Just starting out?

Going it alone is an exciting time. MAF can help make it stress-free, too.

We’re here to get you off on the right foot

So, you’ve started to think about moving from full-time employment to the world of contracting. Well done for taking this first big step!
Going it alone in business can be stressful – but it needn’t be. At MAF, we’ll guide you through the entire set-up process and help get your business off to a flying start. We can even form your Limited Company for you. All of our accountants are specialists in helping freelancers, contractors or small businesses get set up with the right processes in place from day one.
With our beautiful online accounting software, plus your own dedicated qualified accountant, you’ll be up and running in no time.

Resources to get you going

How to form a limited company

If you’re looking for a quick and easy company formation – or simply want to know what it involves – talk to MAF.

Find out more
How to choose a business bank account

Whether you’re forming a new limited company or setting out as a sole trader, here’s our no-nonsense guide to banking.

Find out more
Getting the right business insurance

Insurance may sound dull, but without it, your business can’t function. But what’s right for your set up?

Find out more
Looking for registered office services?

MAF can provide you with a registered business address, and take the headache out of dealing with Companies House.

Find out more

Packages designed around your business

Standard
Award-winning online accounting software, and your own dedicated specialist accountant.

  • Real-time tax liabilities
  • Direct Bank uploads
  • Time Tracker Diary

£85 per month
This is my package
Enhanced
Boost your business efficiency with MAF’s additional time-saving accountancy services.

  • Fully processed receipts & expenses
  • Fully processed sales invoices
  • Submissions directly to HMRC

£125 per month
This is my package
Premium
Take your business to the next level with a powerful financial reporting and tailored support.

  • Monthly Management Accounts
  • Cashflows & Budget reports
  • Monthly review meetings

£300 per month
This is my package

Setting up a limited company

It couldn’t be easier with MAF. In fact, you could be up and running in under 30 minutes!

Forming your own Limited Company not only protects your finances, but also comes will a range of tax benefits for directors.

If you’re unsure as to whether it’s right for you, chat to one of our expert accountants who’ll be pleased to help. Fees are just £100+VAT.

Get started now
  • Memorandum of articles
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Share Capital structure to suit efficient tax planning
  • HMRC registration for both VAT and PAYE
  • Business Bank Account forms with preferential banking rates
  • Preferential rates of insurance and personal insurance

Common questions about starting out

Yes! Our award-winning accountancy software is entirely web-based, and keeps all of your numbers in one place. All of your data is encrypted with 256-bit SSL technology (the same technology used by banks) when being transmitted to and from the MAF platform, so it’s kept secure at all times. We also back-up your data several times an hour. These back-ups are encrypted and transferred to a secure offsite location.

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.

Want to know more?

Speak to MAF about how we can help your business thrive.

Speak to a MAF accountant