Sole Trader vs Limited Company? What are the differences and why should I register as a limited company?
This is the million-dollar question faced by Irish residents in a start-up scenario. It depends on numerous factors such as your type of business, whether you’re still going to be in other employment, likelihood of success, projected turnover, whether you have investors now or in future, whether you want to put profits into a pension, etc.
The best advice we can give is to talk to an Accountant or Tax Advisor. Preferably a good one! A good Accountant will evaluate your business and give you the pros and cons of your type of business. If you want us to put you in touch with a good Accountant in your area please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have a network of contacts around the country whom we work with.
The main difference is that a Limited Company is a separate legal entity from the individuals involved (Directors and Shareholders) A Limited Company needs to make Annual Returns with the Companies Office and there is more compliance and red tape, however, they are generally thought to be the most tax efficient. For example, Company Directors can put profits into their pensions virtually tax-free (within reason of course!)
If you register as a Sole Trader or a Partnership you will need to register a Business Name if you are carrying out business under a name other than your own e.g. ‘John Smith Carpentry’ as opposed to just ‘John Smith’ You and your business are legally and financially the same person, so you don’t have ‘limited liability’ like you do with a Limited Company.
Should I register my company for VAT?
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a minefield for many people when starting a new business and it’s something we are asked about by our clients on a regular basis. Most ask us how they can avoid it! The purpose of this article is to give a brief overview of VAT, and to explain why it actually may be a good idea for businesses to voluntarily register for VAT. However, it should be noted that a company cannot register for VAT unless it has a physical trade in Ireland, i.e. the company has a base in Ireland and/or is making sales to Irish customers.