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Limited company

A limited company is an organisation that you can set up to run your business. It is responsible in its own right for everything it does and its finances are separate to your personal finances that means that the company is liable for any debts.
Compare to sole traders, they are personally responsible for their business debts.

Any profit it makes is owned by the company, after it pays Corporation Tax. The company can then share its profits.

Every limited company has ‘members’, the people or organisations who own shares in the company.

Directors are responsible for running the company. Directors often own shares, but they don’t have to.

You must register the company with Companies House and let HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) know when the company starts business activities.

Every financial year, the company must:

• Put together statutory accounts
• Send Companies House an annual return
• Send HMRC a Company Tax Return
• The company must register for VAT if you expect its takings to be more than £81,000 a year

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Self-employed

If you start working for yourself, you’re classed as a self-employed sole trader. This is true even if you have not yet told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

As a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual. You can keep all your business’s profits after you have paid tax on them.

You can employ staff. ‘Sole trader’ means you’re responsible for the business, not that you have to work alone.

You’re personally responsible for any losses your business makes.

Tax responsibilities
You must:
• send a Self Assessment tax return every year
• pay Income Tax on the profits your business makes
• pay National Insurance

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VAT

A value-added tax (VAT) is a form of consumption tax. From the perspective of the buyer, it is a tax on the purchase price. From that of the seller, it is a tax only on the value added to a product, material, or service.

VAT-registered businesses:
• Must charge VAT on their goods or services
• May reclaim any VAT the have paid on business-related goods or services

If you are a VAT-registered business you must report to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the amount of VAT you have charged and the amount of VAT you have paid. VAT return is usually due every 3 months.

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Employer

The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system is the way by which an employer makes certain deductions from employees. These include deductions for the employees liability to income tax and national insurance contributions (NICs), as well as other deductions such as student loan repayments.

PAYE is a system for collecting income tax and NIC from employees on a regular basis rather than relying on every individual having to complete a tax return in order to inform HMRC of their liability.

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CIS

Under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), contractors deduct money from a subcontractor’s payments and pass it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The deductions count as advance payments towards the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance.

Contractors must register for the scheme. Subcontractors don’t have to register, but deductions are taken from their payments at a higher rate if they’re not registered.

Register as a contractor if either:
• You pay subcontractors for construction work
• Your business doesn’t do construction work but you spend an average of more than £1 million a year on construction in any 3-year period

Register as a subcontractor if you do construction work for a contractor.

You must register as both if you fall under both categories.