A contractors guide to operating a limited company

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1 A contractors guide to operating a limited company

2 Index 1) About us 2) Our services 3) Bank accounts 4) Payroll, PAYE & National Insurance requirements 5) VAT requirements 6) Corporation tax 7) Obligations, reporting requirements and deadlines 8) Deductible expenses 9) Dividends 10) Guide to self assessment 11) IR35 legislation 12) Testimonials

3 About us Since our very earliest days, a significant proportion of our clients have been contractors. We understand this market and believe we offer an unparalleled level of accountancy and tax advice. So why choose Warr & Co? We believe we are different Independent non-biased advice We have no links with recruitment agencies and do not rely on them for client referrals. This means that if a difference of opinion ever arises between you and an agency, we are on your side 100%. A face-to-face meeting We believe that a face to face meeting is essential to understand your concerns, talk you through the basics, and provide you with information to help you run your business. We use plain English not technical jargon. Partner point of contact We don t have account managers or help desks. One of our partners will be your main point of contact who will be easily accessible to deal with any queries or concerns as they arise. You can communicate with us by , telephone or post, or indeed by a face to face meeting. Tax advice We will offer advice tailored to your personal circumstances. We consider that each of our clients is different and we reject a one size fits all approach. We will give guidance and advice on IR35 and we will help you structure remuneration and dividends so you can maximise your overall return within the structure of the law. No get rich quick schemes We will never assume that you want our help to hide income or avoid a legitimate tax liability. Nor will we ever recommend that you join an offshore tax avoidance scheme. No monthly charges We prefer not to bill you on a monthly basis, that way if you are not happy with our service you are completely free to leave at any time without having paid in advance and without any exit fees. Instead we invoice you once a particular task has been completed. Our fees Our fees are competitive and tailored to your particular requirements. We will always discuss our fees openly and frankly with you. Tax enquiries We appreciate that the prospect of an HMRC investigation is something that concerns most people in business. In reality, very few investigations are conducted by HMRC. But if it does happen to you, we are on hand to help and bring the investigation to a speedy conclusion. Furthermore, in almost all cases, our services in this area are provided free of charge (terms and conditions apply).

4 Bank Account Your company is a separate legal entity and as such, must have its own bank account. Most high street banks offer a limited period of free business banking however Warr & Co s business partners are able to offer our clients free business banking. We have the facility to open business bank accounts with the following: Bank of Scotland Bank of Scotland is part of the Lloyds banking group. The company bank account is an interest paying, internet access, current account. The account is not suitable if you require a business overdraft or debit card facilities. Cater Allen private bank Cater Allen is a private bank owned by the Santander group, one of the largest banks in the world. The deposits are fully guaranteed by Santander UK PLC. The bank account can be operated by phone, post or online. In branch deposit taking available at Royal bank of Scotland branches. Up to 30 transactions per month to qualify for free banking. Visa debit card available. No minimum balance is necessary. Please contact us directly to open one of the above business accounts.

5 PAYE and NIC (National Insurance Contributions) If you intent to pay a salary then a PAYE (pay as you earn) scheme will need to be set up with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). HMRC will allocate a reference number to your company and the company will be required to deduct tax and National Insurance from any salary paid to directors and employees. There are three PAYE responsibilities you have as a director, these being: 1. Deduct and pay to HMRC, Income tax and NIC from salary payments on either a monthly or quarterly basis. 2. File annual return form P14, P35 and P60 s online to HMRC by 19 th May after the end of the tax year. 3. Report any benefits and expenses paid to directors and employees by 6 th July after the end of the tax year, Form P11(d). Various penalties can be imposed for late or none submission of the above forms or payment of tax liabilities. Warr & Co can happily take on the compliance responsibility of this for you. Facts for 2011/12 The tax free allowance is 7,475. No tax is payable on the first 7475 of earnings. If your income exceeds 100k, this allowance is gradually withdrawn. The next 35k of salary is taxed at 20%, above this threshold, it is then taxed at 40% up to 150k. Any salary paid over 150k, tax is payable at 50%. The NIC free allowance is lower than the tax free allowance, this is 7,072 per annum. No NIC is payable on salaries under this threshold. An effective salary would therefore be 589 pm. At this level, you will qualify for state benefits without incurring any NI or tax. A salary paid in excess of 7,072 will incur employees NI at 12% on up to 35,250. Additional salary over this is then charged at 2% employees NI. The employer (your company) will also pay Employers NI at 13.8% on any salary over 7,072 pa.

