Because setting up a company can be such a quick and painless process, it is easy to forget that there is more to it than just registering your business name with Companies House. Whether you do the job yourself or use a company formation service, once the business is established, there are other responsibilities that the company director has on a regular basis. Fail to comply with these and you be facing an unpleasant encounter with the business bogeyman – HMRC.
Company formation basics
When you decide to start a business, then you have different formats to choose from, depending on the nature of the business. For some, setting up as a sole trader is the ideal solution but for many businesses, being formed as a limited company is the best option. There is a process to follow to set up a company that involves both Companies House and HMRC and a series of information that is required to create the company.There are some rules about the name you can give your company to start with – Companies House website has a page that tells you all about this here and includes things like not using the word ‘royal’ or ‘queen’ as it hints at a connection with the royal family. Once you have a name that is acceptable, you need at least one director and one shareholder. All of this information is submitted to Companies House and you can do this yourself or simplify the process by using a company formation service.
Once the company is set up and you have a Certificate to prove it, then that stage of the process is complete. But there are also a number of other responsibilities that business owners have during the course of the year. Firstly, there are the annual tasks that need to be done.Each year a Confirmation Statement needs to be filed with Companies House. This is an overview of the company including the shareholders and directors and confirms that all the information held on the business is correct. It needs to be done once a year and can be done online or on paper, though the latter is more expensive.Annual accounts are required to be filed with Companies House, although this only needs to be an abbreviated version. HMRC will require a full set of accounts including profit and loss accounts and a director’s report. These need to be filed separately as the two don’t pass papers between them. Along with this, form CT600 needs to be completed and this is usually done by the company’s accountant as it is quite a complicated form.Every company director must also complete an annual self-assessment to declare the income they have receive from any source including from the company. Any businesses that have staff are also required to report their annual employer returns, although most of this is now done through the PAYE system in real-time.
Any business that earns more than the stated threshold must registered for VAT and it is important to remember that when you register, the accounts for the previous 12 months must be taken into account. Being VAT registered means you need to complete a quarterly return on your VAT which can be done online. It is due by the end of the month following the end of the quarter.While you only file one form, both HMRC and Companies House will fine you if you don’t complete this information so it is very important not to miss this.