First Time Contractor Guide

(42–50 minutes to read)

Contracting, tax and expenses, all explained in one easy to read jargon-free guide.

Below you will find probably the most comprehensive guide available anywhere, moving from permanent employment to contracting can be quite a daunting task. There are lots of things to consider, yes it does require more administration than being an employee but for many it is well worth the effort both financially and mentally, also we are here to help! We’re the chosen accountants to over 1,000 contractor limited company clients, we have won numerous awards and are family owned rather than owned by some faceless bank or corporation.

If you would rather read the guide below offline click this link to download a PDF copy.

What exactly is a ‘contractor’?

You may well know this already, but we thought it might help to just give a quick overview of what we mean by a contractor in the context of this guide, as opposed to a freelancer or other temporary worker.

A contractor ‘contracts out’ their time to a client in return for payment, and usually only has one client at a time, unlike a freelancer who may work with many clients simultaneously. Contractors also usually work on client site, though some may have home working arrangements with their clients if that suits both parties.

As a contractor you will charge an agreed hourly or daily rate for your services, and will then invoice your client for your time each month, either directly or through an intermediary. This is why most contractors choose to set up and operate through a limited company, as it makes managing their finances far easier. In fact, many clients insist on this as part of a contract agreement.

Why do companies use contractors?

This is an interesting question, and one which is important to consider when you start out. Think of yourself as a highly skilled external specialist, who is being brought in to a client’s business to carry out a specific task. They need your expertise for a period of time, in a flexible way – and as such they may not wish to employ someone permanently.

By hiring a contractor they also do not incur the costs of an employee such as holiday or sick pay, employer’s National Insurance and so on. This makes it more cost effective for them overall, yet they are still able to pay you a higher rate than they would pay to an employee. So it works really well for both parties.

Why do people go contracting?

As we outlined earlier, there is a very real opportunity to make more money as a contractor than you would as an employee, so this is always a key reason, and we’ll look at all the advantages in more detail shortly. But the decision to take the leap into contracting is often still one which people only take when they have to – usually due to redundancy, and not being able to find a suitable new role straight away. Having said that, once people have made the move into contracting – whether out of choice or necessity, they very quickly see the benefits and rarely go back! We’re also finding more and more people who are choosing to try out contracting after taking early retirement – and of course, a huge number who just look at all of the benefits and decide to take the plunge…

What are the pros and cons?

At first glance, the whole idea of becoming a contractor can seem hugely scary, which is why many people only consider it when they have to. But you only have to talk to people who have been working this way for a while, and it soon becomes clear that the advantages of the contracting lifestyle far outweigh any of the disadvantages which you might be concerned about.

Higher income – as we mentioned above, you come in as a flexible, highly skilled resource, but without the costs of an employee, which means your client can afford to pay you more.

Better tax planning – if you operate through your own limited company, you have far more opportunity to pay less tax through more efficient financial planning.

Flexibility – you have the ability to change contracts as and when you choose, or to only work for part of the year and to take breaks between contracts.

Freedom – no-one can tell you what to do in the same way an employer can. As your own boss, you can turn down a contract or choose not to renew if you don’t like it.

Skill development – you can choose different types of contract in order to gain extra skills in certain disciplines, to build up your own experience.

Variety of work – you can opt to work within different types of businesses, and on different projects, simply to make your working life more interesting. All of these above really comes down to one thing – quality of life. You spend a huge amount of your life at work, so you might as well do something you enjoy, something you get paid well for, and something that works around the rest of your life, not the other way about. That elusive ‘work/life balance’ which is so highly sought after! We are firm believers that contracting is a brilliant way to earn the money you need in order to enjoy your life, and also to have the type of career that you always wanted for yourself. But it doesn’t suit everyone, and this brings us on to a few potential negatives which should also be mentioned – though as you will see, some of these are not as bad as you might first imagine.

Lack of security – as an employee you have a perceived level of security which you maybe don’t have when working as a contractor. But jobs can come to an end too, sometimes without any warning, whereas you will know when your contract is up for renewal. So you can be planning accordingly for what comes next.

No guarantee of next contract – this is true, but you have to believe in your own worth and your own ability to ‘sell’ your services. If you found one contract, you can find another, and arguably, a new contract is easier to find than a new job, so this lifestyle may not be as ‘insecure’ as it first appears.

Financial uncertainty – you may of course have times when you end up with a gap between contracts, or need to take time off for various reasons, and it’s understandable to worry about your income if this happens. But if you plan ahead and put a percentage of your income into a ‘rainy day’ fund, this won’t be an issue.

No holiday pay and sick pay – this is a common concern, but remember that you’re getting a higher income because your client isn’t having to fork out for those types of things. So it’s down to you to prepare for those eventualities by planning your finances accordingly, to cover times when you are not able to work, or choose not to.

All that paperwork – we often talk to people who are put off the idea of contracting because they think they will be swamped by admin tasks, or they are terrified of dealing with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). In reality though it’s not anything like as bad as you probably imagine, and most of it will be done by your accountant.

We think that covers the main concerns which most people mention, but if you have any others, then talk to a good accountant before making the decision to go contracting. And of course by that we mean us!

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

Deciding which way to run your business

As a firm of specialist contractor accountants, we would always recommend that you set up a limited
company, or operate through an umbrella company. The decision between these two options depends
primarily on your level of income and on whether you think you will be contracting for a long time or not.

However, there are two other options which you may hear about, so we thought we’d cover those first and explain why they may not be the best route for you.

a) Self employment
Anyone can register as a self-employed ‘sole trader’ with HMRC, then send their clients invoices and receive payment for their time. However, many large companies who hire contractors will not pay an individual, they will only pay a business – preferring to work only with limited companies.

What’s more of an issue though, as a sole trader you are open to any ‘liabilities’ which come your way – for example if the business went bust, or someone tried to sue you for any reason. In these types of situations, the responsibility falls with you, not your company – so everything you own could be on the line, including the roof over your head! This is why we always recommend that contractors set up a limited company, which basically ensures that you have ‘limited liability’ should the worst happen.

b) Agency employee
This basically mans that you are an employee of an agency, who then places you with one or more client companies. So, while you still move from one client to another, and have the benefit of a more varied working life, you are still an employee. Which means that you gain very few of the benefits of being a contractor – such as higher pay rates or better tax planning, and that all-important freedom and flexibility. So while it still might seem like a ‘safer’ option, it really does limit the benefits that you actually set out to gain when you decided to go contracting.

