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Micro-accounts: all you need to know
What are micro-entity accounts?

While all companies must submit a Company Tax Return to HMRC, small companies have flexibility when it comes to their statutory accounts. If you want to save time and money, you have the option to submit them in a simplified format called 'micro-entity accounts'.

According to the Companies Act 2006, a limited company is classified as a micro-entity if it meets two out of three conditions during the financial year. The company must not exceed any of the following thresholds:

  • Annual turnover of £632,000
  • Balance sheet total of £316,000
  • Average of 10 employees throughout the year

Thanks to The Small Companies (Micro Entities' Accounts) Regulations 2013, micro companies are exempt from certain financial reporting requirements when preparing their year-end accounts under the Companies Act. However, there are some exceptions to the micro-entity regime, including:

  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • Public limited companies
  • Limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
  • Investment undertakings that manage collective investor assets
  • Financial institutions like banks
  • Subsidiaries of larger parent companies that are consolidated in the group's accounts

The introduction of the micro-entity regime aimed to alleviate the burden of time-consuming requirements on the smallest companies in the UK, ensuring they have a simplified and more cost-effective approach.

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Should I file micro company accounts?

Filing micro-entity accounts has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, opting for micro-entity accounts can save you time and reduce stress since certain documents, like a director's report, are not required. If your limited company consists of just a few staff members and you don't have shareholders who need regular performance updates, your year-end accounts may be seen as a compliance task that you want to complete quickly.

You might also choose to file "filleted" accounts with Companies House, which limits the amount of publicly available information about your company's financial performance. This can prevent competitors from accessing details about your financial situation and help maintain the privacy of your information.

However, if you're actively seeking new shareholders or funding to facilitate your company's growth, micro-entity accounts may pose a challenge. Without a comprehensive financial overview of your operations, it could be more difficult to attract additional investment or secure loans that are crucial for expansion opportunities.

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How do I prepare micro-entity accounts?

If you opt to prepare micro-entity accounts, the required documents include:

  1. A shortened profit and loss account, starting from gross profit instead of turnover.
  2. A condensed balance sheet, excluding main headings such as debtors and creditors.
  3. An auditor's report, unless you qualify for the Small Companies audit exemption.

Unlike small businesses filing abridged accounts, micro-entities are not required to include a director's report. Additionally, many micro-entities are exempt from undergoing an audit, eliminating the need for an auditor's report.

You also have the option to "fillet" your accounts for the public record, reducing the amount of publicly available information. In this case, you only need to file a balance sheet with footnotes. It's important to include a statement that the profit and loss account has not been filed, and that your annual accounts have been submitted following the Small Companies' regime.

However, even if you file micro-entity accounts, it remains essential to privately provide as much information as possible to your company's members and shareholders. They have invested their time and/or money into your business and have the right to know its performance.

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How do I file micro-entity accounts?

Micro companies have different avenues available to them when it comes to filing their micro-entity accounts, one of which is the Companies House WebFiling service. This online platform allows you to submit your accounts directly to Companies House. Alternatively, if you prefer to file your accounts with both HMRC and Companies House simultaneously, you can utilize the Company Accounts and Tax Online (CATO) service. To access CATO, you will need your Government Gateway credentials and a Companies House company authentication code.

If you find it more convenient, you also have the option to file your accounts on paper by sending them via post. However, it is important to note that this method may require additional time for processing. Therefore, it is advisable to allow ample time for the submission and delivery of your accounts when opting for the paper filing method.

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Should I use an accountant to file micro company accounts?

Filing micro-entity accounts can be challenging, especially when it comes to ensuring compliance with the FRS 105 Financial Reporting Standard. Even if you have experience in preparing profit and loss accounts and balance sheets, you may not be fully aware of the specific requirements for the abridged versions. To ensure that you meet all the necessary regulations and to save yourself considerable time and effort, it is highly recommended to enlist the services of an accountant to handle the filing of micro company accounts. By working with an accountant, you can benefit from their expertise and ensure accurate and compliant submission of your accounts.

How much does it cost to get an accountant for micro company accounts?

The fees charged by accountants are typically influenced by several factors, including the size of your company, the complexity of your accounts, and the location of the accountant. For micro companies, which have smaller financial operations, the costs associated with hiring an accountant are generally on the lower end of the scale. If your company's annual turnover falls within the range of £20,000 to £300,000, you can expect to pay approximately £150 to £600 for the services of an accountant to handle your accounts. Additional services such as VAT returns may incur an additional cost of around £100 to £200.

