4 important steps for setting up a business in the UK

The UK is an exciting location for foreign businesses looking to expand internationally, as it is full of opportunities and business potential. It is however important to be aware of the many rules, obligations and regulations that come with setting up a business in a new marketplace. This article will provide you with an overview of four things to consider when setting up a new business in the UK.

Step 1 – Type of trading entity
One of the first things you must decide when starting a business in the UK is which legal business structure to choose. Below are the main routes into the UK market, and depending on the type of business and your intentions for UK market, different set ups will be suitable. In finding the best route to market for your business, it is a good idea to look at the legal differences between the structures as well as any tax or other implications. You may wish to seek specialist advice on the differences between these types of entities, the up and down sides of them, and which entity that suits your business and you intentions of the UK market.

  • Limited company (private or public)
  • Branch office
  • Partnership
  • Sole trader
  • Distributor or agent

You can register your company online, but it is important to make sure you get all the bits and pieces right, and that you are aware of any reporting and filing requirements for the business. If you are unfamiliar with UK business, Companies House and statutory filings, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice and help. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal Department deal with these issues daily, and can advice and support you when setting up the business.

Step 2 – Bank account

In order to make any transactions, you will need to open a UK bank account for your business. Opening a bank account is a lengthy process as banks are required to go through long money laundering requirements to open a corporate bank account, so ensure that you allow time and patience for this. If you have a bank account for your business in your home country, check with your bank to see if they have operations in the UK which in some cases can speed up the process, as it proves some degree of creditworthiness for the business.

If the bank account opening process proves to be longer than anticipated and you need to urgently make transactions, Goodwille can provide a client account that you can temporarily use for transactions while you wait for your account to be opened. Get in touch with our Finance Department for more information.

Step 3 – VAT or not
You may also look to register your company for value-added tax, VAT in the UK. Companies must be registered for VAT if their taxable turnover for any 12 months period is £85,000 or over. The £85,000 threshold has been agreed to remain for at least two years from 1 April 2018.

The current standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%, which is the rate most businesses will charge. Some goods and services are reduced to a 5% rate and some are exempt from VAT so make sure you know which rates that applies to your business!

Step 4 – Employment
Now that the company, bank account and VAT is sorted, you need to employ people to get the money rolling and the business moving forward. When employing people in the UK for the first time, there are several things you need to bear in mind – whether you are bringing employees from your foreign company or employing in the UK.

  • One basic thing that people may take for granted but that shouldn’t be neglected is that you need to make sure that people you employ are eligible to work in the UK. Make sure they have a UK or EU passport, or that they have a working visa!
  • All workers are covered by the law of the jurisdiction in which they work, meaning that your UK employees will be subject to UK employment law. This means it’s important to make sure that your employment contracts are based on and compliant with UK employment law. The contracts should cover and set out the employee’s duties, responsibilities, rights and employment conditions.
  • You need to register your employees for PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn, social costs of employment including income tax and National Insurance that you as an employer needs to pay to HMRC) and organise with necessary company insurances.
  • Make sure you offer your employees a pay that is at least above the National Minimum Wage, and that you offer sufficient benefits to their responsibilities and scope of work. There are benchmarks for salary levels and benefits depending on industry, experience etc. which can be good to use as guidelines not to offer “too much” or “too little”.
  • There is a requirement to enrol your employees on a workplace pension scheme. This is called auto-enrolment and as an employer, you must automatically enrol all your employees on a pension scheme three (3) months after the start of their employment. Employees must actively opt-out of the pension scheme if they don’t wish to receive a workplace pension

All these things might seem straight forward when outlined here, but the truth is – it’s not always as easy as it seems. There are rules, laws and regulations you need to be aware of and make sure you follow to avoid a hefty fine, or even worse – being taken to court.

Goodwille have 20 years of experience helping foreign businesses in the UK, and can support you with anything you need to get your business started. With a track record of helping nearly 2,000 businesses in the UK, we have all the experience and resources you need to succeed with your expansion.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions about doing business in the UK or if you want more information on the support we can provide to your business.

A Good Cause: Team Goodwille fundrasing for UNIQUE – Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group

Team Goodwille is running the British 10K in Westminster, London on 15 July 2018 to raise money for UNIQUE – a charity with the mission to inform and support anyone affected by rare chromosome and gene disorders.

Charity, fundraising and spreading information on important causes are very close to our hearts at Goodwille, and we hope that by raising awareness of rare chromosome and gene disorders and donating to UNIQUE, we can make a difference to individuals and families in the UK.