Hopefully that all makes sense in terms of why we wouldn’t recommend these approaches, so let’s move on to the two main options which are open to you.

c) Umbrella company
From our experience, it is only worth choosing to operate through an umbrella company if you will be earning less than £25,000 per year and/or you are only intending to contract for a relatively short period of time. If you do not fall into either of these categories, and you want to gain all of the potential benefits of being a contractor, then deciding to become an employee of an umbrella company may not be the best option for you.

If either of the circumstances we mentioned are the case, then an umbrella company could be your best bet – so here’s a little more information about how it works.

When you operate through an umbrella company, you become an employee of that company, and then they in effect ‘contract out’ your services to end clients, usually through a recruitment agency. You will need to complete a timesheet for the umbrella company each week/month, and they raise the invoice to your client or agency.

You then receive payment from the umbrella company in a standard PAYE manner, less deductions for tax and National Insurance (NI) – as well as a deduction from the umbrella company, which is their margin for managing your finances. With this arrangement, you are also usually able to claim for some basic expenses, but these can be quite limited.

The benefit of this approach is that it simplifies your finances and your admin, and means that you don’t have to set up a limited company – so it is a very easy option, and ideal if you’re not sure whether you want contract long term or not. However, as with agency employment, you won’t have any of the most important benefits of being a contractor – higher income, more tax planning options, freedom, flexibility and so on. You also don’t control your invoicing, and hence your income, so you are relying on a third party to bring in that income for you.

If you feel that working through an umbrella company is your best option, or would like to know more about how it works, based on your specific circumstances, then please have a look at our sister company’s website –

Given that we appreciate you may well look at other options as well at this stage, it’s also worth mentioning that many umbrella companies can have a tendency to over promise on what they can deliver. This usually comes in the form of mentions of ‘special dispensations’ and ‘HMRC-approved expense policies’ which imply they can help you to bring in a higher level of take-home pay – so we’d advise you to be very cautious if you hear these types of sales messages.

d) Limited company
A limited company (also knowns as a ‘personal service company’) is by far the most popular way to work for most contractors, and is definitely the option that we would recommend. This involves setting up, and becoming a director of your own limited company – which gives you all of the ‘limited liability’ benefits which we mentioned earlier, and ensures that your work life and your personal life are completely separate, from a financial perspective.

This means that legally you are two separate entities, and that any contract is created between your company and your client, not between you and your client. It also means that your company is liable for any genuine unpaid debts you incur, not you personally – although of course we’re not expecting you to ever get into that situation!

As a contractor, you become the sole director of your limited company and you have complete control over it. But of course that does come with some legal responsibilities, and it’s important to know what those are. We’re going to explain them later, but we would also strongly recommend that you take personal advice from a specialist contractor accountant like ourselves, before making any major decisions.

How to set up a limited company

Once you have made the decision to set up a limited company, it is most definitely a good idea
to get an accountant on board before you actually start the process. Of course we hope you choose Dolan Accountancy, but most good accountants will be able to guide you through the process of getting your limited company set up, and dealing with all the other associated requirements – such as opening a business bank account.

We have detailed the steps below, but it really isn’t as scary as it sounds, especially with the right advice and support from an expert!

a) Company name
The process of ‘incorporation’ of your limited company as it’s known is fairly straightforward, but before you can start, you need to decide on a name for your company. Many people use a combination of their name and initials, but they key thing is that it cannot be the same as another
registered company name, and it can’t even be similar, so you will need to check the Companies House register before proceeding. More advice on the legalities of choosing a name can be found on the website.

b) Decide on your registered address
This is the address where HMRC will send all your official paperwork and it has to be a physical UK address. It also has to be in the country where your company is registered.

c) Appoint a director and shareholder
Any limited company has to have at least one director, and this will be you. You do not have to appoint any other directors, and you no longer have to appoint a secretary. The named director is responsible for running the company in accordance with all relevant legal requirements, and for completing all of the necessary paperwork for HMRC. You must be over 16 and not have been disqualified from being the director of a limited company previously.

A limited company is ‘limited by shares’ which means it is owned by shareholders who have certain rights. In this case, you will be the only shareholder and will own 100% of the company, unless you decide to give part of your company to someone else. We would always recommend taking professional advice on the optimum share structure of your company from your accountant.

d) Create memorandum and articles of association
When you register a new limited company you need a ‘memorandum of association’ which is a legal document signed by all initial shareholders, so in this case, you. There is a template for this on the website. You also need ‘articles of association’ which are written rules about running the company, agreed by all directors and shareholders, so again, that’s just you! Standard ‘model articles’ are also available on the website.

e) Register your company
This is the exciting bit! Once you have all of the above areas in order, you can then register your company online, or your accountant can do this for you. At the same time they can also register you for Corporation Tax – which has to be done within three months of ‘starting to do business’. That means the point at which you start working for your first client, or even advertising your services or registering with an agency.

After your limited company has been registered, it will usually be set up within a few hours. Every new company has a date on which it was incorporated, and this date will be shown on your Certificate of Incorporation. Your financial year is usually worked out as being the last day of the month after incorporation, so for example if you set up your limited company in the 20th of January, the end of your first financial year will be 31st January of the following year. This can be changed afterwards, but there is no real benefit in doing so.

f) Set up your business bank account
It’s a legal requirement that all limited companies have a business bank account, so that all funds which go through the business are traceable. This includes your own business income and expenses, and the salary or dividends you pay yourself – plus thing like NI, Corporation Tax, VAT payments if relevant and so on.

Setting up a business bank account is simple and can take up to a week, but again your accountant can help with this. All banks carry out security screening, and they will want to see your Certificate of Incorporation, your memorandum and articles of association, your share certificates (if relevant), proof of address and photo ID – so make sure you have all this to hand when you need it!

