The Pros and Cons of being a Limited Company

25th October 2011
The Pros and Cons of being a Limited Company image

The Pros and Cons of being a Limited Company

All businesses need to decide the best medium for that business, such as being a partnership/sole trader or say a limited company.

Particularly when I advise small to medium sized businesses I am surprised by the number of these businesses that are not incorporated (i.e. not a limited company) and have not properly considered whether to become incorporated.  So what are the pros and cons of being a limited company?

The Pros

  1. The main advantage is the limited liability status of the company.  If the company gets into financial trouble, save for certain exceptions, the owners’ liability is limited to the extent of their shareholding (e.g. a £1 share) and their personal assets are safe from a claim from the company’s creditors.  The advantage is often diminished where banks or other sources of credit insist on the owners giving personal guarantees.
  1. Quite often the word “limited” after a business name may provide enhanced status in the eyes of bankers, suppliers, potential customers and can often help to gain new contracts.
  1. There can be significant tax advantages.  A limited company pays tax on its profits, and its directors are taxed on what they receive in remuneration from the company.  A partnership on the other hand is not taxed in its own right as a company is (as it is not a separate legal entity).  Instead each partner is taxed on his or her share of the profits, irrespective of how much they have taken out of the business.

Let’s say for example the business makes a profit of £200,000 and pays “salaries” of say £100,000 in total to its two owners.  In the case of a limited company, it would be taxed at 21% on the sum of £100,000 (profit less salaries), and the directors would be taxed at 40% on the salaries of £50,000 each.  The total tax payable would be £61,000 (£21,000 plus £40,000).  In the case of a partnership, the partners would be taxed at 40% on all of the sum of £200,000, even though only £100,000 is paid out in salaries/drawings.  The total tax liability would therefore be £80,000.

  1. Furthermore there are often tax advantages from being a limited company as owners can pay themselves a nominal salary plus substantial dividends at lower rates of tax.  For example you might only have to pay 10% tax on dividends.

The Cons

  1. I think the main disadvantage is the extra administration burdens that can arise.  As a limited company you have to file accounts and information at Companies House, and often these involve a significant cost in terms of accountants’ fees etc.  However usually the tax advantages outweigh these disadvantages.
  1. There can be tax disadvantages in being a limited company and some of these include a less favourable treatment of trading losses that may arise, reduced IHT relief for assets owned personally but used by the company, e.g. premises. Particular care also needs to be taken when there is a prospect that the business could be sold within 2 or 3 years.

If you need advice on whether your business should be a limited company or not then please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or Gemma Mayer on 01775 722261 or email gemma.mayer@maplessolicitors.com


How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

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Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!