Help us make a difference – support #TeamGoodwille in the British 10K and donate to our cause. All donations and contributions, however large or small, make a real and lasting difference.

DONATE HERE.

 

Follow the fundraising journey – from running practise to fundraising activities on Instagram. Thank you for your support.

About UNIQUE
Unique provides much needed help and information to those caring for a family member with a rare chromosome disorder. These lifelong disorders affect 1 in 200 live-born babies and those affected are often sick and severely disabled, unable to walk or talk. For more information see www.rarechromo.org

Branding plays a role in go-to-market

When talking about go-to-market, you often hear this term used when the company is in the stage of international expansion or targeting particular geographical market. I think people often get this term wrong. Whether you are starting with a new innovation, a start-up or a large company, you need to plan your go-to-market strategy.

Go-to-market planning at its best starts a lot earlier. It can start as early as when you have your first demo or a prototype. Well conducted go-to-market takes into account unique selling points, competition and above all customer needs. Go-to-market is really about packaging your offering ready for the market(s) and making it appealing for all stakeholders. It’s about launch strategy taking into account to whom you are selling your product rather than internationalisation strategy where you are looking at dynamics of particular market and your product-market fit (although this can be part of go-to-market).

Branding plays an important role in this and in order to get the go-to-market right you would need to work with designers and marketing experts. Even business model canvas is not really concentrating on things like story, visuals and target group which are part of go-to-market. Technology commercialisation is focused very much still on technology choices, protection, product features, pricing strategies, product development, team building and distribution. All this is necessary but in order for products to align with customer needs, marketing needs to play a role in the process. Here are some questions you can start with:

  • Value proposition: What value are providing to users?
  • What kind of feedback have you received?
  • What is your story?
  • What kind of users do you see using your product or services?
  • What kind of visual world are you providing to your customers?

Go-to-market happens in networks where users, branding and technology specialists are working together to launch not only the best but most appealing innovations to the world.


This article is supplied by Maria Sipila of Sipila consulting. Read the original article here.

HMRC announcement on EMI options

HMRC have announced that the EU State Aid approval for the EMI scheme expires on the 6th April 2018.

The UK Government has applied to the European Commission, but it is has now been made apparent that it will lapse before new approval is obtained. HMRC considers that the State Aid approval applies to the granting of share options and therefore that share options granted up to and including 6 April 2018 won’t be affected by this lapse in approval. HMRC will, up until the 6th April 2018, continue to apply its current guidance & practice in relation to employment-related securities options validly granted as EMI share options.

Therefore:

  1. EMI share options granted between the period of the 7th April through until the new EU State Aid approval may not be eligible for the previous tax advantages.
  2. Organisations may wish to consider delaying the grant of EMI options until the EU State Aid approval is obtained.

For more information on how this may impact your existing EMI scheme do not hesitate to contact our Corporate Legal department.

How did Helsinki reach start-up stardom?

Scandinavia has held a certain chic popularity throughout the rest of Europe for a number of years now, from the Hygge craze to the Swedish and Finnish bakeries popping up around the country, it seems that the UK can’t get enough of Scandinavian culture.

As well as being ahead of the curve on baked goods, Finland have also been excelling in the start-up scene. Over the last five years, Finland has seen at least a one-billion-dollar exit from its start-ups per year, with start-ups in a wide range of fields – from tech to design and education – making their mark globally. Despite being a nation with a population of just under 5.5m, considerably less than that of even London, Finland boasts 10% of the world’s start-up exits.

An up-and-coming tech giant

While Helsinki doesn’t yet compare to the success of Stockholm in the field of technology, they’re not doing too shabbily. They’re home to a number of mobile developers who have created internationally loved mobile games including Rovio, who developed the insanely popular Angry Birds and Supercell, developers of Clash of Clans.

Helsinki also boasts a myriad of tech start-ups that, despite being far from household names just yet, are already proving their worth and ingenuity in their respective fields. Nordic JustEat equivalent Wolt has already expanded from Helsinki to Stockholm and Copenhagen in the past year, and smartphone manufacturer Jolla, founded by ex-Nokia staff – another Finnish tech giant – is making waves and raised $12m in a Series C round last year.

Why Finland?

Finland’s success within the start-up scene over the past decade can at least in part be attributed to a government which supports start-ups while also giving them freedom and independence. Finnish business policies include public support campaigns, dedicated mentor programs and a funding agency for innovation known as Tekes.

