Expanding into the UK – all you need to know when starting a business in the UK

Thames and london

The UK is ranked as one of the best locations for businesses looking to expand internationally. Starting a business in the UK can be challenging, but with the right set of tools and knowledge, it’s a great place for business opportunities. The global environment, ease of doing business and strong market potential are of particular interest for overseas companies starting up in the UK.

When setting up a company in the UK, there are a number of registration requirements, regulations and obligations that need to be taken into account. This article highlights the most important things to consider when expanding your business into the UK.

  1. Legal Structures for Market Entry
  2. Set up and Registration
  3. Opening a Bank Account
  4. Understand UK Regulations
  5. UK Taxation
  6. Complying with UK Employment Law
  7. Expand to the UK With Goodwille
  8. Useful Contacts for Your Business

business men making choices

Legal Structures for Market Entry

When setting up in the UK, there are several legal structures to choose from. The company structure most suitable to you will depend on your type of business, where you are based and whether you have employees on board or not. Below are some of the most common legal structures in the UK;

  • Limited company
  • Branch office
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Sole trader
  • Partnership

Limited Company/Subsidiary

Limited company (LTD) is the most common form of business entity in the UK. A LTD company is a separate legal entity, owned by shareholders and managed by directors. The profits of a limited company are liable for UK corporation tax. Setting up an LTD company in the UK is a well-recognised structure that is quick and cost-effective to complete. With share capital starting at just £1, and with the risk contained within the subsidiary company, this is often the preferred route for international businesses expanding into Great Britain.

Branch

An international company may consider registering a branch office in the UK, rather than a LTD company. A branch office is not a separate legal entity from the head office company and full responsibility for the operations, debts and liabilities of the UK branch lie on the overseas parent company.

To learn more about the best option for you when expanding to the UK, check out the differences between a UK branch and a subsidiary.

Set-up and registration

A company can typically be registered with Companies House in 48 hours once all documents are completed. A UK company must register for corporation tax with HMRC, within three months of starting to trade. The paperwork for registration is not too extensive, however, certain statutory documents will be required. Check out our comprehensive company registration services.

woman hand calculating expenses

Opening a Bank account

In order to make any transactions, you’ll need to open a UK bank account for your business. Opening a bank account is a time-consuming process as you will need to go through a money laundering process to ensure your company is credible for a corporate bank account. Therefore, prepare to have time and patience for this stage, it can easily take up to six months or more to complete.

Check if your bank in the company’s home country has any operations in the UK. In some cases, this might speed up the process, as it may prove some creditworthiness for the business.

regulations represented with wooden blocks

Understand UK Regulations

The regulatory system in the UK is open and transparent, making it easy to do business. In general, the UK aims to minimise bureaucracy and deregulate marketplaces in order to allow companies to develop and expand. However, there are strict regulations e.g. with regards to employment, industrial emissions, pollution monitoring and control, and waste disposal. Make sure you are aware of the regulations that directly or indirectly affect your business!

All businesses operating in the UK are subject to UK law, and every company registered in the UK must have a registered address in the UK. By law, all UK companies must file their annual accounts with Companies House within nine months of the end of an accounting period. Additionally, a confirmation statement must be filed with Companies House every 12 months (within 28 days of the anniversary of incorporation).

To get all the details in order and prepare for the regulatory areas, you should look for specialist advice. Our Corporate Governance Services can help you comply with any regulations or business’ obligations in the UK.

UK Taxation

Foreign businesses looking at overseas business opportunities in the UK will find a competitive and business-friendly tax regime. Companies need to consider their exposure to UK taxation, including corporate income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and employment taxes.

Companies may become subject to UK taxation in a number of ways, such as

  • Establishing a formal taxable presence in the UK, such as a branch or Ltd company, and making a profit.
  • Registering a company for 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 current standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%.

It’s important to remember that an international business operating in the UK do not necessarily create a taxable presence in the UK. In order to be subject to UK corporation income taxation, an overseas business needs to be trading in the UK through a permanent establishment. Check out our comprehensive outsourced financial services and to find out more about when you may need to register an entity in the UK, please contact us.

department for work and pensions

Complying With UK Employment Law

When employing people in the UK, you need to be aware of several regulations within UK employment law. To start with, make sure your employees have the right to work in the UK (that they hold a valid UK/EU passport or work permit/visa) and a NIN (National Insurance Number) for the deduction of taxes. Also, remember to follow the guidelines for UK employment contracts and provide these within 8 weeks of starting the employment.

In addition, you need to register you employees into a PAYE scheme (Pay-As-You-Earn: social costs of employment including income tax and National Insurance) and organise relevant company insurances. Every employer in the UK must also enrol their employees into the workplace’s pension scheme within three months after the start of the employment.

