No, you are not obliged to form a company.
However, business owners often chose to set a company up because they can be a more tax efficient vehicle to trade through. Furthermore, being a company makes the business look established and gives it status. And it gives the shareholders (the owners of a company) assurance that their liability is restricted to their investment in the event the company begins to fail to meet its debts.
Having said that, new businesses often generate losses in their early years of trading. If you believe your business will generate losses initially, you ought to consider remaining unincorporated. This would then allow you to carry back any losses against your employment income. If you form a company to trade through from the outset, any losses made by the company are confined to its affairs and cannot be used against your personal affairs.
Setting up in business can be an exciting but daunting time. If you would like some professional advice from your local TaxAssist Accountant, please feel free to contact us.
By Jo Nockels
Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.