A Limited Company is an entity (business) created to be legally separate from its owners or stakeholders (usually shareholders and directors).
In the UK a Limited Company must be registered with Companies House - this provides a unique Company Registration Number, lists the company on the public register and means that the company must henceforth be governed by the regulations in the Companies Act.
A Limited Company may have only one shareholder or director, or it may have many - but it is considered a distinct legal entity. This means that any liability is held by the company not by the individual.
The main difference is that a Limited Company is considered its own legal entity and therefore liability is held by the company not the individual - usually limited by share value. A Sole Trader however is a single individual who holds unlimited personal liability.
A Sole Trader is essentially a self-employed person, registered through gov.uk, who is the sole owner of their business.
A Limited Company is a legal entity separate from its owners and shareholders, of which there may only be one or many.Why should you register as a Limited Company?
There are a number of advantages to registering and trading as a Limited Company - one of the biggest advantages for many is that it enables you to pay less personal tax as a company will pay corporation tax rather than income tax.
Trading as a Limited Company is also safer as it is legally separate from its owners meaning that their personal assets are not at risk (as a Sole Trader there is Unlimited personal liability). If things go wrong you are only at risk of losing what you put into the company.
Once registered as a Limited Company it will appear on the public register and no other company can use the name. That is why the first step in registering your Limited Company is checking whether a company already exists with that name.Can you register a Limited Company from outside the UK?
You do not need to be a UK national or resident to register as a Limited Company - and there are no restrictions on foreign nationals from being directors, shareholders or company secretaries. You will however need to provide a UK address as the registered address of your company as this is where all official documents will be sent and this will be listed on the public register. Which is why we offer services so that you can use our prestigious London, Regent Street W1 address as your registered office address.