In terms of the remuneration, you must ensure the employees are paid at least the National Minimum Wage in the UK. As the recruitment market in the UK is highly competitive, also make sure your remuneration package is attractive enough and fits into the scope of the role.

If you are recruiting in the UK, you may want to turn to specialists who can help you with all the employer regulations and responsibilities you need to consider in the UK. Goodwille’s HR Department deals with these issues daily and are happy to help if you have any questions regarding UK employment.

uk flag over london

Expand to the UK With Goodwille

The UK market provides great opportunities for expanding your business, however, starting up a business in the UK is a challenging process full of regulations. In order to get the set-up processes and ongoing compliance right, it’s good to turn to professionals who are able to provide you with advice and all the necessary help you need to get your business operations up and running correctly from the start.

If you are a foreign-owned business looking to expand into the UK, either through setting up a UK subsidiary or employing staff in the UK, Goodwille can help you to get the inside track. We have helped businesses expand into the UK for 20 years, and are experienced in Corporate Governance, Finance, HR, Payroll and Virtual Office services in the UK. With a track record of supporting almost 2,000 businesses, we have extensive experience to help you grow your business. Get in touch with us today, if you are planning to expand to the UK or have any questions regarding the UK market.


Useful contacts for your business

When expanding your business to the UK, there are many organisations you may find useful.

Networking-wise, it’s good to get know your local chamber of commerce and see if their network is worth accessing. For example, Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Chamber of Commerce provide good opportunities for professional networking.

Also, when developing your strategy for the new market, Department of International Trade (DIT) provides free advisory and supports companies with their UK strategy and planning.

Does Your Business Need Directors & Officers Insurance?

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The only type of insurance all companies with employees must have in place under UK law is an Employers’ Liability Insurance. It doesn’t matter if you employ staff only on a casual basis, you still need to make sure you protect your business against any claim brought by a current or former employee. Although not a legal requirement, there is a range of other insurance types available to you, all designed to cover a different aspect of your business.

Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance (also known as D&O) is one insurance type that you may want to look into. It’s a common misconception that D&O claims mainly occur in public companies. Moreover, even if your company has a limited liability status, the directors and officers are still personally liable for the decisions and actions they take. In this article, we cover some of the basics of the D&O insurance type and why your business may need one.

Why is D&O insurance important?

Metaphor of business solution, support, coaching, insurance, innovation and another helping business themes.

It is only right that the people running your company are properly protected. After all, they need to make important decisions all the time – sometimes with limited and imperfect information. Things may not always work out the way they intended and as a result, they can find themselves battling a lawsuit. We all make mistakes at work, but your managers are more likely to be put under scrutiny when things are not running smoothly, or your company has to break bad news to investors and other stakeholders.

Navigating uncertainty and risks in today’s rapidly changing business environment is not an easy task. Several things have added to this challenge such as the introduction of the GDPR and Data Protection Act in 2018 as well as the increased focus on climate change and sustainability. In particular, privacy issues and data breaches can easily lead to D&O litigation. Recent years have seen several high-profile cases where the failure to protect personal data has led to a public outcry such as the famous Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle.

What does D&O insurance cover?

D&O insurances usually cover all past, current and future directors and officers. The decisions made in a leadership position sometimes have far-reaching consequences and it is important to keep in mind that directors can be sued under “past liability”, that is, even after they have left the company. Lawsuits can be expensive, and one core purpose of the D&O insurance is to offer financial protection for your managers and help pay any legal defence costs.

Broadly speaking, claims against the directors can arise from many situations and decisions made such as misrepresentation of the company’s financial health, discrimination or unfair dismissals. These fall under the category of “wrongful acts”, which are separated from fraudulent, criminal or intentional non-compliant acts. Naturally, the latter types are not covered under a D&O policy.

Buying Directors and Officers Insurance

Like other insurances, D&O coverage can be tailored to suit your individual business needs. As today’s business environment has become more complex to manage, it’s important to evaluate what type of protection you have in place for the key people in your company. At Goodwille, we have over 20 years’ experience in working with companies of all sizes. We see insurances as an important element in making sure your business and its employees are properly protected and that is why we work with insurance brokers to get favourable rates for our clients. Read more about what types of business insurances we can help provide you, or get in touch to discuss your individual needs with us.

We’re recruiting – Chartered Secretary

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing essential business services to overseas companies looking to enter, grow & scale in the UK. These services include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently recruiting a Chartered Secretary, to join our Central London based team. The Company Secretarial Team instils Corporate Governance best practices and helps our clients comply with their obligations under Company Law & other regulations.

