News Reel & Blog

What becoming a limited company means and why we recommend it

Written by Daniel Kirby on 26th July 2017

It is increasingly common for our clients to request freelancers who are established as limited companies, meaning we are much more likely to be able to find you work if you are registered as one, and we highly recommend doing so. We've put together this article in order to give you a better understanding of what the process involves and the differences between being a limited company and a sole trader, from taxation to administrative requirements.

Sole traders vs limited companies

Being a sole trader is the same thing as being self-employed. If you’re a sole trader then you and your business are the same thing, with no legal separation.

Legally, a limited company is a completely distinct entity from the person who forms it, meaning it gives you ‘limited liability’. If you are a sole trader and your business fails, this means your personal assets are at risk. However if you are a limited company your personal assets are completely separate from the business and are safe.

Tax for sole traders

Sole traders pay income tax and national insurance through their personal tax return which is filed annually with HMRC.

Based on current tax rates their first £11,500 of income (sole trader and any other income) is typically tax free, between £11,500 and £45,000 there is 20% tax and above that the rate rises to 40%.

Tax for limited companies

Tax is calculated differently for limited companies, which have to pay 20% tax on their profits. As you and your company are legally distinct entities it is worth considering how you obtain money from your company, for example a particularly tax efficient way of doing this is through a combination of a low salary and then dividends. By being a limited company you have the potential to pay less tax.

Another benefit of being a limited company can arise if you are able to allow profit from the company to build up rather than extracting it immediately. This is because you do not need to pay personal tax on this money as it is tied up within the business.

Administrative requirements

Sole traders have less work to do regarding taxes, they just need to track their income and expenses during the year, and then include this information on their tax returns.

Limited companies have more administrative responsibilities, and it is recommended that they use an accountant to handle their filings in order to ensure they are tracked and dealt with correctly.


It is a simple process to become a limited company, and one which costs around £15. You can find out more details about the process here.

Further limited company benefits

A limited company status gives the impression of a more legitimate and grounded business, resulting in the increase in clients requesting only freelancers who are registered as such. For this reason we are only able to take freelancers on to our books if they are registered as limited companies.