Register your business in the UK

When you start a business in the UK you must choose a structure for your business. Most businesses in the UK are:
  • sole traders
  • limited companies
  • partnerships
  • You must register as ‘self-employed’ if you’re a sole trader - this means that you’re working for yourself, not for someone else.
    Usually, if you carry on a business in the UK you’ll need to live in the UK.
    A private limited company needs a registered office in the UK, but the directors of the company don’t have to live in the UK.

    Sole traders

    The easiest way to start a business in the UK is to become a ‘sole trader’. This means that only you own the business and you can work alone or employ other people.
    You will need to register for ‘self-assessment’ tax, which means you (or your accountant) calculate your own tax.

    How to do it

    To become a sole trader you must:
  • have a National Insurance number
  • register for self-assessment with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • trade under your own name or choose a business name
  • Find out how to set up business as a sole trader in the UK.

  • Limited companies

    You can set up a private limited company to run your business in the UK. You must appoint people to run the company (called ‘directors’) and register (or ‘incorporate’) it with Companies House.
    As a director of the company, you’re also an employee. This means that personal income and business income are separate when it comes to paying tax.

    How to do it

    To set up a limited company you need to:
  • have a name and address for the company
  • register with Companies House
  • have at least one director
  • have at least one shareholder
  • have articles of association (agreed rules about running the company)
  • set up your company for Corporation Tax

  • Business partnerships

    In a business partnership, you’re running a business as an individual but all the partners share responsibility for the business.

    How to do it

    With a business partnership you need to:
  • register for self-assessment with HMRC
  • name your business according to certain rules
  • run the business as an individual
  • share profits between partners

  • Interested in setting up company in another country?

    HongKong Companies Directory
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    Australia Companies Directory
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