Starting your own business requires careful planning, research and preparation. Here we will guide you to where you can find help and advice on starting and setting up a business. There is information on how to set up and register a company, and on the steps that you will need to take to turn your idea into a business.
When you start a business in the UK you must choose a structure for your business
Most businesses in the UK are:
- sole traders
- limited companies
The easiest way to start a business in the UK is to become a ‘sole trader’. This means that only you own the business and you can work alone or employ other people.
You will need to register for ‘self-assessment’ tax, which means you (or your accountant) calculate your own tax.
To become a sole trader you must:
- have a National Insurance (NI) number
- register for self-assessment with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- trade under your own name or choose a business name
You can set up a private limited company to run your business in the UK. You must appoint people to run the company (called ‘directors’) and register (or ‘incorporate’) it with Companies House.
As a director of the company, you are also an employee. This means that personal income and business income are separate when it comes to paying tax.
To set up a limited company you need to:
- have a name and address for the company
- register with Companies House
- have at least 1 director
- have at least 1 shareholder
- have articles of association (agreed rules about running the company)
- set up your company for Corporation Tax
In a partnership, you and your partner (or partners) personally share responsibility for your business.
With a business partnership you need to:
- register for self-assessment tax
- name your business according to certain rules
- run the business as an individual
- share profits between partners
There are also rules you must follow if you:
- sell goods online
- buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad
- store or use personal information