Within your role you will be responsible for:

  • Building relationships with clients across various jurisdictions & industries
  • Establishing UK Companies and Branches
  • Arranging Know Your Client (“KYC”) and People with Significant Control (“PSC”) documentation and liaising with various providers, advisers and banks
  • Assisting with the UK aspects of corporate reorganisations, mergers & acquisitions, rationalisations, strike-offs, and collaborating with different function lines (HR, benefits, tax, finance, etc)
  • Attending board meetings, minuting & advising on Corporate Governance
  • Assisting with setting up & administering Employee Share Scheme
  • Dealing with all Company Secretarial matters relating to your own portfolio of clients (share capital, shareholding structures etc)
  • Advising Directors on their duties and responsibilities and ensuring they are compliant with the statutes, constitutional documents and their company’s internal governance policies
  • Drafting & reviewing departmental policies & procedures
  • Keeping abreast of company secretarial best practice in company law and governance; proposing, implementing and communicating change, as necessary, within the company and to clients.
  • Supervising & mentoring junior colleagues
  • Supporting other departments with ad-hoc requests

The applicant must possess strong academic credentials (minimum of ACIS / ACG level), be a good communicator, both orally and in writing, and be able to demonstrate initiative and pro-activity.

Reporting to the Head of Company Secretarial it would be advantageous if the applicant has experience working in a professional services firm in a client facing role, preferably with an international client base. The candidate must be able to demonstrate good technical knowledge and in-depth knowledge of the Companies Act 2006, together with accompanying relevant regulations.

Although an international language is not mandatory, being able to speak a Nordic language would be advantageous. In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment for you to grow & develop in.

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 (Sainsburys, 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.
  • Company Massages

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 eamon.roche@goodwille.com

We’re Recruiting – Corporate Legal Controller

Goodwille provide essential business services to overseas companies looking to enter, grow or scale in the UK. These services include Corporate Legal, Finance, Human Resources, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently looking for an experienced Corporate Legal Controller to join our Corporate Legal team in London. As a Corporate Legal Controller at Goodwille, you will manage your own portfolio of clients and work closely with the Head of Department to deliver new/existing services and grow the business.

Key responsibilities include

  1. Legal
    • Provide point of reference for initial legal advice of clients
    • Provide corporate legal service offering, including;
      • Drafting corporate agreements
      • Share option schemes registration
      • Corporate restructure support
    • Liaise with and further develop relationships with Professional Support Partners
    • Staying updated on legal developments and changes to UK laws and regulations and assist with the development of CoSec bulletin on legal developments
  2. Compliance
    • Performance of Company Secretarial role (incorporations and statutory filings, HMRC registrations)
    • Work with the KYC/compliance team and optimising existing processes
    • Provide point of reference for compliance team and oversee day-to-day work
    • Ensuring application of best practices as required by client profiles
  3. Management
    • Assist the head of department in managing the CoSec team’s daily processes and long-term development
    • Mentoring and coaching members of department
    • Possibility to drive clients’ legal business development
    • Project development in accordance with legal requirements and market sentiments
  4. New Client Acquisition
    • Taking an active part in winning new business, and developing existing relationships
    • Represent the department and company at networking events

To succeed in this role, you should be educated to degree level, preferably in a legal or business discipline with further Company Secretary qualifications (e.g. ICSA, MSC Corporate Governance). We believe that you have experience of working in an international environment and coaching/supervising team member. Experience of client relationship management and technical company secretarial know-how, as well as experience working with company secretarial software (preferably Blueprint OneWorld) is essential. While fluency in English is a must, being able to speak an additional (Nordic) would be an advantage.

We are a strong and diverse team, so being sociable and engaging is important as we put a lot of emphasis on team and company culture. This is a client-facing role, so being communicative with a high level of cultural awareness and the ability to build and develop new and existing relationships with clients and partners is highly valued.

In joining us, you will become part of a modern and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment where you will be working with a diverse range of client companies and given the opportunity to develop the team and department which you will be part of.

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
  • Office massages twice yearly
  • 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 and 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.
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Three things to consider before joining the UK market

If your business has been successful in your home country and your services and products have also received some interest from UK consumers, congratulations! However, before setting up an office in a foreign country, ensure you consider all aspects. Here are three questions to ask yourself before entering the UK market.

What are your objectives and why the UK?

Goal setting and having clear objectives must be a priority for every business to be successful, but especially when entering a new market. You will need to know how your business is currently operating and ask yourself some key questions:

• What are my long-term and short-term goals?
• How does my business compare to others in the UK market?
• What are my business’ current profit margins?

