27 Feb 2017

Set Up A Business In the UK

Starting a business can likely provide you with a more rewarding life, but it requires careful planning and consideration in order to succeed.

Before to start it is important: 1) to have a good business plan (including a brand, a name and a good level of competitor knowledge), 2) to understand your costs before you get going, and 3) to manage your finances once you have started your business.

When you are starting a business, taking care of these key start-up tasks properly, and in the right sequence, can help boost your chances of success and get your new venture off to a great start.

What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help.

Most businesses register as a sole trader, partnership or limited company.


  • Sole Trader


If you are a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed.

You can keep all your business’s profits after you have paid tax on them.

You are personally responsible for any losses your business makes.

Sole traders must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and follow certain rules on running and naming their business.

Your responsibilities as sole trader are:

– to keep records of your business’s sales and expenses;

– to send a Self-Assessment tax return every year;

– to pay Income Tax on your profits and Class 2 and Class 4 National (You will need to apply for a National Insurance number if you’re moving to the UK to set up a business).

You must register for VAT if your annual turnover is over £83,000.

You can trade under your own name, or you can choose another name for your business. You do not need to register your name. Your name and business name (if you have one) must be included on official paperwork (invoices and letters).

Sole trader names must not:

-include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership, ‘LLP’, ‘public limited company’ or ‘plc’;

-be lewd or offensive;

-be the same as an existing trade mark;

The name cannot contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression, or suggest a connection with government or local authorities, unless you get permission.

If you want to stop people from trading under your business name, you need to register your name as a trade mark.


  • Partnership


A partnership is the simplest way for two or more people to run a business together.

Responsibility for your business’s debts are completely shared.

In a partnership all partners personally share responsibility for business, this includes:

-any losses your business makes;

-bills for things you buy for your business (like stock or equipment).

Partners share the business’s profits, and each partner pays tax on their share.

A partner does not have to be an actual person, in fact a limited company counts as a ‘legal person’ and can also be a partner.

When you set up a business partnership you need to:

1)choose a name; 2) choose a ‘nominated partner’; 3) register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

The ‘nominated partner’ is responsible for managing the partnership’s tax returns and keeping business records.


  • Limited Companies


If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities.

As a director of a limited company, you must:

-follow the company’s rules, shown in its articles of association

– keep company records and report changes

-file your accounts and your Company Tax Return

– tell other shareholders if you might personally benefit from a transaction the company makes

pay Corporation Tax

-register for Self Assessment and send a personal Self Assessment tax return every year

You do not need to register for Self Assessment or send a tax return if your company is a non-profit organisation (for example, a charity) and you did not get any pay or benefits, like a company car.

You must report certain changes to Companies House.

You need to check that the information Companies House has about your company is correct every year. This is called a confirmation statement (previously an annual return).

You must include your company’s name on all company documents, publicity and letters.

On business letters, order forms and websites, you must show:

-the company’s registered number;

-its registered office address;

-where the company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland);

-the fact that it’s a limited company (usually by spelling out the company’s full name including ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’);

In case you want to include directors’ names, you must list all of them and if you want to show your company’s share capital (how much the shares were worth when you issued them), you must say how much is ‘paid up’ (owned by shareholders).


Depending on what your business does you may have other responsibilities as licences or permits, (for example to play music, sell food or to trade in the street) or to have an insurance.

There are also rules you must follow if you sell goods online, buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad or if you store or use personal information

There are things you need to do if you take on your own employees, in fact you are going to have more responsibilities, including: running payroll; paying for their National Insurance – but you can claim an allowance to reduce your bill or providing workplace pensions to eligible staff.

KMLegalNet professionals can guide you to explore all the possible solutions in setting up your business in UK, we offer specialist advice and legal representation both for individuals and for businesses, giving you all the information you need to know and helping you to figure out the best options to follow.

Our team of English-speaking Italian lawyers can assist both local and foreign clients. Thanks to the support of an international network of experienced and skilled attorneys coming from different legislations, KMLegalNet can provide you with all the assistance you need.

Shall you have any questions do not hesitate to contact our Italian Department or send an email to info@kmlegalnet.com


Avv. Ignazio Russo

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