Setting up UK business - Limited Company vs "operating as"?
Thread poster: Hilary Davies Shelby

Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 18:12
German to English
Feb 26, 2004

Hi all,
I'm thinking about setting up a Limited company instead of being self-employed and I have a couple of questions. Basically I would like to be a bit more "official" and give myself more credibility.
- If I set up a Ltd company, do I have to charge my customers VAT? I know that most of them will not welcome a 20% price hike...
- What is the difference between the "operating as" designation and a limited company?
In other words, can I register a business name to "sound more professional" while still remaining registered self-employed?
Thanks for any advice!


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Pat Jenner
Local time: 23:12
German to English
+ ...
VAT Feb 26, 2004

Hi Hilary,

I can give you some info on VAT. You only have to register for VAT once your turnover reaches £55,000 a year, but you can register below that. Bear in mind that you wouldn't charge VAT to non-UK customers. I find that the vast majority of my customers are themselves VAT registered, so they will reclaim the VAT and the price change wouldn't make any difference to them (you would also be able to reclaim VAT on business supplies). See HM Customs website ( for more information. Operating as a limited company is more complicated than working as a sole trader, but I find the discipline of having to submit regular accounts makes me keep my books in order.
Hope that helps

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:12
French to English
I have doubts Feb 27, 2004

In other words, can I register a business name to "sound more professional" while still remaining registered self-employed?

Do you mean trading as "Davies Translations Ltd" without actually being a limited company?
I'm fairly sure the answer to that is no. Ltd means limited liability and means that those you do business with will have assumptions and expectations regarding trading with you, and they will be false since you are not a ltd co.
Remember if you set up a company, you need someone else.
Maybe the site can help with your questions.
(And remember, speaking as someone with experience of both, being a ltd co in the UK is still less of an administrative pain in the neck than being self-employed in France!!)
Good luck with your plans,

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Setting up UK business - Limited Company vs "operating as"?

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