Business

The mechanics of starting your business

Sole trader

A sole trader is your trading as your business. For example, Fiona’s Flowers, Greg’s Hairdressers, or Paul Power Landscapes. It is the most popular choice of trading identity for those offering either a service or a small retail concession.

National Insurance

You will also be required to pay flat-rate Class 2 National Insurance Contributions currently at £2.05 a week, which can be paid by direct debit. If your profits exceed a specific limit, you will have to pay Class 4 National Insurance Contributions. The present limit is £4,745. If the earnings from your business are low, then you may not have to pay national insurance, but you must apply for an exemption.

Decide whether or not to register for VAT.

If you decide to register for VAT, you should inform Customs and Excise and register your business with them. We’ll look at the factors that you’ll need to consider when making your decision in just a moment.

Record keeping

You are required to keep an accurate and truthful record of all your business income and expenditure. How you record these transactions is entirely a matter for you. If you wish to register them on a roll of toilet paper using a crayon, then you may. But, of course, it makes sense to record them in a format where you, as the business owner, can readily see at any given time whether your business is making a profit or loss.

Comply with any other regulations that may be applicable

Depending on the type of business you’re going to start, you may have to register with other government agencies. For example, if you’re preparing or selling food, you’ll need to contact your local environmental health department and comply with any statutory regulations. You’re now ready to trade as a sole trader.

Deed of partnership

A deed of partnership is a legally binding agreement between the business partners. This agreement describes how the association is to be run and details individual duties and obligations.

Business debts are joint.

Just as a sole trader has unlimited liability for their business debts, partners have total liability for their business debts, too. So if your partner accumulates business debts without your knowledge, you are also liable for them.

Taxation

You must contact the Inland Revenue and inform them that your new partnership exists. You’ll then be sent a partnership return, which you must complete. This will include a partnership statement, which shows how profits and losses have been divided amongst the partners. Although usually only one member of the partnership is nominated to complete the partnership return, every partner is liable in the event of any penalty if the form is submitted late, or there is a false declaration, etc.

Forming your own company

Forming your own company can take several weeks. If at all possible, you’d be well advised to employ either an accountant or solicitor to do it on your behalf or purchase a ready-made company. If you decide to do it yourself, you will need to get all the relevant documentation from Companies House by phoning and requesting a starter pack. You will then need to register the company with the Registrar of Companies by sending.

Registering for VAT

At some point, you will have to decide whether or not to register for VAT. I say choose because not all businesses will have to register. Before we get to look at the circumstances when you must register for VAT, let’s look at VAT itself.

Summary

They also run several business advice open days, which are free to attend and are run at various times throughout the year. These available days are run together with other agencies such as Inland Revenue, Health, and Safety, Office of Fair Trading, etc.

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