When deciding which bank to choose, make sure you look at what they offer in detail – and bear in mind that your chosen bank for personal use may not necessarily be the best one for business use. A key thing to look for is one that offers free business banking, so you won’t get stung with any hidden fees – and it’s also a good idea to choose one with the best possible online and phone banking options, so keep your life as easy as possible. Look for recommendations from other contractors – not just on the practicalities, but also on the quality of their service, and how easy they are to do business with.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

Registering for VAT

This is something which is important to consider as soon as you set up as a limited company contractor. Legally, you have to register for VAT if you expect to earn more than the current VAT threshold in any given tax year, and at the moment that is £85,000
for 2017/18.

You don’t have to sign up straight away though – as you only have to register if you expect to exceed the threshold within the next 30 days, so theoretically you could wait until near the end of your first year in business. Bear in mind though that you could be liable for financial and legal penalties if you do not register in time, so don’t leave it too late – and make sure you can prove the date you registered by keeping a copy of your Registration Notification in a safe place.

a) Registering for VAT even if under the threshold
Many contractors choose to register for VAT as soon as they set up their limited company anyway, even if it is not legally necessary, as it can help you to appear more professional. There are also options to earn a small amount of extra income from your VAT by registering for the Flat Rate VAT Scheme – although these are not anything like as lucrative as they used to be after changes to the scheme came into effect in April 2017. You accountant will be able to help you to decide on which option, and also to complete the registration process.

b) When and how to start charging VAT
VAT registration is very straightforward, but it may take up to six weeks for your VAT Certificate with your VAT number on it to come through. Once you have applied for your VAT number you must note this on your invoice. Once you have recieved your VAT number you will need to a issue a VAT only invoice to your client.

c) Why choose the Flat Rate VAT Scheme?
As a contractor, you are charging for your time rather than buying in goods and selling them on, as would be the case with a more traditional business. This means that the benefits of the standard VAT scheme are not as appealing, as you do not have that many ‘goods bought in’ for the business which you can claim VAT back on.

This being the case, we recommend that you opt for the Flat Rate VAT Scheme – which is far easier to manage and saves you from having to complete a more complex VAT return each quarter. However, in order to help you make your own decision – these are the type of items which you can typically claim VAT back for:

  • Mileage allowance
  • IT equipment – laptop, PC, printers etc.
  • Software packages which you use for work
  • Stationery
  • Phone calls
  • Accountancy and legal fees

And those which you can’t:

  • Public transport
  • Technical publications
  • Postage
  • Payments to the Registrar of Companies
  • Payments of Directors’ remuneration

If you do choose the standard system, then you need to keep all of your VAT receipts and then complete a detailed VAT return each quarter, listing your ‘output’ tax – which is the total amount of VAT you have charged your clients – and your ‘input’ tax, which is the amount you want to claim back for eligible expenses. You also need to know exactly which ones are eligible and which ones are not.

The Flat Rate VAT Scheme was designed to make things simpler for small businesses, especially those which are ‘service based’ and do not buy in goods for resale. As such, you don’t claim back VAT for purchases like those listed above, but instead you pay a ‘flat rate’ of 16.5%. So while you charge out at 20% as normal, you pay the lower rate, meaning that the difference is profit. You also get an extra 1% discount in your first year on the scheme.

However, when you calculate the 16.5% (after the first year) you base it on your VAT inclusive figure, not your VAT exclusive figure, so it’s not as much of a saving as it might sound. For example, based on an income of £100,000 a year:


Amount Invoiced Amount invoiced plus 20% VAT 16.5% owed ‘Profit’ from VAT
£100,000 £120,000 £19,800 £200

Under the previous system, if your business paid VAT at 14.5% for example, the profit figure would have been £2,600 – although that would of course have been taxed at 19%. It’s clear that the financial benefits of the Flat Rate VAT Scheme are no longer an appealing part of the decision, but if you do not have many eligible costs on which you can claim VAT back, then it is probably still the far simpler option.

Almost all contractors will fall into this new system as they are what HMRC now calls ‘limited cost traders’ – this means you have VAT-inclusive costs on ‘relevant goods’ of either:

  • Less than 2% of your VAT-inclusive turnover in a given accounting period
  • More than 2% of your VAT-inclusive turnover, but less than £1,000 a year, or a proportion of £1,000
    if the accounting period is less than a year

At first, it looked as if contractors may be able to stay on the old system by not qualifying as a limited cost business, but unfortunately the ‘relevant goods’ element excludes a wide variety of expenses which make the up majority of the costs incurred by a service based business. For example:

  • Capital expenditure
  • Food and drink
  • Vehicles, parts and fuel
  • Office rental costs
  • Accountancy fees
  • Advertising costs
  • Electronic publications
  • Electronic software

You cannot include any of these in your calculations, which basically means that contractors are very unlikely to be able to qualify for the old scheme and so pay less VAT!

In general we still recommend the Flat Rate Scheme, as it is far easier to administrate, and you do gain the extra 1% in the first year – but please do talk to your accountant, who will be able to help you make the right decision based on your own personal circumstances. Remembering of course that if you are on a contract of less than £85,000 a year, and have no other income, you could always opt not to register at all.

How tax works for limited companies

It’s important to understand this right from the start. It’s not that complex, but you need to know what your options are, and how to make the most advantageous tax planning decisions. A good accountant will be able to help you with all of this. They key thing to remember when trying to make sense of it all, is that you and your company are two totally separate entities, for the purposes of tax.These are the key areas which you need to be aware of:

a) Corporation Tax
This is the amount you are taxed on the profit your company earns – which, in short, is your ‘net sales less net expenses’. All limited companies have to pay this, and the current rate is 19% – so for example, if your income over the tax year is £70,000 and your expenses are £15,000, you will pay 19% Corporation Tax on the remaining £55,000 profit. This needs to be paid within nine months and a day of your company’s financial year end.

b) Employer’s National Insurance Contributions
Your limited company is your ‘employer’ so it has to pay Employer’s NI – which is 13.8% of any salary that you pay yourself, over the Employer’s NI threshold. However, you can avoid this by paying yourself a low salary and then dividends on top. This is preferable as tax rates are lower, and there is no NI due on dividends – more on that later!

c) Employee’s National Insurance Contributions
As an employee of your company, you also have to pay NI on the salary that you pay yourself from
the business – which is 12% on anything you earn above £157 per week, up to £815 per week. So 12% of £658, or £138.16 per week. Beyond this, you then pay just 2% on the remainder. Having said that, as outlined previously, you can avoid this by paying yourself a low salary and then dividends on top.

d) Personal Tax
As a director of a limited company you will pay yourself an income of some type, and as such you will need to complete a personal self-assessment tax return. These have to be submitted to HMRC by the 31st January, and cover the financial year which ended on the previous April 5th. It’s always a good idea to do your tax return asap after the financial year end though, so you don’t end up having to worry about it at the last minute.

