Starting a Business in the UK? Here are the Documents you will Need.

Britain has always been a world economic powerhouse, punching well above its weight, especially considering it is a small, drizzly island on the edge of Europe. According to the recent research, the UK economy is, “the fifth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and ninth-largest in the world measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), comprising 4% of world GDP. It is the second-largest in the European Union by both metrics”.

Britain leads the world in services (78% of GDP is driven by this sector) and London is a major hub for financial services, being second only to New York as the most important financial centre in the world.  

The tech industry is also booming, not only in London but Cambridge, Milton Keynes and in the North., a website focused on startups in emerging markets boldly estimates, “over the next ten years, the number of digital technology companies in London is expected to rise to 45,000 and create more than £12 billion of economic activity, according to research by Oxford Economics.”  Currently, there are 54,000 people working in the field of big data in London and a further 44,000 employed by Fintech companies.

Registering a new start-up company or opening a branch office in the UK is a relatively simple process.  Britain was rated as the 10th easiest country worldwide in which to do business according to Forbes magazine, which annually assesses 146 nations on the following 11 criteria: “property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.”

How to set up a company in the UK

To set up a limited-liability company in the UK, there are a few stages that need to be undertaken to ensure business and tax laws are complied with:

Filing for registration at Companies House

A limited liability company must be registered with the UK Companies House.   This is a simple process that can be done online or by your accountant.

You must complete the following documents to register a company:

  • Memorandum of Association -  this will state the names and addresses of those forming the company
  • Articles of Association – sometimes known as ‘the articles,' this sets out how the company will be run, the director’s powers and duties and the rights of the shareholders
  • Form IN01 – this form contains the details of the company’s capital, the directors, and shareholders and the name of the Company Secretary (if one is appointed)

Once the company has been registered, you must file a copy of the annual accounts every year.  You must also inform the Companies House if the company:

  • changes its name
  • appoints a new director
  • removes a director
  • allots shares
  • receives a mortgage or a charge on its property
  • changes the address of its registered office

Registering with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Office

After you have registered your company with Companies House, you will need to register with HMRC.  This has to be finalised within three months of ‘doing business’ (i.e. selling, buying stock, renting a property, etc.).

After you have registered your company with Companies House, HMRC will then send you a unique10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). You can use this code to register online for corporation tax.

To register your company with HMRC for corporation tax you will need let them know:

  • your company registration number
  • the date you started trading
  • the date your annual accounts are made up to

In Summary

The UK is widely seen as one of the easiest countries in the world to register a company.  For simple incorporations, it can take as little as 24 hours and cost around £14.

To find a company law solicitor who can assist you with the documents required to setup a company, you can find a solicitor on Solicitors Guru.

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