Next, you need to ask yourself how the UK helps you achieve these. The final decision to open a UK office should hinge on how well it meets the key objectives of your overall business plan and not on specific factors in isolation such as tax, employment conditions and legal aspects.

Of course, while achieving business objectives is paramount, you also need to consider where in the UK would best meet your needs. While London may seem the obvious choice, other major cities such as Manchester, Aberdeen and Cambridge might pose specific benefits for your business’ skills niche or industry.

What type of entity do you need?

Deciding what business entity you will operate under is not to be taken lightly as it can have implications both in the short term and the long term, particularly with regards legal aspects such as paying tax, sharing out profits, making company decisions and liabilities.

The three most common ways foreign investors set up a UK company include:

I. Registering as a UK establishment – commonly referred to as a UK branch

II. Incorporating a UK subsidiary, where the most common is a private limited company

III. Incorporating a limited liability partnership

Finding the most suitable business entity may require expert help, and seeking advice from an expert can be very useful. An adviser with experience of helping companies setup in the UK can help you make the decision by asking all the relevant questions. Before you make the decision of the type of business entity, we recommend considering the below aspects with your adviser;

• The business’ nature and likelihood of prosperity in the UK
• The period you expect to be in the UK
• The challenges that you might face in establishing your business in the UK
• Administrative costs and disclosure requirements
• Tax implications

What legal implications will you face?

Next, you will have to deal with the legal side of things. The business entity you have chosen will determine your duties and responsibilities. In either case, you will have to register your business with Companies House and with HMRC, the UK tax Authority. In addition to this you will also have to factor in the necessary time for completing all the required registrations and paperwork before you can legally start trading in the UK.

Once you have considered the above and decided to enter the UK market, you will be in a position to enjoy the many benefits that the UK has to offer, including good infrastructure, specialist skills bases, a healthy business environment and a diverse yet skilled workforce. If you need advice on how to set up a UK company, you should speak to the experts at Goodwille. We can advice on the most suitable business entity to your business and your legal responsibilities in the UK. Read more about our Corporate Legal services or contact us today for more information.

Advice for launching a fintech startup in London

If you’re looking to expand your international fintech business or start up a new venture in the London area, you are probably already aware that London is known as the world’s fintech capital. It is an attractive startup location for foreign businesses wanting to expand internationally, and the most popular destination for Asian and American companies expanding into Europe.

Goodwille specialises in assisting international businesses set up companies in the UK. Check out our advice for setting up a fintech company in the UK:

UK business climate

Despite Brexit, the UK startup scene is thriving and many businesses still look to London to launch European operations. The UK government offers comprehensive guidance for overseas businesses thinking about launching in the UK.

Setting up a UK company

Setting up a UK company is a pretty straight-forward and quick process. Company incorporation is done via Companies House, UK’s registrar of companies, which is responsible for holding information about all companies in the UK. Albeit the incorporation process in itself is simple, we recommend you seek specialist advice to make sure your company is set up with Articles of Association, minutes and other legal essentials. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal department can help with setting up a UK entity and help with ongoing compliance for your UK company.

Payroll issues

If you plan to employ workers in your company, you will also need to be registered for UK PAYE. PAYE, pay-as-you-earn, is the system used for the deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions. The UK is in the process of making tax digital, so it is important to opt for a payroll provider that can meet all required obligations, now and in the future. Statutory pension contributions may also need to be deducted from employee salaries and your business is likely to be required to contribute towards employee pensions, too. Goodwille specialise in payroll and pension and can answer any questions about payroll or pension requirements in the UK.

Potential grants or funding

The UK offers access to a mature and streamlined business grants and funding sector. London fintech providers could well qualify for R&D tax credits or other funding awarded by Innovate UK.

Goodwille can help you launch your London fintech business. We offer legal, finance, HR, payroll and insurance advice to ensure your new company meets all UK requirements. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Why specialist legal advice is essential when you expand your business into the UK

If you plan to set up a UK company from your overseas location, you really should consider the benefits of specialist legal advice. Launching any business in the UK could be a legal minefield, and specialist legal advice for your new business will help you avoid risks and potential problems.

How will legal advice help with my UK startup?

Specialist business solicitors provide the essential assistance to ensure the right decisions are made when launching your UK startup. The type of legal advice offered includes:

Support with the creation of your company structure

This can be particularly important if you launch your company in partnership with others. You might possibly need a partnership arrangement or shareholders’ agreement drawing up to protect the value of investments made into your new business. Your legal expert also offers support and advice relating to the best structure for your business, such as opting for a limited company, partnership or limited liability partnership (LLP), or if you should consider a UK branch.