Make sure you register for self-assessment as soon as you set up your limited company, if you do not already receive a self-assessment tax return from HMRC. If you’ve always been an employee then you will probably never have had to do this before, but your accountant will be able to complete the return for you, based on the information you provide about your income and expenditure.

The salary that you take from the business will be taxed in the normal manner, as your earnings would be if you were an employee. Currently, for 2017/18, those figures are as follow

Bracket Amount Tax rate
Personal tax allowance £0 to £11,500 0%
Basic rate tax £11,500 to £45,000 20%
Higher rate tax £45,000 to £150,000 40%
Additional rate tax £150,000+ 45%

This is based on a standard tax year which runs from 6th April to 5th April. It’s also worth noting that if you pay yourself a salary of more than £100,000, your personal tax allowance starts to decrease.

It’s not hard to see why operating as a limited company provides far better tax planning options, as tax rates for dividend payments are far lower, and you also don’t get taxed on any income that you leave in the business.

e) Important dates
If you don’t complete the necessary tax returns or pay monies owed by the correct dates, then HMRC
can issue fines – so it’s important to be well aware of the key dates. These are as follows:

Company dates

  • Corporation Tax – Payment due within 9 months and a day of your company financial year end
  • Annual Accounts – Must be filed within nine months of your company financial year end
  • Confirmation Statement – Must be completed on the anniversary of your incorporation date

Personal dates

  • Tax year end – 5th April
  • Self Assessment Tax Return (hard copy) – Due by 31st October following tax year end
  • Self Assessment Tax Return (online) – Due by 31st January following tax year end

f) What happens if you don’t pay?
It’s very important to pay your tax on time, as if you miss a deadline by even a few days, you could be fined – and HMRC can also ask for interest on the funds which were not paid. It’s also important to bear in mind that the ‘limited liability’ which you gain from operating through a limited company does not cover you for non-payment of tax and NI.

HMRC has procedures in place to deal with this type of non-payment if it is considered to be ‘fraudulent or negligent’ – and it is also possible for HMRC to obtain what is known as a ‘freezing order’ over your personal assets, in order to ensure that payments are received. Bottom line? Pay your tax on time!

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

Running your limited company

Setting up your limited company is just the first step, and beyond this comes the process of actually running it, and running your day to day life as a contractor. Which of course starts with . . .

a) Finding your first contract
If you’re thinking about going contracting, then we know you’ll probably have been working as an employee in your chosen field for some time, so we don’t want to teach you how to suck eggs! But at the same time, some of these tips might just come in handy along the way – as finding a contract is rather different to finding a role as an employee.

The first step will be to register with a many job sites as you can – and some of the best ones at the moment are,,,, and Most job sites allow you to register for alerts based on certain job criteria, so you can be informed when a new contract is advertised, and this can be a very good way to stay on top of your search activity.

As you search the job sites, you will see that most of the positions advertised are through recruitment agencies, so it’s good to make contact with these as well and get yourself onto their books – making it clear you are only looking for contract roles. It’s also worth remembering at this point that you could opt to work directly with the end client, if the chance arises, and not go through a recruitment agency at all – but of course they do have access to the widest range of opportunities, so don’t rule anything out.

You’ll need a great CV of course – and if it is your first contract role, you may want to include a covering note when applying which explains why you’re switching to contracting, so the agency understands the motivation behind your career path adjustment. You may be asked for an initial interview with the agency, and will have the opportunity to expand on this then, and to explain the types of contracts you’re looking for. Remember at this point, and when being interviewed by an end client, that you are not just looking to be an ‘employee’ – you are a highly skilled and experienced individual, who they will be lucky to have on board!

During your research process, you may also see specific opportunities that you’d like to apply for, so you can ask the relevant agency to put you forward at the same. From here on, they will then proactively alert you when suitable contracts come up, to check if you are happy to be put forward for those as well. Generally, the client will set the contract rate, but you can of course tell the recruitment company what rate you are looking for as a minimum, to ensure they do not propose any roles which fall outside your budget.

The market is very buoyant at the moment, as the current level of economic uncertainly means that may business are choosing not to take on permanent staff – but still need to fill roles with highly qualified and knowledgeable people. It won’t take much searching online before you get a good idea of what is available, and how many roles fit your skills and experience!

b) Deciding if you need an accountant
We thought we’d address the most obvious point up front, and of course it’s no surprise that we’re going to say yes, you do! But it’s perfectly reasonable that you’d want to know why you need to take on the services of a specialist contractor accountant, even though it is no longer a legal requirement to have your accounts audited in the way it used to be.

As things stand now, you do not have to do this if your annual sales are less than £6.5m – and for even the highest paid contractors, this is unlikely! However, if you do not complete all the relevant paperwork correctly, and on time, as the director of a limited company, you could be liable for a hefty fine. Or possibly even imprisonment if there is any suspicion that incorrect information was supplied on purpose. And that’s not just scare tactics, it’s fact.

As you read this document, you will notice that we regularly refer to responsibilities which ‘your accountant’ will handle for you – so bear in mind, if you choose not to take on the services of an accountant, all of these responsibilities will fall to you. Not easy while you’re trying to set up and run your new life as a limited company contractor!

It’s also important to remember that an accountant’s role goes far beyond form filling and dealing with HMRC or Companies House. A good accountant will also be able to advise you on how to run your business in the most effective way, and how to take advantage of tax planning opportunities to maximise your income – so their worth cannot be under-estimated.

c) Agreeing terms and conditions
This might sound a bit formal, but it is standard procedure with a new client, and no-one will be offended if you send in a simple document which just states things like your agreed rate, working hours, payment terms, any travelling expenses and so on. This way everyone knows where they stand, and legally, even if they do not acknowledge the email, you are covered if you can prove you sent it.

