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

November 11, 2022

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

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.
  • 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.

Read: Register a UK company and a hassle-free business account, from anywhere.

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

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..

Company Formation with wamo, we’ve made it easy

If you’re not a UK resident but are keen to take advantage of the UK market and to expand your business there from wherever you are in the world - we’ve made this not just possible but easy. When your register for a UK company you will also need to open a business bank account. You can do both on the wamo app and can be up and running with your brand new UK company in two days. To get started, download wamo business from Google Play or the App Store or if you’d like to speak to a wamo team member, simpy use the Chat box on the website. We hope that you’ve found this helpful! If there is anything that you think we have missed, please let us know. We are always looking for ways to improve our content and make it more useful for our readers.

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