Help to narrow down your choice of suitable business premises

This is another important way legal advisors can help with the launch of your UK company. You need to understand all the terminology in any lease agreement, so you don’t get locked into a commercial rental agreement that is wrong for your business. Types of assistance offered could include reviews of landlord rent increase and service charge requirements and the use clauses relating to the property.

Sourcing loan financing and grant solutions

Grants, finance and tax issues can all be reviewed by your specialist legal advisor, who can also help you source suitable grant or loan financing to fund your new business over the initial trading months. There are a variety of different business financing solutions in the UK and your advisor will help you narrow down your options and inform you of any potential legal implications. Your legal expert will also advise you about tax liabilities in the UK and help you make decisions on tricky payroll and HR issues.

Setting up contractual terms

Companies selling goods or services in the UK have a number of legal obligations to meet. Your advisor can assist you in setting up the contractual terms under which your business will provide goods and services and also inform of any product liability issues that could arise in your marketing or sales campaigns.

There are many more ways in which expert legal advice can help smooth the launch of your UK startup. Goodwille offers specialist legal, HR, accounting and payroll support to overseas businesses planning a UK launch. Get in touch with us for more information on how we can support your business in the UK.

LAUNCH IN LONDON | Speaker introduction: Alexander Goodwille – Goodwille

London is a great place to be for tech businesses – it has access to great pool of talent, capital and investors, it boosts a large tech community and it’s perfectly located in the middle of time zones. With all these possibilities available – how can businesses and entrepreneurs utilise these to the best extent possible, and what else is needed to succeed?

On 14 June, Goodwille are hosting the event Launch in London as part of London Tech Week. The event targets startups, tech businesses and entrepreneurs with aspirations to launch in London, and will provide insights and expert advice on everything you need to succeed with your tech business in London.

One of the speakers at the event is our very own CEO Alexander Goodwille. If you read our blog on a regular basis, you might already be familiar with Alexander and what we do at Goodwille, but reading the introduction below we’re sure you’ll learn something new about Alexander, the Goodwille family business and why we are hosting Launch in London during London Tech Week!

During Launch in London, Alexander will speak about:

With over twenty years (twenty one to be exact!) experience helping companies expand in the UK, Goodwille have seen many businesses succeed, and also some businesses struggle with their UK operations. Alexander will share his best tips, and the pitfalls to avoid when starting up your business in London. He will provide common mistakes that he has seen over the years and give examples of unpleasant situations you might end up in if you haven’t done your homework!

About Goodwille and why we host Launch in London during London Tech Week 2018

Goodwille help businesses succeed with their UK operation. Founded by Swedish business woman Annika Åman-Goodwille, Goodwille take care of the administration and practical issues associated with running a business in the UK, so businesses can focus on clients and growing their business! Covering five integrated department, including Corporate Legal and Compliance, Finance, People Management and HR, Payroll, and Virtual Office and Meeting Rooms, we provide a solid foundation for you to grow your business.

At Goodwille, we think that startups and entrepreneurs should focus their efforts on value creation instead of admin and trying to learn the systems and requirements to run a UK business, and Tech is one of the most represented industries in our client-base. We want to provide startups, entrepreneurs and tech businesses with not only the administrative support they need to succeed in the UK, but also to give them valuable advice on how to interact with British clients and colleagues, how to make a name of yourself on London’s big tech scene, and also where and how to look for help to maximise your potential. We hope that Launch in London will provide just this to growing businesses, British or foreign, that wish to conquer London in 2018.

About Alexander

Alexander is the Computer Engineer that after 10 years in Investment Banking in March 2017 stepped up as CEO for the family business that his mother had founded 20 years earlier. He has a deep passion for all things tech and entrepreneurial, and he loves seeing people grow and succeed. Growing up in the UK with a Swedish mother and Scottish father and having seen the Goodwille business grow from the first client to nearly 2,000 companies helped to date, he has seen and experienced several culture clashes between cultures that are seemingly similar, but maybe more importantly – he has seen many foreign companies succeed in the UK.

LAUNCH IN LONDON – EVENTS DETAILS

Date: Thursday 14 June 2018
Time: 10am-1pm
Location: Level39, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
Tickets: This event is fully booked, email hello@goodwille.com to be put on the waiting list

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 setups 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 VAT rate 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 work permit/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 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. that can be good to use as guidelines to make sure your remuneration package is attractive and reasonable and that you don’t 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.

We offer HR advice and hands-on support and can help you sort everything employee-related – from employment contracts to benefits, pension and payroll. Get in touch with our HR Department if you have any questions.

In summary

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 everything 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.

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.