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A shareholder is someone who owns shares in a limited company.

You’re a shareholder if:

  • you started your own private limited company (“Ltd”) – in this case, you’re also a company director
  • you received shares in your employer’s company
  • or you bought shares of a public limited company (“Plc”) – for example, through a trading app like Freetrade or eToro.

When you’re not a shareholder:

  • if you’re self-employed – even if HMRC classifies freelancers as “sole trader businesses”. In that case, you and your business are one. A limited company is a completely separate business.
  • if you’re in a business partnership. Partnerships are basically a way for self-employed people to work together. You’ll need to file a Self Assessment tax return both for yourself and the partnership, but you won’t have separate debts and assets.

What being a shareholder means for your taxes:

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