Finland is also quick to think internationally. With such a small workforce available at home, Finnish start-ups are some of the first to look outward when business takes off. Helsinki’s super successful start-ups are quick to expand into Europe and beyond, which can quickly catapult these burgeoning businesses to global success.

If you’re looking to expand your start-up business to the United Kingdom, Goodwille can help you with everything you need to get the UK company started and rolling effectively and efficiently. With years of experience helping companies with legal, HR, payroll and financial administration, our team of knowledgeable professionals can guide your UK expansion to success. Get in touch with us today for more information.

We’re recruiting – Corporate Legal Controller

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently looking for an experienced Corporate Legal Controller, preferably fluent in a Nordic language, to join our Corporate Legal team in London and provide company secretarial and legal advice and services to a range of international and UK clients. While you will primarily work with the Corporate Legal team, all our departments are integrated and you will also find yourself liaising with other departments, such as HR, Finance and Payroll departments on a regular basis, and attending frequent team, company and client meetings.

You will be responsible for
• a portfolio of existing and new clients; being the main point of contact for and managing the corporate legal services for these
• managing and supporting existing client accounts, including maintaining statutory records and registers, taking board minutes, striking off/liquidation etc.
• managing new client accounts, including company incorporation, VAT registration, opening bank accounts, insurances, data protection, health and safety etc.
• ensuring timely filings to Companies House, HMRC and other agencies
• reviewing statutory books as part of company health checks and annual statutory audit
• special client projects

We believe that applicants have good knowledge and experience of company secretarial work, and preferably experience working in an international environment and/or handling employees and operations in different countries.

In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment working with a diverse range of client companies and corporate legal issues.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

• Office fruit every week
• Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, Tesco etc.) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc.) & gyms.
• Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
• Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
• Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Kensington, West London
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact vidou.motee@goodwille.com.
www.goodwille.com

Freedom of Establishment – Corporate Mobility

Often labelled as “passporting”, Corporate Mobility means that once a company is established in one EU member state, others will need to recognise it as validly established legal entity. As a result, an established company can sell goods or services to other EU countries, in principle without needing to establish a branch or subsidiary there.  In some instances, member states’ tax rules will still require establishment of a local entity. An example here is the UK legal obligation to form a “UK establishment” (subsidiary or branch) when certain criteria are met. Several questions come to mind in relation to the future of this freedom…

Will you need to establish an entity in the UK to run operations smoothly?
If you have a UK Branch, should you form a subsidiary to strengthen your UK base?

Answers to these questions will vary depending on where your company is based, as well as what Brexit scenario the future holds – will there be a “hard Brexit” or not, how long is the transition period, will Mrs May negotiate a solution for corporate mobility?

To illustrate the background: Most continental EU jurisdictions (e.g. France, Germany) adopt the “Real Seat Theory”. This means the company will follow the company law where it has its real seat, being the location of the company’s centre of management or central administration. The second theory, called “Legal Seat Doctrine” (adopted, for example, in England), the applicable company law is determined by the jurisdiction where the company is incorporated.

This means that a UK established company, whether or not it is a foreign subsidiary or not, will retain its legal status in the UK irrespective of the Brexit model applied. Depending on business carried out in other EU member states, your UK established company may need to explore whether you should set up an entity in another EU country if you do not currently have such an entity. This will be particularly relevant for companies registered in one of the UK jurisdictions but having their central administration in a “Real Seat Country”.  Those types of businesses may risk to be regarded as unincorporated associations following Brexit, thus potentially losing their status as legal entity in those other member states.

On the flip side, if you are currently operating an entity outside the UK and are carrying out regular business with the UK, you may not have the benefit of being regarded as legal entity in the UK. Depending on your exposure to the UK market and business plans, you may wish to consider setting up a UK Limited company to strengthen your base. Whilst it is not possible to advice on what precisely will happen, we have seen this used as a contingency approach during less certain times.

Watch this space for a detailed analysis on any indications we have seen so far on how the UK is looking to fare with your Corporate Mobility!

 

 

If you have any questions about Corporate Mobility,
get in touch with Tessa Schrempf,
Corporate Legal Controller at Goodwille.
tessa.schrempf@goodwille.com


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Free Movement of Goods

The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of EU law and business. It essentially is a two-sided coin, and provides for tariff‑free access to the single market and the elimination of non‑tariff barriers such as product regulation and approvals.

