Thank you for your patience
The options available to you are
Sole trader (self-employed) or form a Ltd company
As you are already registered for self assessment and have a UTR number you would have to notify HMRC of your self employment within 90 days of commencement and add supplementary pages covering income from self employment with your tax return if wself emplyed route were to be taken.
Based on tax rates and allowances etc for 2014-15
As a sole trader your profits would be taxed at your top slice rate whether you draw them or not.
Income tax on income after allowances ....
first £31,865 at 20%, £31,866-£150,000 at 40% and over £150,000 at 45%
Profits would also be liable to NIC Class 4 if your income was UK based. If all of your self employed profits were from overseas based operation then you would be exempt from paying Class 4 NIC.
Here are NIC rates for tax year 2014-15
Profits between £7,956 and £41,865 at 9%
Profits above £41,865 at 2%
In addition, you would be paying NIC Class 2 at a flat rate of £2.75 per week.
You file personal tax return and report your self employment profits on supplementary page SA103.
Accounting reporting requirements are not governed by Company Act legislation and are not that strict.
The other option would be to operate as a LTD company.
The accounting and reporting requirements are governed by Companies Act 2006 and Financial reporting Statements (Accounting standards).
Company accounts are prepared on an annual basis. You pay Corporation tax at 20% on profits up to £300,000. Tax is due nine months and a day after accounting period end. CT return is due 12 months after end of accounting period. Say the company was formed in Mar 2015 and the year end is Mar 2016 and annually thereafter, your first CT would be payable no later than 1 Jan*****returns due by 31 Mar 2017. You have flexibility on salary/dividend mix and you don't have to distribute all taxed profits as dividends.
Dividends are taxed at 10%, 32.5% or 42.5% as the top slice of your total income.
There are other HMRC requirements e.g PAYE and you still have to file a personal tax return.
I have explained to you the two alternatives.
You would be best advised to seek consultation with a good accountant before you decide which route to adopt. He would be able to also advise you on costs associated with accountancy services and other associated regulatory costs.
As far as VAT goes ... it would be advantageous to register for VAT if most of your customer base is VAT registered. Otherwise, to remain competitive you make have to eat into your profit margins. You would certainly save money by reclaiming VAT input on your expenses and purchases. You may have to do some what if exercises to see if it is beneficial to register for VAT.
Comparison of tax liability on profits of say £140,000
As self employed
As the net income is above £100k then personal allowance is reduced to nil and all income becomes taxable
31,865 @ 20% = 6,373
108,135 @ 40% = 43,254
Total tax payable (6,373+43,254) = £49,627
As LTD company
Salary say 10,000
Profit before tax £140,000
CT @20% = £28,000
Profit after tax = £112,000
Dividend paid = £112,000
Tax credit = £12,444
Gross amount (112,000+12,444)= £124,444
Income tax payable
10,000 @20% = 2,000
21,865 @ 10% = 2,186
102,579 @ 32.5% = 33,338
Total tax (2,000+2,186+33,338) = 37,524
Tax payable after tax credit (37,524-12,444) = £25,080
Total tax payable (25,080+28,000) = £53,080
If you were to distribute all profits after tax as dividends then you are better off being self employed rather than trading through LTD. On the other hand, you may draw down dividends on a needs basis and retain some of the taxed profits in the business, in this case it may pay to conduct business through LTD company.
I hope this is helpful and answers your question.
If you have any other questions, please ask me before you rate my service – I’ll be happy to respond.