Setting up in the UK

The United Kingdom inspires and promotes entrepreneurship, with abundant self-employed company owners, private sector businesses, individual traders, and freelancers. 360 Business Law with its wide network of
company incorporation experts can offer advice and services on starting a UK business, including the different types of company structures and the best suitable structure for your business.

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Company Incorporation Options in The UK

Setting up a business in the UK can be a complex affair. Setting up a company in a foreign jurisdiction is never a simple task. Especially if you’re from outside of the European Union, Obligations, procedures, timelines and languages could be challenging to apprise on your own. There are a variety of different business models in the UK and one needs to choose the best suitable option in accordance with the company’s structure.

Sole Trader

A viable option for self-employed individuals, Freelancers in the UK. As a sole trader, one can keep all of their business profits. However, one still needs to make necessary arrangements to pay income tax and National Insurance.

General Partnership

Suitable for small businesses, this structure involves two or more individuals (or companies) setting up together. Responsibilities and profits are shared equally, with each partner paying tax on their share and jointly liable for debts and losses.

Limited Partnership

This partnership agreement involves at least one limited partner whose inputs are financial and who is only liable up to the amount they’ve contributed and at least one General Partner who undertakes the business and is personally liable for any business debts.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

In this form of agreement, neither partner is personally liable for debts that the business can’t pay. This partnership involves a written LLP agreement and must be registered with Companies House,the UK’s registrar of companies.

Private Limited Company (Ltd)

Limited company structure stands as a separate legal entity from the people that run it. These are incorporated through registration at Companies House and need at least one director and one shareholder.

Public Limited Company (PLC)

In the PLC’s the shares may be traded publicly as against in a Limited Company. The minimum share capital of £50,000, with at least 25% paid prior to start-up is requisite.

Unlimited Company

This company type, although uncommon, involves shareholders having joint unlimited liability for the debts of the business i.e. the debts can be covered with personal assets in the event of the business assets not meeting debts.

Social Enterprise

This business type exists to invest any profits made by the enterprise to meet social, charitable or community objectives rather than them being distributed amongst the shareholders. Social enterprises include charities, cooperatives, and community interest companies (CIC).

Unincorporated Associations

These are unincorporated, unregistered forms of Non-Profit Organizations that may include community groups, voluntary groups, small clubs and others.

Legal Requirements for Starting a Business in The UK.

The regulatory and legal requirements of initiating a business in the UK have become significantly simpler in recent years. The United Kingdom, with its favourable rules & regulations, well-equipped
infrastructure, strong governance and high standard facilities lands itself amongst a few of the top destinations for starting a business. The World Bank ranks the UK first in Europe and sixth in the world in terms of setting up a business in the UK.

One of the major considerations while incorporating a business is the type of entity that needs to be incorporated which varies on several factors such as the purpose of the business, ownership, liabilities and others.

The most common type of entity that is incorporated in the UK is a Private Limited Company (Ltd). Following are the requirements for incorporating an Ltd are as follow:

Constitutional Documents

These documents govern the company and consist of a Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA).

Company Name

A name that is distinctive doesn’t contain sensitive words or expressions and is not offensive should be provided as a choice for the company name.

Registered Office

A private limited company must have a physical address in the UK. This is where official communications will be sent.

First Officers

The first officer's in Ltd. consist of Directors and Company Secretaries (CS). A private limited company must have at least one director who is a living individual and is at least 16 years of age and is not disqualified from being a director. A private limited company is not required to appoint a CS unless the company's Articles of Association expressly require it to do so.

Statement of Capital

The Statement of Capital provides the details of the company's share structure and the company’s value.

Persons with significant control

Any person with significant control must be registered on incorporation. A person with significant control is an individual (person or a registered legal entity) which meets one or more conditions relating to share ownership, voting rights, appointment of directors, or rights to exercise the control of the company.

How Can 360 Business Law Help?

360 Business Law comprises of a wide array of highly skilled legal professionals spread across the globe. Every business is unique with unique requirements, and as they grow, the structure of the company needs to be flexible enough to enable modifications to encompass further growth prospects. Our legal professionals work hand in hand with the founders to formulate a structure that will assist the ambitious entrepreneurs to formulate the best possible structure for setting up in the UK.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can one set up a company in the UK?

Setting up a business in the UK is a pretty straightforward process. Amongst various setting up structures, one could choose how the company operates. If one wants to incorporate a company as a separate legal entity in the UK, forming a private limited company could be the most viable option.

Can a foreigner start a business in the UK?

Any person belonging to any nationality can incorporate a company in the UK. The only stipulation is that the company must be registered in the UK with a UK address. Foreign nationals can easily acquire an address to register a company with Companies House.

How long does it take to set up a company in the UK?

It effectively take about two weeks to incorporate a company in the UK.

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