The issue concerning the status of UK rules vis-à-vis laws pertaining to the movement of goods and services, as well as changes to the VAT system, increasingly captivates our interest day by day. As the UK hopes to achieve a bespoke agreement, the British government will seek to maintain the closest relationship with the EU and, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May was heard saying during her Florence speech, a frictionless trade agreement between the bloc and the UK. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19th March 2018 supports this approach. One of the clauses both parties have agreed on stipulates that any good that was lawfully placed on the EU or UK market before 31st December 2020 should be able to continue to circulate freely until reaching the end-user. The existing rules on free movement of goods will largely remain in force during the Transition Period, with some applicable exceptions.

These developments are at least an interim departure from Mrs May’s ruling out of remaining in the single market or customs union. It remains to be seen how the post-Transition Period deals with the matter of freedom of goods, but future developments do not necessarily threaten frictionless EU-UK trade. UK industries and their respective sectors are highly integrated with the single market; the Office of National Statistics (ONS) state that over 59% of UK imports are of EU origin, whilst 48% of UK exports end up within the community.

It would not be in Britain’s interest to lose free-trade access to the EU, as the UK would lose access to countries with which the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) have also been negotiating free trade agreements. Moreover, a weakened Pound Sterling at the outset of the June 2016 Referendum, has seen demand for UK-built goods abroad increase, as exports became cheaper, and tourism saw improvement, where visiting the UK became more affordable. There is scope to protect frictionless trade in goods and services and to secure proper VAT processes following Brexit.

VAT and the flow of goods and services are symbiotic, and they will adhere too much of PM May’s rhetoric concerning the maintenance of seamless trade with the EU – predictability. Voices that declare that Brexit means “taking back control” are purported, as past decisions made by the European Court of Justice will be influential in the continued interpretation of VAT law in British law. The EU VAT Directive have been soaked up by British courts, and this is another signal that the path Britain is taking concerning goods, services and VAT will be governed by the virtues our company seeks to aspire to: predictability and reliability.

Additionally, issues concerning the future of services or goods do not seem to be so challenging at this stage, many self-accounting rules for VAT on services bought from the EU will remain broadly unchanged and there could be further opportunities; especially if one considers that EC Sales List declarations may not need to be completed. This suggests an orderly process of transposition and transition in a post-EU UK as being the name of the game.

In areas concerning the exchange and freedom of movement concerning technologies, the UK seeks to maintain its position as a leading provider and market for hi-tech industries. Upon reading the UK’s Industrial Strategy Paper in November, the UK seeks to increase innovation by raising total research and development investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Over £1 Billion will be invested to boost Britain’s digital infrastructure, £176million for 5G and £200million invested to foster full-fibre networks in the UK. Equally important is the UK’s drive to invest £20 billion into innovative and high potential businesses.

 

 

If you have any questions about Free Movement of Goods,
get in touch with Alexander Goodwille,
CEO at Goodwille. 

alexander.goodwille@goodwille.com

 


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Free Movement of People – Individual Mobility

By law, this freedom is called “Freedom of Workers”. We have expanded the notion here as in practice, it relates to more than just EU workers and includes for example family members and jobseekers, but also students and unemployed Union citizens. We have picked out the three most relevant categories here below.

Brexit for Employees

There has been a lot of speculation over the past 2 years around Brexit which has perhaps meant that many non-British citizens are questioning the security of their current situation in the UK. The key information is that there will be no change to the legal rights of EU nationals living in the UK until at least 31st December 2020, or later if there is an extension.

In December 2017, the UK Government announced that an agreement had been reached with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, whereby EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be entitled to apply for “settled status” (see below) when they have five years’ continuous residence in the UK. However, the Draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19th March 2019 confirmed that free movement of people will be extended to the start of 2021. This recent assurance means that EU Nationals arriving in the UK would be able to stay in the UK indefinitely and also access work permits via the new immigration regime.

Did you know…

  • Currently, citizens of EEA countries and Switzerland plus any non EEA family members can live and work in the UK and do not need any specific permission to do so at present, however in the interests of security and perhaps reassurance, it could be beneficial to formally request documentation.
  • There are pro’s and cons regarding applying for Permanent Residency at this time and also criteria as to whether an individual has this option open to them, i.e. one stipulation is that an individual must have been a continuous resident in the UK for 5 years or more.
  • Currently anyone who is an EU citizen living and working in the UK does not have to make an application to preserve their rights at this time; and indeed the Home Office are encouraging EU citizens to not make applications just now as they are inundated with applications.
  • There will however be the need to demonstrate via documentation in the future that an individual has the right to live and work in the UK. This could be via Permanent Residency, British Citizenship or Visa, but the longer term plan would be that individuals who do not hold visa status will apply for Settled Worker status (which will be discussed later in the newsletter). Those currently holding Permanent Residency will also need to apply for Settled Worker status.
  • Key areas which individuals may want to consider are whether they wish to be British (British Citizenship or Settled Worker), whether they would like the right to vote in the UK, whether holding dual citizenship is a possibility, whether they have EU family members who they would like to bring with them to live in the UK (as the British Immigration rules may be more restrictive than those currently enforced under the EU) and their taxation status.

