FAQs

Here you’ll find some of the questions we’re commonly asked. From starting out with MAF, to switching from another accountant, we hope you find our answers useful. If you have a question not featured below, just get in touch.

Common questions about starting out

MAF is the ideal solution for business owners that cannot afford a bookkeeper but don’t want to be bogged down with administration. We are striving to eliminate bookkeeping for all small businesses. With our award-winning software and our multi-talented qualified accountants we have the perfect match for your business.

We get to know your business, compare you to others in the same market and make sure you are as tax efficient as you possibly can be.

If you are a start-up business, we can open you up to our networks – every little bit helps.

Call us on 0207 100 6011 and speak to the sales team for more information on how we can help.

As well as dealing with Companies House on your behalf we will handle the following for you:

– Memorandum of articles and certificate of incorporation.

– Share Capital structure to suit tax planning.

– HMRC registration for VAT and PAYE.

– Business Bank Account forms with preferential banking rates.

– Preferential rates of insurance and personal insurance.

Sign up online and you can be ready to go in minutes! Simply choose your package, set up your direct debit with GoCardless, and we’ll do the rest.

We offer a wide range of services for freelancers, contractors and small businesses. Take a look at our comparison table to find the package that’s right for you. If there’s an additional service you’re looking for, just ask!

For historical accounts there will be an agreed fee before work commences, based on your current bookkeeping and accuracy. Mid-year sign ups will be charged a minimum of ten months’ fees to prepare the accounts. There are no minimum contracts or leaving fees.

Yes, we use an online portal which means that you can access your records at anytime, anywhere in the world, provided you have internet access.

Yes, we have a number of qualified staff who can provide all references as and when required.

It’s probably the most common question we get asked, and the honest answer is, we have no idea. It is like us asking you, “I am travelling to Australia, how much will it cost?”.

There are so many ways of running a Limited Company and everyone is unique as the individual that owns it. Hence you will never find a ‘take home pay’ calculator on our site. They are mis-leading and total nonsense.

We will however provide bespoke tax planning sessions with you to ensure you pay as little tax as possible and set the correct path very early in the tax year.

It entirely depends on your personal circumstances, so we’d recommend a chat with one of our friendly accountants who advise you accordingly.

An Annual Return is a simple administration form requested by Companies House. Do not get this confused with your financial statement submission, aka accounts.

No financial information is needed and we suggest you complete the form yourself as you know your most up-to-date shareholdings and current address.

Don’t forget there is a £13 charge, so have a credit card ready to pay Companies House.

Once you are registered for VAT, you may want to join the Flat Rate Scheme.

If you register for VAT and join the Flat Rate scheme you can benefit from being VAT registered.

If your net sales figure was 50000.00, the VAT on this would be 10000.00 giving a gross total of 60000.00.

On the standard scheme, the 10000.00 VAT amount would be paid over to HMRC, less any VAT paid out on any expenses.

On the Flat Rate scheme, you would pay over a percentage of your gross sales relative to your trade. So for example, IT Consultancy is currently at a percentage of 14.5% (you also receive a 1% discount for your first year of registration) so with the figures mentioned above, you would pay over 8100.00.

This is a saving of 1900.00; this saving would be declared as profits in the company.

In order to get the same effect whilst on the standard scheme, you would need to have 1900.00 of VAT on your expenses – so gross expenses of approx 11400.00 – all of which must have VAT included.

As a contractor, it is very unlikely that you will have such a high value of vat-able expenses and therefore we would advise that the Flat Rate scheme is the best way to go for you.

Once you are a director of your own Ltd company, you will be asked by HMRC to prepare a self-assessment tax return. In order to do so you will need to have a UTR (Unique Tax Reference).

If you’re already a MAF customer, to ensure you have one of these available when we come to prepare the self-assessment later in the year, please complete the attached form and send into HMRC to the address on page 2 of the form.

Once you receive the UTR from HMRC, please scan a copy of the letter and send it to us so as we can update our records.

The allowance you can claim in Childcare Vouchers is £243 per month. It doesn’t matter if they are paid per term or month, as long as the total claim in your company financial year doesn’t exceed £2916.

The payment must be made from the business bank account directly to the registered Childcare Provider and never is paid into your personal bank account or paid in cash.

When you want to pay someone dividends, they have to be a shareholder. If you’re a MAF customer, you will be set up as the only shareholder, owning 100% of the business.