The key part of this document is your payment terms, so there are no grey areas about how much ‘credit’ you are willing to extend the company. If you state 30 days, then you expect to be paid 30 days after your invoice goes in – and don’t forget include your business bank details so they can pay you directly into your bank account. It’s also a good idea to check a new client company out on something like Dun & Bradstreet before you start working for them, just to be sure they are as professional as they appear!

d) Invoicing your client
The first thing you have to do once you are up and running as a new limited company contractor is to invoice your client. Make sure you send invoices as soon as possible, on the evening of the last day of the month if you can – detailing hours worked and adding VAT at 20% if you are registered. It is then your responsibility to ensure that your client pays you within an agreed timescale. Which comes on to our next point . . .

e) Making sure you get paid on time
This is vital, as if you don’t have money coming in on time, you can’t pay yourself, and then you may run into issues with mortgage or car lease payments, or even just putting food on the table! Hopefully, your end client or recruitment agency (depending on who pays you) will set up a standard payment schedule, and will make sure that the money you’re owed going into your bank account on a set day each month, without any issues, but it’s worth having a plan in place should that not happen for any reason.

Always check that a payment has come in when you expect it to, based on whatever payment terms you agreed at the start. A client isn’t quite the same as an employer, so you can’t just rely on it to happen without checking. And of course, if your payment hasn’t arrived for any reason, you need to chase it up – but there are ways and means of doing that.

We’d probably recommend waiting a couple of days, just to give them the benefit of the doubt – especially if your payment date falls just after a bank holiday for example. But then you’ll need to get in touch with the relevant accounts department ASAP. A call is better than an email as it puts you front of mind, and remember to start off nicely, as this is not a department that you want to fall out with. Take time to get to know the people in the accounts payable team, and remember their names. You really do want them to like you!

So play it softly, and give them time to sort things out, keeping a note of what their ‘excuse’ is each time, so you can see if a pattern emerges. Stress to them that, as a contractor, you really do need to be paid on time – and only start ramping up the pressure if you absolutely have to. If you don’t have any success after a second call, start to put things in writing also – and at this point you may want to copy in the person who actually ‘manages’ you and uses your services, so they are aware that those services may be at risk and can work with you to ensure you get paid.

Hopefully none of this will ever become an issue, but it’s good to have a plan in place if it does!

f) Paying yourself
Once you have money in the bank, you can then think about paying yourself a ‘salary’. But as we mentioned above in the tax section, you will want to carefully manage how you do this, so you pay the least possible amount of tax, legally of course. The best option is always to pay yourself a small salary, and then to take the rest of your monthly income as a dividend. One of the main reasons for doing this is that a dividend is not subject to NI, as opposed to a salary which is.

You don’t actually have to draw a salary at all, but it is still worth doing this, as the cost of the salary can be offset against your company’s Corporation Tax liability. The best bet is to keep your salary to £8,160 a year, as you only start paying Employees’ and Employers’ NI contributions when your annual salary reaches this amount. It’s also well under the £11,500 personal tax allowance for 2017/18. In your first year though, make sure you take any other income from past employment in the same tax year into account as well, when calculating your salary.

g) How dividends work
As we outlined above, you should pay yourself a low salary and then top this up with dividends – remembering of course that you do not have to take all the money you earn out of the business each month. Leaving some of it behind means you don’t have to pay tax on it, and you can also earn interest if you are lucky enough to have a business bank account that offers this! Dividends which you do pay yourself are taxed as follows:

  • Allowance – 0%
  • Basic rate – 7.5%
  • Higher rate – 32.5%
  • Additional rate – 38.1%

Dividends are taxed as the top tier of your income, after your salary and any other income has been taken into account. There is also a £5,000 dividend allowance, but this sits within your existing tax bands. There was also a plan to reduce this to £2,000 from April 2018, but this was then postponed in the run-up to the June 2017 general election.

Once you have chosen a salary level, you will then need to set up a ‘payroll’ facility so that you can pay yourself, and your accountant will be able to help with this. At this point you will also determine your tax and National Insurance amounts, which your company will need to put aside ready to pay to HMRC at the appropriate time.

As long as your limited company is in profit, you can pay yourself a dividend of any amount, at any time during your financial year. When you do this, you have to complete something called a dividend voucher, officially known as a declaration form, hence the term ‘declaring a dividend’. This in the formal way to record how much you paid yourself, and when. The form should carry the following information:

  • The name of your limited company
  • The date
  • The name of the shareholder
  • The dividend amount paid
  • The total number or percentage of shares owned by shareholder
  • The signature of the company director – again, you!

h) Expenses
It is important to keep track of all your business expenses, as these can be offset against income and so will help to reduce your tax bill. You need to keep all of your receipts for at least six years so that you can prove the purchase was made, to cover you in the unlikely event of a tax inspection.

An expense is defined as something which is made ‘wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your business’ by HMRC – and can include things like:

  • Company formation
  • Company bank charges and interest
  • Pension contributions
  • Accountancy fees
  • Business travel and hotels
  • Stationery and postage
  • Phone and internet costs
  • Business entertainment
  • Equipment for business use
  • Motoring expenses
  • Software
  • Technical books and journals
  • Some professional subscriptions
  • Use of home as office allowance

It may help to expand on a couple of these in a little more detail, as follows:

  • Motoring expenses – it is better to own your own car privately and use this for business purposes, as you can charge your company a rate for business use – up to 45p per mile – and this is also tax deductible. If the business buys the car it is classed as a ‘company car’ and taxed as a benefit in kind, so this is less beneficial.
  • Home office – if you do use your home as an office, then you are able to claim back a use of home allowence, to cover some of the costs. The allowence is currently set at £4 per week or £18 per month.

i) Keeping ‘proper books and records’
The admin side of things is one of the slight downsides of running a limited company, but if you set up a structured
way of managing this from day one, it really doesn’t have to be too arduous.

One key legal requirement is that you have to keep what are known as ‘proper books and records’, which indicate all of your business income and expenditure, for at least six years. But even if it were not a legal requirement, we would absolutely recommend that you do this anyway – so you always know exactly where you stand financially. At Dolan Accountancy we give our clients the ability to manage all of this online via a specialist software platform called FreeAgent™, which is easy to complete, and ensures that all of the information we need is available in the correct format.

