What do you need to open a business in the UK?

2 years ago   •   .6 min read

.By İlayda Birol
.Table of contents

To start a business in the UK, you need to make sure that you comply with all of the relevant legislation. This can be overwhelming at first. However, we have put together this guide to help you through the process and ensure that your new venture is set up correctly from the beginning.

Decide on a name

The first step to opening your business is to choose a name. It sounds easy, but for anyone who’s ever tried to start a band - you’ll know this can feel like the hardest bit! Here are some tips:

  • Choose a name that is easy to remember. Customers want to be able to remember what your business is called, and if the name is too long or complicated, it may not stick in their minds. Try choosing an easy-to-remember, one-word name for your company—this will make it easier for customers to identify you from other businesses in your industry as well as distinguish you from other companies with similar names.
How to check company name availability in the UK?
The first step in setting up a company in the UK is choosing a company name. Find all the details about choosing a company name on the wamo blog.
  • Choose a name that is easy to pronounce and spell. People who are searching online for services should be able to find yours easily based on its spelling and pronunciation; otherwise, they may get frustrated trying several different combinations before finding out which one works best for them (or else give up completely). In today’s e-Commerce world especially, it’s important to think internationally - be careful of being ‘too clever’ so that your brand gets lost in translation.

Find a registered office address

  • A registered office address is required for a company and must be an address in England, Wales or Scotland.
  • The registered office address must be permanent and where the company is run from.
  • If you’re a digital business it’s possible to register a virtual office address - when you register your UK company with wamo, a virtual office address is part of the package if you need one.
Company Formation in the UK With a Business Bank Account
Discover the easiest way of company formation in UK. Open your company and have a business bank account. Details are on the wamo blog!

Appoint your directors and company secretary

The next thing you need to do is appoint your directors and company secretary. This is important because they are responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, so you want to choose people that have experience in this field.

To appoint directors, firstly you need to register with Companies House as a limited company (if this has not already been done). Once this has been completed, it’s time to appoint your directors and secretary.

You can do this by assigning them their responsibilities within the company on a piece of paper called ‘articles of association’ which must be filed with Companies House when submitting an application for registration/incorporation as a limited company. If you are registering your UK company with wamo, this will be taken care of for you.

Understand your responsibilities as a director

As a director, you are responsible for everything that happens in your company. You can be sued by creditors and employees, and you may have to pay a fine if you don't follow the law. If your business causes harm to someone or damages property, you may have to pay compensation. As a director, it is important that:

  • You understand all of the legal requirements of running a business in the UK - these include keeping accurate records and filing accounts with Companies House at least once every year along with other statutory filing requirements such as tax returns and employment records;
  • Your company has enough money to cover its liabilities such as staff salaries, bills etc.;
  • You ensure that any staff working for your company are paid the minimum wage (currently £7.83 per hour).

Register with HMRC as an employer

If you have employees, you will need to register with HMRC as an employer. The National Insurance Contributions Office is the department that deals with employee's National Insurance contributions and tax. You also need to pay National Insurance contributions for your employees if they:

  • Are aged between 16 and 74
  • Work for a total of at least one hour per week (even if it's part-time) - or 30 hours per month (even if it's part-time)
  • Earn more than £116 per week in 2018-2019
All you need to know about taxes for small businesses
Have questions about the taxes you need to pay for your small business? Detailed information on small business taxes is on the wamo blog.

Create employment contracts and policies

You can create employment contracts and policies for your business. There are several types of employment contracts, including fixed-term, temporary, probationary and indefinite. You'll also need policies to help you manage the various aspects of your business. It's important to consider what should be included in these documents so that they reflect the needs of your employees and organisation while being legally compliant.

Check if you need to register for VAT

VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax that can be charged on the purchase of goods. If you buy $10,000 worth of goods and services, you have to pay VAT on them. If you are VAT registered, then HMRC will collect the money for you and deduct it from your payments when they come in. If you don’t register for VAT, then you have to pay it yourself at 20% on everything – this can get costly! You also won't be able to claim back any sales tax paid by your customers - so if they paid 5% and they live in another country with lower sales taxes than UK (like France), then their bill would have been higher than what it should've been if both parties were living in France instead of England… It's also worth noting that most small businesses will qualify as being exempt from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). The only exception is if your annual turnover exceeds £85k ($100k), but even then there are some exceptions where firms may still be asked by HMRC not to charge VAT on certain transactions within their business model such as financial products such as stocks/bonds/mutual funds etc., educational services like tutoring lessons etc., healthcare providers such as physiotherapy clinics etc., charities providing charitable works etc..

What is a VAT number? Does your company need one?
How to get vat number and why do you need vat number? All the details you need to know about your watt number are on the wamo blog.

The easier, faster alternative: wamo.

An alternative is to open a business account with an alternative financial service provider like wamo. It’s possible to register for a wamo business account in 10 minutes and to have your account up and running within 24 hours. Do get started with wamo:

Enter the wamo website or mobile app. Click the Register button and fill out the application form. Upload the information and documents requested from you. Complete your application in 10 minutes You can start using your account within 1 day.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to set up a branch in Estonia. If you have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you further.


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