Forming a company is a far easier and quicker process than many people usually imagine, and can be undertaken online within a matter of hours. Here’s a quick overview of what you will need to do to register your own business.

1. Begin by getting to grips with the types of company names and specific words and terms that you can’t use (you can check out the Government’s outline to guide you on this).

2. Brainstorm some ideas, running them by friends and family if needs be; try to choose a name that is short, succinct and that instantly describes both your company, as well as your USP. This task can sound far easier than it actually is, so if you are struggling you may wish to employ professional branding or copywriting services. Once you’ve settled upon a name it’s time to check whether the name is available (this can be done by using the Companies House search tool).

3. Beyond ensuring that your company name is available for use you also must check that your name isn’t trademarked. You can do this quickly and easily over on the Government’s trademark checker search tool.

4. Use an online service to officially register; online services make company registration a breeze; one such example is that of Company Formation 247; they allow you to check the availability of the company name and complete the process all online then and there.

Do I need to register for VAT?

Registering for VAT is a separate task altogether to registering for a company, and whether you need to do this or not will depend on a few factors, namely:
- Whether your turnover is £82,000 or above;
- Whether you’ve received goods into the UK from the EU that are worth in excess of £82,000;
- Whether you reasonably expect to go over the £82,000 threshold within a single 30 day period.

If any of these do apply to you then you can register for VAT all online at the Government’s website; be aware, however, that you will need to provide certain pieces of information, such as your turnover, business type, bank details and business activity.

An important point: Once complete you will have to wait to receive your VAT number – for this period you can’t legally display VAT on your invoices. However you will still have to pay VAT covering this timescale. To meet these payments you’re allowed to raise your prices and inform your customers as to why.

An overview of different company types

Sole trader
As soon as you begin working for yourself as a single individual you become a sole trader. However, contrary to popular belief, sole traders can have employees.
Whilst you keep any profits you make, after expenses, tax and national insurance, you’re personally liable for any losses the business makes. Sole traders are also required to register for VAT once they hit the threshold.
Lastly you are able to register a name for your business, even if it’s just you operating as an individual.

Limited Company
Limited companies are completely different to sole trader set ups, and it is the company that is responsible for any losses, should there be any. Equally any profits that are made are also owned by the company following payment of corporation tax. This set up is ideal for those wishing to keep their personal finances completely separate to that of their business.
Each limited company will have ‘members’; these are the people who have shares within the company and own a proportion of the business.

Business partnership
Business partnerships consist of two or more people, where both, or all partners share a legal responsibility for the business. Within this setup, all profits are shared, with each partner responsible for paying tax upon their profits.

Article by Eduardo Carvalho of Maddox Creative Digital.

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