6 Value added Tax (VAT) The registration for VAT is compulsory for businesses with sales over 73,000. The standard vat scheme is simply submitting a return on a quarterly basis and declaring output vat (VAT charged on your customer sales invoices) and reclaim any input vat (VAT incurred on purchase invoices from your supplier). An alternative to the standard vat scheme is the Flat rate scheme. This is a simplified vat scheme specifically for small businesses with a turnover of up to 150,000. By joining the VAT flat rate scheme, your invoices must have VAT charged at the standard rate of VAT, currently 20% however for forgoing claiming any input vat on your purchase invoices, HMRC allow you to pay over a flat rate percentage of your gross invoice value. The flat rate percentage is based on your industry. Industry rates: Flat rate % Management consultants 14% IT Consultancy 14.5% Example. Lets assume you have sales in the year for 100k, this will have vat charged on it at 20k therefore the gross invoice value is 120k An IT consultant would pay vat of 17,400 to HMRC ( 120k x 14.5%) Making an annual saving of 2,600! Once we have applied for your vat registration you should receive confirmation of your vat registration number within 6 weeks. This number must be quoted on all your sales invoices and vat then charged on invoices from the effective date. The completion of VAT returns must be submitted electronically on a quarterly basis and you must enrol directly with the HMRC government gateway in order to do this. Please ask us for our guide on how to enrol for VAT online. Surcharge penalties and interest will be charged for repeated failure to submit vat returns.

7 Corporation Tax Corporation tax is levied on the profits of companies. For most small companies, the rate of corporation tax is 20%. The payment of the tax is due nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period. We prepare a corporation tax computation and tax submission (form CT600) that is submitted directly to HMRC electronically once you have approved the accounts. It is important to retain in the company bank account a reserve for this liability. Dividends paid or received by a company are excluded from the calculation of profits. So for example, a management consultant company with profits of 40,000 after deducting 60,000 dividends will pay corporation tax on 100,000 profits. The payment of corporation tax must be made electronically by direct transfer, chaps, credit card or direct debit. The company unique tax number must be quoted on your payment, this will be found on the payment reminder slip that you will receive.

8 Obligations, reporting requirements and deadlines The company must file accounts, usually for a twelve month period. These accounts must be submitted to Companies House within 9 months following the year end of the company. The accounts must also be electronically submitted to HMRC within 12 months of the company year end. This must also be submitted with a company tax return, form CT600 and a tax computation. The payment of any corporation tax must be made within 9 months and 1 day following the year end of the company. On the anniversary of the company being formed, an annual return must be submitted to Companies House. This is a annual update of who are the directors, shareholders, registered office and activity of the company. Companies House charge an annual fee of 14 if this is completed online. Quarterly vat returns are required to be submitted online and any vat liability paid in the following month. Annual PAYE salary declarations (form P35) must be submitted online to HMRC by 19th May. Payroll liabilities can be paid either month or quarterly depending on the size of the liability. In addition to the payroll, a submission of benefits received from the company and expenses purchased and reimbursed from the company must be declared each year. This is known as a P11d form. The deadline for this is 19 th July. Should any taxable benefits exist, penalties apply for the late submission. Payment of any liability arising from the benefit (known as Class 1 a NIC) must by made by 19 th July. Self assessment personal tax returns must be submitted in paper format by 31 st October or online by 31 st January. Personal tax payments are due on 31 st January following the tax year with payments on account due 31 July. Harsh penalties are applied for the late submission of most reporting requirements.

9 Deductible expenses Expenses are allowed for expenditure that you need to incur to run your business. The exact type and level of expenses can be very complicated and it is important to read this guidance and act accordingly. Expenses incurred by the company must be wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business. Where the none-business purpose is merely incidental to the business purpose, a claim is still possible. If any claim has a dual purpose, then this expenditure will generally not be claimable. An example is clothing, you need to wear clothing whether you work or not, so the dual purpose prevents a claim. Salaries A salary paid to the director (assuming they are the fee earner for the company) will be an allowable expense, together with the National Insurance Contributions (NIC). If the contract is not caught by IR35 regulations then you are free to pay whatever level of salary you wish. Currently the level of salary before incurring National Insurance or tax is 589 per month. Salaries to the Company Secretary Whilst this in theory is possible, in reality this can be hard to justify. You can pay the going rate for secretarial support but this generally will not amount to very much. Home Office Costs The easiest method to claim for this is to claim the flat rate allowance of 156 per annum, no receipts are required and this is allowed by HMRC if you use part of your house as an office. Travel Costs Tax relief is available for travelling/accommodation expenses, which involve two types of journey: Journeys which you have to make in the performance of your duties; and Journeys which you make to or from a place they have to attend in the performance of their duties but not journeys which, are ordinary commuting or private travel. Relief is available for travel between home and a temporary workplace. A temporary workplace is where you go there to perform a task of limited duration or for a temporary purpose. Whether you can treat their workplace as temporary depends upon how long you are based at one particular site or expect to spend at one site, the amount of time spent at a workplace is also considered. In most cases a temporary workplace will be one where you do not, NOR expect to be at the site for more than 24 months.

