Setting Up in the UK Timeline

A step-by-step guide to expanding your business to the UK. Whilst each clients journey is unique, the practical steps of establishing in the UK are often very similar, from deciding whether a taxable presence needs to be created, to registering for VAT, hiring your first employees in the UK and more. Use our helpful flow chart to guide you through the practical steps of establishing in the UK to ensure a seamless transition.  

Do I need to register a taxable presence?

In many cases, you are allowed to trade into the UK from your overseas entity. However, some of the activities you perform may trigger a taxable presence, at which point you would become liable for corporation tax.

Understanding the actions you can and cannot undertake is fundamental to avoiding future problems.

Download our guide on Doing Business in the UK

Choose a taxable presence

When establishing in the UK, most clients choose to establish either a branch or a subsidiary. Whilst most clients choose to have a wholly owned subsidiary, there are pros and cons to both set-ups and it’s worth reviewing and deciding which is right for your business.

Whilst registering a subsidiary company might take a couple of days, registering a permanent establishment typically takes 4-6 weeks.

Download our guide Branch Vs Subsidiary

Do I need a Company Secretary?

Nominating a company secretary can help when running your business from abroad. They can provide advice take responsibility for legal matters in some cases.

Benefits of a Company Secretary

Understanding the multi-faceted role of the Company Secretary and how this is constantly changing is a matter of importance in the world of Corporate Governance and therefore the role of Company Secretary is an essential part of corporate life for many companies.  

Visit our Company Secretarial Services Page

Consider Registering for VAT

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a tax charged on the sale of most goods and services in the UK. The first thing to note is that you can only charge and claim VAT if your business is registered for VAT, which is a must if your turnover for any 12-month period exceeds or is expected to exceed the threshold.

Registering for VAT varies, but it typically takes 4-6 weeks


HMRC Registration

For businesses to operate legally in the UK, if you have begun to employ people (PAYE), have a taxable turnover over £85,000 (VAT), or working with contractors (CIS) then you will need to register with HM Revenue & Customs. By outsourcing these legalities to Goodwille, we can ensure you are set up correctly. 

visit our HMRC Registration Page 

Explore UK Banking Options

If you are looking to establish your business in the UK, the likelihood is you will require a UK business bank account through which you can pay suppliers, employees and collect payment from customers. Whilst there is no legal requirement to have a UK bank account attached to your UK entity, it is often easier and cleaner to have one, so you can keep your UK entities transactions contained.

A digital bank, such as Wise or Revolut, may take around one week to open, a traditional bank typically takes 3-6months.

Download our guide Opening a UK Business Bank Account

Hire Local Talent

Recruiting and employing staff in the UK can be a lengthy and complicated process, and it’s one you need to ensure is done correctly to avoid future problems or grievances. With employment law varying from country-to-country, it’s fundamental that you have a good understanding and follow the local requirements. 

Download our guide on Employing Staff in the UK

Transferring Employees from Overseas

Having the best talent available at your disposal is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition from one market to another, and this is no different when establishing in the UK. The UK is fertile ground for successful businesses and is considered as one of the easier places to establish and run a business.

Download our guide on Sponsorship and

Implement Systems and Processes

Implementing efficient systems and processes to support your growth is fundamental to your future success. Read more about the systems & tools that we use to provide a solid foundation upon which you can achieve UK success.

Download our guide on Systems & Solutions for Growth

Prepare for Year End and Audit

All LTD companies are required to submit financial statements to Companies House within 9 months of their year end, and a CT600 (corporation Tax return) to HMRC within 9 months and 1 day of their accounting period end. The default position is for subsidiary companies to be audited, however you may be able to apply for exemption should your group turnover, assets or employee number be lower than their thresholds (two of the three must apply). 

Download our guide on Year-End and Audits

What if things don’t go your way?

When you go into the UK you should do so with optimism and drive. However, you should be aware that if things doesn’t go as planned you might need an exit strategy, because you will still have responsibilities if things doesn’t go your way. This is something we can help you with