At the end of your financial year, these records have to be summarised in a compulsory manner and they become your ‘statutory accounts’ for the year – presenting a ‘true and fair view’ of the your limited company’s business activity. This of course should all be handled by your accountant – and it is then your joint responsibility to make sure your statutory accounts are sent to Companies House on time. This is usually within nine months of your company’s financial year end.

j) Forms from Companies House
As a Government agency, Companies House keeps detailed records on every limited company which has been registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and part of that process involves a variety of forms which limited company owners have to fill in and send back at regular intervals. Having said that, most of these are now managed online – including things like your Annual Return, now known as a ‘Confirmation Statement’, and your Company Accounts.

These forms can be quite complex, so again, we would always recommend that you ask your accountant to look after this for you, which they should do anyway as part of their service!

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

IR35 – All you need to know

We’ve kept this section until later, as we thought it was important for you to understand the basics of how operating as a limited company contractor works first. However, for some people, the rules have to be different because they are affected by something called ‘IR35’, which you may already have heard of.

a) What is IR35?
In short, IR35 is a piece of legislation which was introduced in April 2000, to guard against what HMRC refers to as ‘disguised employment’. For example if you were to leave your employer on a Friday afternoon and go back on the Monday as a contractor, with all of the benefits that brings – but essentially doing the same job and having the same low level of risk – then you could be classed as being within IR35 legislation, or ‘inside IR35’ as it is generally phrased.

The purpose of IR35 legislation was to stop people doing this. The argument being that, if they were still working for the same employer, without taking on any of the risks of operating as a limited company contractor, then they shouldn’t have access to any of the benefits which that brings – such as better tax planning opportunities, and the ability to reduce their tax and NI liability.

b) What difference does it make to your income?
If your contract is deemed to be inside IR35, then you have to pay the full amount of tax and National Insurance contributions on your income, as you would if you were an employee. Which means you are not able to take advantage of the option to pay yourself a low salary and top it up with dividends – so many of the benefits of running a limited company are reduced.

You also have a reduced allowance for expenses, meaning that you can only claim tax relief for certain things. These include:

  • Employer contributions to approved pension schemes
  • Gross salary paid, plus any employer’s NI contributions
  • 5% of your gross income from relevant engagements, to cover your running costs
  • Professional subscriptions
  • Professional indemnity or personal liability insurance

We thought it was worth expanding on some of these in a little more detail, as follows:

  • Pension contributions – these become very important when your contract falls inside IR35, as they can be offset against your tax liability – they are deducted before your ‘deemed salary’ is calculated. This means you save on the income tax and NI that you would normally have paid, and your limited company also avoids the employer’s NI contributions as well.
  • The 5% – this amount is intended to cover all of the expenses of running your limited company, including accountancy fees and the Companies House filing fee. This may be higher or lower than your actual expenses, so for Corporation Tax purposes you must still keep a record of the actual amounts.

c) How is IR35 status determined?
The first thing to explain here is that IR35 status relates to a contract, not an individual. So when you consider a new contract, you need to understand whether the terms of that working relationship are ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35. However, this can be quite difficult, as the specifics of how your relationship with your client will operate may not be known until you have already started working for them.

As far as it can be determined, a contract is classed as being inside IR35 if you will have ‘the same level of risk, responsibility, liability and control’ as a permanent employee within the same business. In effect, HMRC believes that, while working in this contract, you would not be taking on the financial risks of being a limited company contractor, as the terms of your role are the same as that of an employee – making you a ‘disguised employee’.

We thought it might help to give you some examples of working practises which may increase the chances of your contract falling inside IR35:

  • You are told how to do your job, rather than bringing your expertise to the client’s business
  • You would not be allowed to send a substitute who has the same expertise in your place
  • You are not allowed to take on other work while under contract to this client
  • You have appraisals which relate to your personal development, not just your job role
  • You are given a line manager who manages you in the same way their as employees

There are also a number of more ‘practical’ matters which could also affect how a contract is seen, for example:

  • You are given a company business card which makes you look like an employee
  • You are not asked to wear a visitor badge whiles on your client’s premises
  • You are allowed to use a subsidised staff restaurant
  • You are invited to the staff Christmas party
  • You are given other staff benefits

As you can see, some of these practises could easily creep in, especially if you are with a client for a long time, so it’s important to understand the implications. At the end of the day, it is partly your responsibility as a contractor, and partly your client’s responsibility in
how they treat you, which can make the difference. As HMRC put is, is your relationship with your client ‘indicative of an employer/employee relationship’?

d) Who decides your IR35 status?
This one has recently become far more complicated, as the rules for IR35 in the public sector changed in April 2017, while the rules for IR35 in the private sector remained the same. Let’s look at these first:

  • Private sector – you are responsible for determining the IR35 status of your own contract, and for making sure that your client treats you in an appropriate way if you consider it to be outside IR35. Bearing in mind though that, if you get it wrong, you will be liable for back taxes and very possibly fines as well.

If you determine that your contract is outside IR35, you need to be as sure as you possible can be that this is correct. There are many companies who will offer to give you an ‘IR35 Assessment’ based on the terms of a paper contract, but this is never 100% reliable – as it all depends on working practises, and how you are treated in the workplace. Be very wary of these types of assessments, and do not rely on them when deciding on your status.

  • Public sector – as of April 2017, the rules for public sector contractors changed, meaning that the contractor is no longer responsible for determining the IR35 status of their own contract. This change was made as the government felt it was losing out on additional income due to the fact that contractors were incorrectly assessing their IR35 status – and while they could be identified and fined, this was not happening in the way it should be, leading to high levels of lost revenue.

With the new system, the responsibility for determining the IR35 status of a contract falls to ‘any other third party who is closest to the limited company contractor’ – so in effect, the organisation that pays you. This is because they are the ones who would have to deduct the tax and NI from your payments each month, if your contract is deemed to be inside IR35. That third party could be the client themselves, but in reality it is more likely to be a recruitment agency.