10 Example If you sign a twelve month contract (at a new location), then you will be able to claim for most of the travel/accommodation costs involved. If, at the end of this contract you extend it for a further twelve months, at this stage you expect to be at the site for a total of at least 24 months and so any claims for travel/accommodation would cease at the date you sign the contract. If you extended for just 11 months, you could continue to claim, because at this stage you do not expect to be at the site for 24 months. There are some special circumstances that may effect any claims, please contact us if you require further details: If you are only based at one site whilst working through your company and then you close the company, i.e. you only ever work at one site whilst working through your company. If you work at more than one site on the same contract. If you generally work at various sites within a defined location (e.g. City of London) Mileage Allowance Payments Per Tax year First 10,000 miles Miles over 10,000 Cars 45p 25p Motor Bike 24p 24p Bicycle 20p 20p Other forms of travel (train, bus, plane, etc) are also eligible, however ensure that you obtain receipts for the journeys, overuse of taxis are not generally accepted so please avoid excessive use. Accommodation Hotels & Guesthouses Where an employee stays in a hotel or guesthouse, relief is permitted in full for the costs actually incurred. As always the invoice should be in the company name where possible. Rented Flats In many cases furnished accommodation (e.g. flats) can be obtained as a cheaper and more convenient alternative to hotel accommodation. Provided that the total cost of the accommodation is appropriate to the business need and is reasonable and not excessive, tax relief should be allowed. The cost will be accepted as reasonable where the total cost of providing the accommodation does not exceed the cost of hotel accommodation of an appropriate standard. In all cases (hotels/guesthouses/flats) you may also claim for the provision of breakfast and an evening meal. The cost of a sandwich purchased on the way to a temporary workplace can be claimed, although this does not include lunch prepared at home.

11 If you are staying away from home due to business commitments you may also claim for a subsistence allowance of 5/night ( 10/night overseas). This is intended to cover small incidentals such as laundry, newspapers etc. Mobile Telephones The provision of one mobile phone is an allowable deduction for tax purposes. This covers the cost of the phone, line rental and calls including personal calls provided that the following conditions apply: The contract must be in the name of the company and paid from the company bank account. The number of phones provided for private use is restricted to one. Internet Access You can claim the cost of Internet/Broadband access at your home subject to the following: There is no separate billing or record of access connections (if there is you can only claim for the business connections); No breakdown is possible between work and private connections; Private use is not significant; The contract must be in the name of the company and paid from the company bank account. Computer Equipment If you require the use of a computer/laptop in order to carry out your duties then you can claim for the cost of providing one. Pension Contributions A contribution to a pension scheme can be a deductible expense for corporation tax. There is a maximum annual contribution allowable of up to 50,000. Training Costs Work related training costs can be paid by your company provided that the purpose of the training is to upgrade or enhance your current skills. If the purpose of the training is to gain new skills, the cost will be treated as capital expenditure and your company will claim Capital Allowances. Notes The training must be designed to impart, instil, improve or reinforce any knowledge, skills or personal qualities which are likely to prove useful when performing your duties. Costs associated with the provision of the training are allowable such as travel and hotel accommodation. Insurance By law, every employer must take out a policy for employer s liability insurance, which covers the employer against claims by the employee for injury etc. This cover is no longer required if the company only employs its owner and they own at least 50% of the shares. Other insurance s that you may consider taking out include: Public liability Insurance to insure you against claims from third parties that may sue if they have suffered from your actions.

12 Professional Indemnity Insurance to insure you against any claims made against you, for example, if software written by you doesn t work. Christmas Party/Annual Event An annual event, commonly known as a Christmas Party is an allowable expense for the company and you will not be taxed upon it providing you meet the following conditions: The total cost must not exceed 150 per head if the cost is just 1p over then the whole cost will be subject to tax and NIC, not just the amount over 150; The event must be open to all staff, although in reality that will just be you! You may invite a partner, but if the partners are invited, all staff must be entitled to invite a partner invited partners will count for the 150 per head allowance each. Childcare costs Childcare costs paid for by an employer are exempt from both income tax and NIC. This applies where the employer pays for registered or approved childcare. The exemption is limited to 55 per week and any excess over this is subject to tax and NIC. The costs will normally be paid in the form of vouchers or alternatively paid direct to the childcare provider. Any scheme must be open to all employees. Approved childcare includes registered child minders, nurseries and play schemes, out of hours clubs run by a school or by a local authority and childcare schemes run by approved providers. Business Entertaining Business entertaining is not an allowable expense, whilst you can claim for any such entertaining the cost will be disregarded when calculating the taxable profits of your company. Miscellaneous Items Other costs than can be paid by your company will include: Accountancy fees Postage costs Stationery costs Relevant technical books, journals and subscriptions Bank charges and interest Computer consumables Important To avoid potential problems with anything you wish to claim for, it is vital that it is your company that makes the contract and pays for the expense you wish to claim for. This is particularly important when claiming for mobile phone, internet connection, computer equipment and training costs. Where possible, obtain a receipt in the company name.

