole trader or a Limited Company is one of the most important decisions you make in setting up your business. Both structures involve different levels of risk and benefits, so it’s worth understanding what each offers before deciding how to run your business.
If you want to start a small business, there are some things you need to consider before choosing a particular structure. You need to decide whether you want to operate as a single person or as part of a group. If you choose to work alone, you could become a sole trader – this is the simplest way to set up a business because you do not require a formal legal entity such as a limited company. However, you are responsible for paying taxes yourself and you cannot benefit from certain government support schemes. On the other hand, a limited company requires a lot more paperwork and organisation, but it gives you access to additional benefits. This includes the ability to raise money via equity investment, receive tax breaks and enjoy greater protection under the law.
Can I change from being a sole trader to a limited company?
Being a sole trader is a great way to start a business. It gives you complete control over how much money you earn and spend and you don’t pay corporation tax. But what happens when your profits increase and you’re ready to expand? Or perhaps you’ve got some business funding coming your way and you’d like to use that to grow your business. If you’re thinking about switching from being a sole trader into a limited company.