Many people often see the United Kingdom as an attractive place to launch a business for several reasons. For instance, the UK is geographically close to mainland Europe and is an important trading partner with the United States.
Also, it’s one of the world’s leading economies, and many of the world’s top brands either have European headquarters in the UK or have a significant presence in the British Isles. You’re likely reading this because you’re thinking of moving to Britain soon.
But, you also have plans to start a home-based business in the UK. Whilst you'll be excited coming up with your business name, business plan and web development plans, is there anything legal you need to know before you move to Britain and begin your entrepreneurial journey? It turns out there are a few things you need to bear in mind before you start:
Apply for the right visa
Before you do anything, you need to apply for the correct visa. If you’re planning to move to the UK from the EU, you’ll have to apply the same way as non-EU citizens due to Brexit. It’s possible to apply for a visa ahead of time, like a start-up visa for an innovative business.
Once your visa gets approved and you start to settle into life in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a UK indefinite leave to remain. It’s a form of permanent residence that you can get if you’ve lived in Britain for at least five years.
Think about the best business legal structure
When the Home Office allows you to start a business in the UK, you can start putting your plans into motion. One point to consider is the legal structure of your business.
When you start a home-based business, you can do so as a sole trader and use your name for your business or a trading name. You can only do the latter if no one else is using your trading name.
It’s also possible to incorporate your business by creating a limited company. Doing so offers several tax advantages, but it also comes with more accounting procedures to follow, such as annual returns with Companies House.
There are pros and cons to the various legal structures available to entrepreneurs in the UK. With that in mind, it makes sense to speak with an accountant or a business mentor to determine which one is right for you and your needs.
Register as self-employed
Irrespective of your business’s legal structure, you will need to register as self-employed with HMRC, the government department that deals with income and business taxes. You can register as self-employed online, and you’ll need to file annual tax returns.
Everyone with permanent residence who works in the UK has a tax threshold, meaning they can earn a specific amount before they must start paying income tax and National Insurance contributions. Take a look at the HMRC website for more information.
These articles may be helpful if you are becoming self employed in the UK:
- 3 steps to setting up your business online
- 6 handy tax tips for bloggers and self employed
- 3 important things to consider when starting a self-employed business
Get the right insurance
Lastly, as you’re starting a home-based business, you should get the right insurance cover for your startup. There are many different types available, such as professional indemnity insurance, public liability, and employer’s liability.
Getting insured means you have legal protection if things go wrong and you have legal disputes with customers.
Take a look at this guide on starting a business for other tips and strategies that apply to anyone starting a business in the UK.
Do your research
The UK is a hotbed for entrepreneurs, but it's also one of the most expensive country’s in Europe. If you're moving there to start a business, you need to do your research and make sure it's right for you.