If you wanted to pay your spouse dividends, you would have to transfer shares over to them. The shareholding she takes denote how much they receive. So if you made them a 50% shareholder, you would be equal so you would therefore have to take the same amount of dividends.

You may need to increase the issued share capital or allocate existing share capital, so please contact us and we will talk you through the next steps.

Yes, you can take a Director’s Loan from the company.

We wouldn’t advise taking anymore than £10,000 as this would be considered a beneficial loan and you would be taxed on this. The only way to avoid the benefit is if you were to repay the loan with an element of interest (say 4%) then it wouldn’t be considered a benefit in kind and you wouldn’t be taxed.

When you take a Director’s Loan, you have until we submit your accounts (within 9 months of your company Year End) to repay the loan without having to pay additional section 445 tax on it (25% of the loan amount added to your corporation tax).

There are a few other things we would look for when review a contact. We would suggest that a contract includes one or more of the following clauses (or similar):

1. Right of Substitution

The contract should be between the client and your Limited Company. You might be named as a consultant on the contract but it is a good idea to have a clause to say that the main consultant can substitute himself/herself for someone of similar qualifications and or experience.

2. Mutuality of Obligation

Mutual obligation should not exist in a contract outside of IR35, so basically is should say somewhere that the client is under no obligation to provide work during or after the current contract. You are also under no obligation to complete work if it’s offered.

3. Lack of Control

As a consultant, your method of work should be your own (as long as the job is complete) and it’s a good idea to add this into the contract. Beware of any clause that says that you need to comply with any ‘reasonable requests’ as this could be anything.

Obviously, any clause that’s added or amended would need to genuinely reflect your working conditions.

Generally speaking yes, as a small salary and dividends would result in no personal tax liability on the income and the company only paying 20% corporation tax on the profit generated (to enable the dividends to be paid).

As such the saving made is the NIC that would have been payable if salary had been received, this would be 12% as an individual and 13.8% in employers NIC.

When you get into the higher rate the difference is reduced as you will pay an effective rate of 25% on the dividends received, however on salary you would be paying 40% and 2% NIC with the employer playing 13.8% as well.

As our systems prepare accurate monthly management accounts, you can pay yourself a dividend based on the profits from the company accounts.

Generally speaking yes, as a small salary and dividends would result in no personal tax liability on the income and the company only paying 20% corporation tax on the profit generated (to enable the dividends to be paid).

As such, the saving made is the NIC that would have been payable if salary had been received, this would be 12% as an individual and 13.8% in employers NIC.

When you get into the higher rate the difference is reduced as you will pay an effective rate of 25% on the dividends received, however on salary you would be paying 40% and 2% NIC with the employer playing 13.8% as well.

It’s quite simple; if you know that you are never going to be a contractor again as you are re-entering the world of permanent employment, relocating or retiring, MAF can help you to wind up your company in the most tax efficient manner. If it looks as though you may only be pausing or taking a break from contracting, please contact us and we can go through the options available.

Common questions about choosing a business bank account

Do I need a business bank account for MAF, or can I just use my personal bank account?
 

It’s extremely important to separate your personal and business finances, and while it may be legal in certain circumstances to run your business through your personal account it can store up all sorts of tax and legal problems down the line. So make sure you open a business account before you want to start trading.
Which banks are compatible with MAF’s online accounting platform?
 

MAF works in partnership with the best high street banks, and have a range of Bank Feeds including Metro Bank, Carter Allen, HSBC, RBS, Natwest, Lloyds, Santander, Halifax and First Direct.
What are Bank Feeds?
 

Rather than downloading and uploading electronic statements, MAF allows you to import your transactions directly from your online bank account via Bank Feeds. It’s a quick and easy way to stay on top of your transactions. Bank Feeds are an optional feature, so if you don’t want to use them you can still manually upload your statements.
Does MAF work with my business credit cards?
 

Business (and personal) credit cards can be used as a way of paying for business expenses, and work on our accounting platform in the same way as bank accounts. When you use a credit card for business expenses you can upload them to MAF and keep all your accounts in one place.

Common questions about finding the right business insurance

The type of insurance cover you’ll need depend on the risks you or your business is exposed to. If you have business premises and you employ people, you are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance. Some professions also require you to have professional indemnity insurance, and you may want to take out cover to protect you or key members of staff if they become unable to work. As always, speak to the experts about your needs.