It's important to keep in mind that these figures serve as general guidelines, and the actual cost of accounting services can vary. To get a more accurate tailored to your specific circumstances, it is recommended to consult with accountants in your area. They will be able to provide you with more precise information about the costs associated with managing your company's accounts.

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How to set up a limited company in the UK

When starting a business, it's common to operate as a sole trader and essentially work for yourself. But as you gain more experience, transitioning to a private limited company may become more advantageous.

While the process of forming a limited company (Ltd) is relatively simple, it's crucial to understand the legal, financial, and other obligations that come with it.

To learn all about private limited companies and the steps to establish one, continue reading below.

The different types of business structure
There are four common types of business structures in the UK: sole trader, partnership, limited company (Ltd), and limited liability partnership (LLP). Each of these structures has its own pros and cons, which depend on various factors such as the size and nature of your business, and your future plans. To provide a brief overview, let's compare and contrast each of these business structures.
Sole trader (self-employed)

Sole traders have the advantage of not having to pay registration fees, dealing with little bureaucracy, and maintaining full control over their business decisions. They also get to keep all their business profits after tax. However, the main disadvantage is that there is no legal separation between personal and business finances, which means that any business debts or liabilities can be met from the owner's personal wealth. This personal risk makes it unsuitable for high-cost startups. Overall, it is a simple and flexible business structure.
Becoming a sole trader, which is often synonymous with being self-employed, is a popular and straightforward business structure for startups. Unlike other structures, such as limited companies, sole traders are taxed on their profits rather than being subject to corporation tax. If your profits exceed £45,001, you'll be taxed at 40%, and any profits above £150,000 will be taxed at 45%. You may also have to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions, depending on your profits. Although being a sole trader doesn't mean you have to work alone; you can hire employees, as long as you comply with employment laws and notify HMRC.
Your advantages as a sole trader include no registration fees, minimal paperwork, and complete control over business decisions. In addition, you get to keep all the profits after taxes.
However, one of the main disadvantages is that your business and personal finances are not separate, which means that any debt or legal action against the business may impact your personal wealth. This puts you at a higher personal risk compared to other business structures and may not be suitable for a high-cost startup.
Overall, the sole trader structure is straightforward and flexible, but it comes with a significant amount of personal liability.

Партнерство — это бизнес-структура, в которой два или более человека соглашаются создать бизнес и разделить собственность, прибыль и обязательства, как указано в соглашении о партнерстве. Как и в случае с индивидуальным предпринимателем, каждый партнер регистрируется как самозанятый и подает отдельные налоговые декларации. В партнерстве может быть любое количество партнеров, но более крупными партнерствами может стать сложнее управлять, и они могут представлять большие риски (в этом случае партнерство с ограниченной ответственностью может быть более подходящим).

Преимущества партнерства включают в себя гибкость, простоту и преимущество наличия нескольких владельцев для управления бизнесом. Однако существенным недостатком является то, что все партнеры несут совместную ответственность за деловые долги и обязательства, а это означает, что в случае успешного судебного разбирательства против одного партнера все партнеры несут совместную ответственность за любые убытки.

Резюме: Оптимизированная структура бизнеса, подходящая для партнеров, которые имеют хорошие отношения и доверяют друг другу, но с риском общих обязательств.
Limited company
To establish a limited company, you need to register it at Companies House, which creates a separate legal entity. This offers the advantage of separating your personal finances from those of the business, reducing your exposure to financial risk. Another benefit is the corporation tax rate of 19%, which is often more tax-efficient than paying income tax. However, a limited company requires more administration and may require a company secretary and an accountant. You must submit an annual company tax return and statutory accounts to HMRC, and you are responsible for paying employees’ income tax and NI contributions. For contractors, a limited company or an umbrella company is a more common structure than a sole trader due to potential legal issues related to employment status.
Limited liability partnership
An LLP (limited liability partnership) is a structure often used by professional services businesses like accountancy or legal firms. It's similar to a regular partnership, but offers limited liability like a limited company. To set up an LLP, it must be registered at Companies House and must have at least two "designated members" who are responsible for filing annual accounts.
Advantages of an LLP include that each partner registers as self-employed and is only liable for the face value of their share if the business fails. However, the administrative burden of an LLP is similar to that of a limited company, so it may require an accountant or company secretary.
Summary: An LLP is a good option for larger partnerships looking for the protection of limited liability.
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Director Service Address
Digital mail forwarding from Companies House & HMRC
Digital Certificate of Incorporation
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