Disadvantages of Incorporation including Practical Issues | AccountingWEB

Disadvantages of Incorporation including Practical Issues

It is easy for sole traders  to be persuaded to incorporate for the headline tax reductions and the advantage of limited liability. However,to give the full picture, I am trying to gather a full list of issues to be considered against this. Any help with this would be appreciated. I have made an initial list which follows. Please feel free to correct me or add anything else.  I am particularly interested in the practical issues as increases in costs have been quite substantial for some businesses.


  1. Annual accounts have to be filed at Companies House and are available for public inspection as is other information about the company.
  2. Formal meetings and minutes need to be kept on decisions to help protect the directors from personal liability.
  3. Directors are personally subject to regulations and can be fined or found guilty of a criminal offence for failing to comply.
  4. Far more compliance and regulation to deal with increasing the risk of penalties.
  5. A company is more complicated and costly to wind up.
  6. Generally involves higher accountancy fees for accounts alone.
  7. The question of IR35 must be seriously considered. If it is found to be in apply then there is likely to be more total tax paid through the company than there would have been as a sole trader.
  8. Additional accountancy costs in dealing with compliance and returns for company secretarial matters, payroll, P11ds, interim accounts to justify dividend payments.
  9. Higher costs for preparation of corporation tax returns and iXBRL tagging versus personal tax return.
  10. Any losses made by the company cannot be used against the owner's other income.
  11. The possibility that mortgage lenders will ignore dividend income.
  12. Company cars become liable to personal company car  tax and employers NI or if approved mileage rates are used to avoid this, it is often the case that the full costs of business mileage are not allowed. This is a particular problem with high emission expensive cars.
  13. Professional Valuation costs are incurred regarding goodwill if this exists and is being transferred to the company.
  14. Where the sole trader without employees incorporates, as an employer the company has new costs for employers liability insurance and compliance with health & safety regulations.
  15. There are practical problems in changing existing contracts over to the company name. I have seen instances where a company van insurance nearly doubled because of incorporation – same van, same drivers. Also instances where costs of services have increased because the company is a “new customer” with no entitlement to discounts previously agreed with the sole trader. Failure to change contracts to the company name can have tax implications such as the benefit in kind charge for a mobile phone still in the name of the director.
  16. Surplus funds in the business can be used by a sole trader without tax implication(except potential reduction of allowance for bank interest if there is an overdraft). This is not so easy or tax effective in a company as the company will pay a tax charge of 25% on any loans from the company and the director will pay tax on beneficial loan interest if no interest is paid. There is also the duty as director to consider the needs of the company before taking a loan.


There are 20 comments. Login or register to view them.

And another thing.....

WallyGandy |
WallyGandy's picture

Problems with SDLT liability

dropoutguy |

So why not ...

Old Greying Accountant |
Old Greying Accountant's picture


dropoutguy |

The wholly, exclusively and necessarily rule

rockallj |
rockallj's picture

Small Points

patvanaalst |
patvanaalst's picture

The bigger it gets

ksagroup |
ksagroup's picture

Only touched on the two biggest issues

zarathustra |
zarathustra's picture

To add to OGA

pauljohnston |

llp and company

mydoghasfleas |
mydoghasfleas's picture

Surplus funds + iXBRL + RTI + CIS + Funding (CT61 issue)

DMGbus |
DMGbus's picture

main points I use

Ding Dong |
Ding Dong's picture

Anticipated tax savings can be illusory

bookmarklee |
bookmarklee's picture


shoshana |

... and something else to bear in mind ...

ShirleyM |
ShirleyM's picture

@Shirley - Great Point

Ding Dong |
Ding Dong's picture

Sole trade, in its pure form ...

Old Greying Accountant |
Old Greying Accountant's picture

public liability insurance

davidlchapman |

I don't think that ...

nogammonsinanundoubledgame |
nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

Disadvantage of incorporation

Lesley5 |