13 Dividends A dividend can only be paid when the company has available profits after allowing for corporation tax. Provided that the recipient of the dividend is not a higher rate tax payer, no further tax is payable on the dividend. A dividend must be paid equally to all the shareholders and be supported by a meeting minute and a dividend voucher. The dividend paid to you from your company is the net amount. For tax purposes, this amount is grossed up with a 10% tax credit and the gross amount is used in the calculation of your personal tax liability. In the year to 5 April 2012, assuming a salary of 7,475 and the director had no other sources of taxable income, a further 31,500 could be paid to him as dividends without incurring any further personal tax liability. Dividends paid over and above this threshold would be taxable at an effective rate of 25% on the net dividend unless your total income exceeded 100,000. The effective rate on dividends over this threshold is 36.11%. A dividend is not a tax deductible expense for a business.

14 Guide to self assessment As a director of your company, you must register for self assessment and complete annual self assessment tax returns. The tax year is from 6 th April to 5 th April. The return must include all taxable income received in the year. Any tax due is payable by 31 st January following the tax year in question. If you are new to self assessment and have a tax liability over 1,000. HMRC will request that you make a payment of tax on account for the current year. This payment of account is simply calculated by your liability for the previous year with 50% payable on 31 January then the balance of 50% payable the following 31 st July. Should your current year income be significantly less, a reduction to the payment on account amounts is possible. The deadline for the submission of your self assessment return is 31 st October for paper returns or the later date of 31 st January is possible for online submissions.

15 Intermediaries legislation - IR35 If you are the director and owner of your own limited company you will be the person who must decide whether a particular engagement falls within the IR35 legislation. At Warr & Co, we are happy to talk you through the minefield of this legislation however we believe as this is a legal issue, specific advice from a tax status specialist should be sought. Contracts and engagements outside of IR35 If you decide that the contract falls outside of the scope of the IR35 legislation, you have greater flexibility over how to pay yourself. You should pay yourself a salary and claim back business expenses and overheads. Dividends can also be distributed from the profits of the company. What happens if the contract is caught by IR35? If, after a review of the contract and working practices, the engagement falls within the scope of IR35, HMRC sets out specific rules on how to calculate the tax that will be payable. You are required to pay the majority of your income as a salary (less a few qualifying deductions) this is referred to as their IR35 deemed salary. If you would like to discuss how this may effect your take home pay please call us on or

16 Testimonials Warr & Co have acted from inception to closure for my consulting company. I ve always found them to go the extra mile, simple things such as an immediate response to s, tax mitigation ideas and legitimate advice on how to avoid any personal tax! They even showed me a way for my company to gain around 2k per annum from being vat registered! No hesitation in recommending Pete, Tim, Suresh and the team Stuart Fielding Dynamic Projects Limited A first class service that surpassed my expectations, keep up the good work! Alan Elliott Air Ads Limited Warr & Co have been my accountants for many years and are always professional and personable, going that extra mile to deliver a service to suit me. I would recommend Warr & Co to anyone needing a top notch accountant/accountancy firm to maximise profits and minimise exposure I Ranson - Ranson Associates Ltd Warr & Co are first class accountants who genuinely understand the needs of small consultancies like Yukon Solutions. As well as providing all the expected accountancy services. Warr & Co have supplied excellent ad-hoc advice on matters such as financial planning and regulatory changes John Williams - Yukon Solutions Limited Warr & co provide excellent advice and guidance and I have no hesitation in recommending their services. Mark Cleary Serman Consultancy Limited We are an IT company based in the Midlands. The accountancy and taxation administration for any organisation is a burden and time consuming. Since we appointed Warr & Co, all this has gone and allowed us to concentrate on running our business. We highly recommend Warr & Co to anyone seeking a professional team of advisors, who are always on hand to assist you. Our , telephone calls and correspondence is answered very promptly. The pro-active advice we have received has enabled us to structure our business in a very tax efficient manner. Thank you Warr & Co. Chetan Bhardwa-Managing Director Webseekers Limited

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