The reality of this change is that clients and recruitment agencies are likely to err on the side of caution, and may in fact insist on classing a contract as being inside IR35, just to be on the safe side, which significantly reduces the benefits of operating through a limited company.

e) If you’re inside IR35 is it worth operating as a limited company?
The reality is that, if your contract is inside IR35, then you will end up paying the same amount of tax and NI as someone who is an employee and earning the same salary, so the ability to earn more is taken away. However, there are other benefits which still make it worth setting up a limited company:

  • This contract may be inside IR35, but your next one may not be, so you need to plan for the longer term
  • You have avaliable 5% of your turnover to cover expenses
  • You can still earn interest on any funds which are held by your company

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

Insurance options for contractors

Everything we’ve outlined so far is pretty much an essential part of running a limited company, but there are a number of other areas to consider as well, which will make your life as a contractor easier. One of the key ones is to reduce your risk by investing in good insurance, and there are a variety of different types to consider.

a) Public Liability insurance
This may not appear necessary, depending on the type of work you do as a contractor, but it’s generally better to be on the safe side. Public Liability insurance basically protects you if a member of the public, known as a ‘third party’, tries to claim against you for damage or injury to property or people.

Accidents can still happen, however careful you are, so if something like this occurs as a result of an action which can be attributed to your company, then you need to be covered. It could be as simple as someone tripping over your laptop bag in the office and breaking their arm, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that it ‘won’t happen to you’. At around £115 a year, it’s probably a good investment, and tax deductible as well of course.

b) Professional Indemnity Insurance
This works in a similar way, but in this case the ‘damage’ relates to your professional actions, not an unforeseen accident. Professional Indemnity insurance covers any costs you might incur if you have to defend yourself against a claim from a client – where they ‘suffer financial loss due to any negligent act, error or omission’ by you.

For example, if an error on your part causes your client to lose business from one of their clients, or suffer internal costs due to delays, then they may try to claim against your to cover the financial losses involved. And in many cases, clients will insist on you having this insurance in place before awarding a contract. As with Public Liability, the cost of the insurance is fully tax deductible, but will cost in the region of £165 a year. Definitely worth it, just to be on the safe side!

c) Life and/or health insurance
These are slightly different types of insurance that those mentioned previously, and of course optional depending on your personal circumstances. They may not be necessary if you only have yourself to think about, but if you have a family who will need to be taken care of in the event of something happening to you, then you may way to consider them.

Life insurance will guarantee a payment to your family if you should die, and health insurance can cover your loss of income if you are ill or injured and so unable to work for a period of time. Look carefully at the terms and conditions of these though, so make sure they give you the level of cover that you would ideally like. It’s also fair to say that health insurance in particular is rarely cheap, but could still be a good investment – giving you and your family extra peace of mind.

Pension options for contractors

Once you start working as a contractor, you no longer have an employer who is providing some form of workplace pension arrangements on your behalf. So if you don’t already have your own independent pension arrangements in place, now is the time to get this sorted. The good news is that, as a limited company contractor, you can claim tax relief on your pension contributions!

By paying part of your income into a personal pension scheme, you will not only start planning for your retirement, but you will also save a considerable amount on your personal and Corporation Tax, so this is an excellent way of managing your finances, if you can afford to do so.

The current annual contribution limit (2017/18) for pension contributions is £40,000 in the tax year, or 100% of your total PAYE income. As a contractor, you can make ‘employer contributions’ up to the annual limit, from your company, regardless of your salary and dividend income split.

In addition, you have the option to make larger one-off pension contributions, which are also eligible for tax relief. If you do this, you may be able to benefit from what are known as ‘carry forward’ rules. This allows you to make use of unused pension allowances from the last three tax years, in order to make additional contributions. To be eligible for this option, you do however need to have been a member of a UK-registered pension scheme during that time, though not necessarily active.

After the tax rules changed in 2015, you can now draw your pension income when you get to 55, either as regular income or a lump sum, with 25% of this tax free. The remaining 75% is then taxable at your normal rate, and again can be taken as a lump sum, or a regular income. And if you die before you are 75, with funds still in your pension, any remaining money can be paid tax-free to your beneficiaries as a draw-down pension or lump sum.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

Mortgage options for contractors

One concern which many contractors have is whether they will still be able to get a mortgage once they have a less reliable income. The good news is that, with contracting becoming more and more popular, there are now many mortgage lenders who understand the contracting world much better. Which means they appreciate the difference between an employee and a contractor, and they understand that the risks are actually not that much different.

Useful resources and information

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) – This is a trade association which represents the interests of contractors, consultants and freelancers. It is very much the contractor ‘champion’, and campaigns on subjects that concern these types of workers, regardless of which sector they operate in – which could be anything from marketing, management consultancy and IT/telecoms, right through to engineering, construction, oil and gas or pharmaceuticals.

IPSE offers its members a wide range of services, such as Professional Expenses Insurance (PEI), tax and legal helplines, useful guides and draft contracts – plus lots of networking and other events, including seminars and workshops.

The Federation of Small Businesses – The FSB’s mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions, and that includes limited company contractors. As business experts the FSB offers its members a range of useful information, blogs and guides – as well as financial advice and a powerful voice in government.

One useful services is the Legal Protection Scheme, which is available to members who choose the FSB’s ‘Business Essentials’ membership package. This gives members access to a 24/7 Legal Advice helpline, plus a host of other advice and support.

Childcare vouchers – Contractors are able to take advantage of Childcare Vouchers, but the way it works is not always immediately obvious, as the scheme is more widely publicised for employees. This scheme helps parents pay for good quality childcare from their pre-tax income, up to the value of £55 per week per working parent.

Companies house & HMRC forms

Form Number Purpose
AA01 Companies House form to change the year end date of the company
AD01 Companies House form to change the registered office of the company
AP01 Companies House form to appoint a new Director
AP03 Companies House form to appoint a new Company Secretary
TM01 Companies House form to remove a Director
TM02 Companies House form to remove a Company Secretary
CH01 Companies House form to change any details of a serving Director
CH03 Companies House form to change any details of a serving Company Secretary
CS01 Companies House Confirmation Statement
64-8 Form to authorise your accountant to speak to HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf
DS01 Companies House form to strike a company off the register
SH01 Companies House form to issue additional shares in the company
CT41G New Company Enquiry form issued by HM Revenue & Customs shortly after the company has been formed.
This advises the Revenue who the directors are etc. Penalties may be charged for late submission
CT600 Company’s Corporation Tax Return submitted annually. The form is due within twelve months of the year end
P11D Annual statement of benefits paid to each director and most employees
P45 Leaving statement of payments and tax deducted from an employee
P46 Notice to complete if you do not have a P45
P60 Annual statement of earnings for each employee, provided by the employer
VAT1 VAT Registration application form
VAT7 VAT Deregistration Form
VAT100 Quarterly VAT Return
VAT101 VAT EC Sales List – for reporting sales to EU Customers
VAT600 VAT Flat Rate application form
SA1 HMRC form to register for self assessment
SA100 Self Assessment Tax Return

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

Why choose Dolan Accountancy?

