Our sole trader vs limited company calculator shows how much tax you can save trading as a limited company. The link to our sole trader vs limited company tax calculator is below. Just complete the first 3 boxes, then go down and click calculate my tax. But first, remember there are factors other than tax to consider when comparing a sole trader vs limited company. See below for most of these factors.
Still Save Tax Despite The Dividend Tax
Dividend taxes increased in April 2016 by 7.5%. This slightly reduces the tax savings made by incorporating. However, you still save tax trading as a limited company until profits are very high. Also, you can save even more tax using a company by splitting the ownership of it. Then you can split the dividend income you take from the company. For example, if you and your spouse own 50% each you would normally share the income 50% each.
Dividend taxes increased by a further 1.25% in April 2022. But self-employed national insurance also increased 1.25%. So it made no difference to how much you can save by trading as a limited company.
Let’s look first at the different types of business structure you can choose.
This is the simplest form of business to start. You simply carry on business on your own account. As a sole trader you pay income tax and Class 4 National Insurance on your net profit. You can employ people including your spouse. But you must only pay them for the value of the work they actually perform.
A partnership is two or more people carrying on business together with a view to making a profit. The partners in a partnership are all joint and severally liable for partnership debts. So if anything goes wrong, each partner’s personal wealth is at risk. Personal tax bills are based on the share of partnership profits. It is advisable to have a partnership agreement to document the business arrangement between the partners. This would include how you share profits and how partners will join and leave the partnership. Even a husband and wife partnership should have a written partnership agreement. You can use this to show HMRC that both parties have a right to share the profits.
A limited company is a separate legal entity from its owners. These are the basic facts…
- The limited company owns the business, not you.
- The company must have at least one shareholder.
- Also, it must have at least one director. But, there is no longer a requirement for private companies to have a company secretary.
- The shareholders do not have to be directors, but they usually are also directors in small companies. A company must treat directors as employees of the company. But they do not have to draw a salary from the company. Instead they could take a dividend as a shareholder.
- If you are the only shareholder, you will have sole ownership of the company.
- The company pays corporation tax on its net profit after salaries but before dividends.
- Company Law governs a company.
Main disadvantages of trading as a Sole Trader vs Limited Company…
- A sole trader is just an individual in business. Limited Companies may appear more credible and substantial although in reality, this is not necessarily the case.
- Sole traders are personally liable for the business for an unlimited amount. So if anything goes wrong, a sole trader’s personal assets (e.g. house) are at risk. If anything goes wrong in a company, only the company’s funds and assets are at risk. So it offers protection to the shareholders’ personal assets. If a company can’t pay its creditors, the creditors can’t normally come after your personal assets. However, banks etc often require personal guarantees from the shareholders or directors when dealing with small limited companies.
- A Limited Company has better borrowing potential than a sole trader. That’s because it can use current assets as security by creating a floating charge over its assets.
- It’s more difficult to share or hand over a sole trader business with other people. Different people can hold different proportions of shares in a limited company. This means you can easily pass shares onto the next generation. Also, you can pay different amounts of dividends to different shareholders
More disadvantages of trading as a Sole Trader vs Limited Company…
- A sole trader owns all of the business so pays tax on all of the net profit. In a company, you can have different classes of shares with different rights. Such as non-voting shares for someone who only wants to invest some money into the company. Also, if you want to pay each shareholder a different dividend rate. For example, a wife owns 50 A shares and a husband owns 50 B shares. So they own the company 50% each. But they can choose to pay dividends on one type of shares and not the other. So the wife could take all of the dividends. However, there is a trap, so take advice to avoid it.
- Having a limited company can create significant tax advantages. That’s because it pays tax on its profit at just 19%. This is a lot lower than the higher rates of personal tax (40%). However, when you take money from the company you usually pay tax on it. For example, you pay tax at 0% or 8.75% or more when you take dividends from a company.
- If a sole trader leaves profit in the business there is no tax advantage. He/she pays tax all of the profit made. A shareholder can leave profit in a limited company by paying less dividends or salaries which will save the owner tax.
Main advantages of using a Sole Trader vs Limited Company…
- Accounts are optional for a sole trader. Although you may need accounts for mortgages etc. A limited company must prepare and file annual accounts at Companies House. These are available for public inspection as is other information about the company. There are plans to make a small company’s profit and loss account available to the public.
- A sole trader does not have to comply with Company Law. Directors are personally subject to company regulations. Directors receive fines and/or a criminal offence for failing to comply.
- Sole traders can just cease trading and inform HMRC. It’s more complicated to wind up a company.
- You usually pay slightly less accountancy fees as a sole trader. A limited company generally involves higher accountancy fees as there is paper work to deal with.
- Sole traders can offset losses against other income to save tax e.g. employment income. You can’t offset a limited company’s losses against the owner’s other income. But you can offset the losses against future or past profits to save tax.
We can help you
Remember there are factors other than a Sole Trader vs Limited Company tax calculator to consider. This calculator now includes the new dividend tax rates which started in April 2016. Ask us for further advice on whether you should trade as a sole trader vs limited company. We offer a free company incorporation service for all of our clients including new ones. Our accountancy fees are from £50pm for companies.
Sole Trader vs Limited Company Tax calculator
Click >>here for our Sole Trader vs Limited Company Tax Calculator<< Then go to Tax Calculators, Incorporation Calculator, complete the first 3 boxes, or just the first box if you’re a sole trader, then go down and click Calculate.
Would you like to register as a limited company?
Talk to us. We’ll help you consider the other factors not just the result of the sole trader vs limited company tax calculator. We’ll advise you on whether you should trade as a sole trader vs limited company. Ready to choose between a sole trader vs limited company? Contact us about our accountancy services from £20pm. Or go straight to our free new company registration form. We don’t charge to register your new company. But there’s a £12 fee payable to Companies House and you’ll have to start paying us towards your company accounts.
Do you want to remain or be a sole trader?
We can help you too. Our sole trader services start from £20pm including accounts, tax return and reviews. Or if you do your own accounts we can do the tax return for you from £50pa.
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