Brexit for Employers

As discussed above, immediate uncertainties over the immigration status post-Brexit were addressed in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement confirming EU citizens’ rights to remain unchanged until 31st December 2020. As previously, this means for the moment there is no issue for EU nationals to live and work in the UK. Irrespective of the recent assurances, employers need to think about future proofing their business, which of course means looking at how the company can support both current non British employees and also potential hires from outside the UK.

Some thoughts to bear in mind:

  • Consider the workforce and how many non-British employees are in the business or British employees who may have non-British spouses.
  • What can your business afford by way of assistance? Consider presentations explaining the current status re immigration and Brexit and also presentations to assist with applications. Perhaps you can afford to pay for some legal support for employees who may be affected?
  • When you are hiring non-British employees, consider that they may wish to have some reassurance from you that post Brexit, should they not be in a position to stay and work in the UK that they will have some support, this could be by way of a clause in a contract, legal assistance, relocation package etc.
  • There is an expectation that there will still be a high requirement for EU talent in the UK post Brexit. There is a continuing skills shortage in the UK particularly within Tech.
  • There may be a greater need for UK Companies to apply for sponsorship licences to perhaps cover both EU talent and also of course talent from outside of the EU (as is current practice).
  • There are an expanded list of sponsorship licence categories and Companies need to decide which (if any) are more appropriate for them if needed.
  • There is an expectation that there will be greater restrictions on low skilled workers looking to work in the UK with visa’s capped at 2 years. This cap is also to extend to high skill workers with some visa categorisations, where they will be able to stay for 5 years without settlement status.
  • Companies should think about ensuring they are tightening up their compliance checks, including Right to Work checks (which are the minimum which an employer has a responsibility to carry out currently). Compliance is extremely important for sponsorship licences and failure to comply could mean loss of licences and the personnel sponsored by the Company.

Settled Worker Status

In December 2017, the Government announced that it had reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, under which EU citizens arriving in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be entitled to apply for “settled status” when they have five years’ continuous residence in the UK. This will give them the right to stay indefinitely. Settled Status is currently known as Permanent Residence, however those currently living and working in the UK under a Permanent Residence agreement will need to also apply for Settled Status.

Applicants who are not able to give evidence of five years’ continuous residence necessary to obtain settled status, but who can evidence that they were resident before the specified date, will be given temporary status. This means that they will be given the opportunity to build up the required longevity of residency to be able to apply for Settled Status.

 


If you have any questions about Individual Mobility,
get in touch with Jacqui Brown,
HR Manager at Goodwille. 

jacqui.brown@goodwille.com

 


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Goodwille hosts Launch in London during London Tech Week 2018

Join us on 14 June for Launch in London – London Tech Week’s hottest event for any business establishing in the UK!

Hosted by Goodwille at Level39, one of the world’s most well renowned and connected tech hubs, Launch in London will provide you with everything you need to succeed with your business in London. Get inside tips on the Do’s and Don’ts when starting up in the UK, how to navigate Brexit, the British business culture and how to grow your network with the right people while overlooking London’s skyline.

This is THE event for startups, entrepreneurs and businesses looking to establish in London, as well as for mentors and advisors helping tech businesses succeed on London’s tech scene.

SPEAKERS
Alexander Goodwille, CEO of Goodwille will share the best tips, and the pitfalls to avoid when starting up in the UK.

Mark Leaver, Creative Industries Specialist of DIT – Department for International Trade will discuss why despite Brexit, the UK is still very much open for business and why you should start your business in London during 2018.

Joanna Dodd, Director of Rochester PR will share helpful insights on marketing, PR & how to get connected with the right people in the UK.

Joanna Smit, Owner of SMIT Training will help you understand the British people and culture and provide you with the intercultural skills you need to make your transition in to the UK market.

The seminars will be followed by a Q&A session, drinks, canapes & networking (plus opportunities for panoramic photographs of London!).

EVENTS DETAILS
Date: Thursday 14 June 2018
Time: 10am-1pm
Location: Level39, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
Free entry

REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE


If you have any questions about the event, get in touch with our Marketing Manager James Service on james.service@goodwille.com or 020 7795 8100.