As we mentioned at the start of this guide, Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brand SJD Accountancy. After selling the business in 2014, Simon has been away from the industry for three years, but has been watching the market very closely – deciding in 2017 to come back into the accountancy world that he knows so well, but to do things a little differently.

Dolan Accountancy now has the heritage, reputation and credibility of the Dolan name – coupled with our firm financial footing, our money back guarantee, and of course our ability to offer you the best possible price. We believe this makes the decision to choose Dolan Accountancy crystal clear, and we hope you do too – now you’ve had time to read this guide and to understand our level of knowledge and experience.

a) Our ‘money back’ service level guarantee
We have been in the industry long enough to know that service is everything. We know you want a fast response to any queries you may have and an efficient and friendly service at all times – which is why we offer a money back service level guarantee which Simon created all those years ago.

We also know that our clients value consistency, and as far as is possible in any business, we will always aim to ensure that
you have the same point of contact for as long as possible. if we do have to change your accountant for any reason, we will make sure that a proper handover takes place, so you can be sure they will understand your financial affairs as well as your previous accountant did, without you feeling like you’re starting from scratch.

So anyway, back to our service level guarantee . . .

We guarantee that if we fail to deliver on any one of the points below, in any given month, we will refund your entire £105 + VAT fee for that month. Just let us know where we failed and we will arrange your refund – as well as dealing with the issue in question, of course!

  • When you become a client, your dedicated accountant will be in touch within one working day of your signed contract being received by us.
  • If you email us before 4pm on a working day, we will respond the same day – if after 4pm, we will respond by the end of the next working day.
  • Subject to all appropriate information having been received, draft Company Year End Accounts will be sent to you for approval within 15 working days.
  • We will ensure that our client/accountant ratio is always maintained at a level that enables us to provide an exemplary level of service.
  • If you do have to leave us a phone message for any reason, we will respond within one working day.
  • If you send us a letter, we will respond within 2 working days of receipt.

b) What’s included in our fee?
For £105 + VAT each month, we will provide you with the following:

  • A dedicated and highly experienced contractor accountant
  • Access to the highly acclaimed FreeAgent™ accountancy software platform – which is trusted by over 50,000 businesses
  • Our ‘money back’ service level guarantee

Our service covers all of your business and personal accountancy requirements, including:

  • Limited company formation, with advice on the best structure
  • A Registered Office address
  • A Director’s Service Office address
  • 12 months free business banking
  • Registering you for an appropriate VAT scheme, including advice on which to choose
  • Year-end accounts for your limited company
  • Personal self-assessment tax return for one director
  • Quarterly VAT returns
  • Payroll bureau
  • Advice on:
    • Paying yourself, including dividends
    • Allowable expenses
    • Personal and company taxes due to HMRC
    • IR35 in relation to your contract
  • Handling all communication with Companies House and HMRC on your behalf
  • Proactive alerts for all deadlines where your action is required

c) Year end accounts for your limited company
We thought it might help to go into a little more detail about exactly what this includes:

  • We will reconcile your business bank account with your FreeAgent figures
  • We will assess any other income as well as all of your expenses, and advise on anything which you may have missed We will calculate the amount of Corporation Tax you need to pay and confirm all of the necessary payment dates
  • We will prepare your final year end accounts in iXBRL, ready for filing with Companies House and HMRC We will send email and/or SMS reminders to ensure you don’t forget key deadlines
  • We will be on hand to advise on any issues around making payments to HMRC online

d) Payroll bureau
You will need this service as your limited company has to pay you as an employee, but we take care of everything so it won’t be complicated:

  • We will process your P45/P46 with HMRC, if necessary
  • We will calculate your salary and PAYE figures, so you know the amounts you have to pay yourself and HMRC
  • We will look after all of your payroll administration including real time (RTI) submissions with HMRC.
  • We will generate your year end IR35 calculations and payment advice, if your contract is within IR35
  • We will provide full salary information for you as director of the company
  • We will prepare your year end P60
  • We will look after any underpayment or overpayment notices
  • We will manage any change in your tax code or HMRC details, if required
  • We will prepare your P11d, when required

e) Personal tax
Your personal tax liability is as important as your business one, so we make sure that we take care of all this as well:

  • We will complete and submit to HMRC, your personal self-assessment tax return based on the information you provide us
  • We will calculate any tax you owe, including future payments on account, and confirm when these should be paid
  • We will review your future payments on account and provide advice on how to potentially reduce these for next year, if suitable.

f) FreeAgent™ bookkeeping platform
Our partnership with FreeAgent™ is one of the many things that really sets us apart from the competition. This will give you:

  • Access to specialist online bookkeeping software made specifically for contractors, freelancers, small business owners and their accountants
  • A platform that is already trusted by over 50,000 other businesses
  • Invoices that send, and chase, themselves if you want them to
  • Hassle-free expense tracking, using your mobile phone camera to capture receipts
  • Connection to your business bank account to automatically import transactions
  • Auto-generated charts and graphs to help you understand your finances

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100, email or or make contact via live chat.

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Why Dolan Accountancy?

With over 25 years experience in contractor accountancy helping thousands of contractors, freelancers and the self employed, Dolan Accountancy has the specialist skills, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £105 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours.
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With IR35 Legislation changes we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella.
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams.
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – The founder behind the multi award winning FreeAgent platform was one of Simon’s first clients, therefore it only seems fitting that we offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge.
  • Free Business Banking – We have decided to waive our commission so our clients can use Tide free of charge for the first year.
  • Unlimited IR35 Status Reviews – We will review all of your contracts for IR35 purposes and provide you with our professional opinion as to its status.
  • Free Registered and Director’s Service Office Address – Sometimes you just don’t want your home address on display at Companies House. When you sign up to our accountancy services, we will offer the use of our address as an alternative.
  • Your Business and Personal Taxation Needs – This includes Company Accounts, Director’s Personal Tax Return, VAT Returns, Payroll, Corporation Tax and Dividend advice, to name just a few.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795100 or email or