UK company registration

UK company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN THE UK

An English limited company is an ideal, flexible corporate vehicle through which European and international business can be conducted in the UK.

SummaryTax resident LLCTax resident PLCPrivate company limited by guaranteeLLPRepresentative officeBranch company
Best use of company?General trading companyUK stock exchange listingNonprofit businessSpecialized servicesMarketing and researchBank branches
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoNoNoYesNoNo
Corporate bank account location?HSBC LondonStandard Chartered BankBarclays PLCRBS GroupSantander bankHSBC London
Client must travel to Europe?NoNoNoNoNoNo
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesYesNoYes
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesYesNoNo
VAT payable on sales to local customersYesYesYesYesNoYes
Withholding tax on payments to shareholders?0%0%0%0%N/A0%
Average total engagement costs?£5,790£8,890£5,790£5,990£5,790£6,720
Average total engagement period?10 weeks12 weeks10 weeks10 weeks10 weeks11 weeks
Accounting and tax considerationsTax resident LLCTax resident PLCPrivate company limited by guaranteeLLPRepresentative officeBranch company
Statutory corporation tax payable?20%20%20%0%0%20%
Must file an annual UK tax return?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Must file annual financial statements?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Access to double taxation treaties?YesNoYesNoNoNo
This entity enjoys Government incentives?YesYesYesNoNoYes
VAT reporting to the Government every quarter?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Legally tax exempt entity?NoNoNoYesNoNo
Dividends received are legally tax exempt?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Company registrationTax resident LLCTax resident PLCPrivate company limited by guaranteeLLPRepresentative officeBranch company
Resident director required?NoNoNoNoYesYes
Minimum number of shareholders\partners?1212Parent companyParent company
Minimum number of directors/managers?121211
Minimum paid up share capital?£1£50,000£1£2NoneNone
Shelf companies available?YesYesNoNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?1 week2 weeks1 week1 week1 week2 weeks
Can easily convert to a local PLC company?YesYesNoNoNoNo
Can have preference shareholders?YesYesNoNoNoNo
Business considerationsTax resident LLCTax resident PLCPrivate company limited by guaranteeLLPRepresentative officeBranch company
Can invoice local customers?YesYesYesYesNoYes
Can hire local staff?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Can rent local office space?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Secures a residence visa for business owner?YesYesNoNoYesNo
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesNoNoNo
Other useful informationTax resident LLCTax resident PLCPrivate company limited by guaranteeLLPRepresentative officeBranch company

UK has signed free trade agreements?Yes, see this page
This country is a member of WIPO and TRIPS?Yes
The country is a member of the ICSID?Yes
Average customs duties suffered?0%
Government foreign investment approval is required?No
Average monthly office rental? (€ per sq m)€37
Minimum statutory annual salary?£1,378
Average monthly US$ salary for local employees?US$2,360
UK £ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)0.7%
Overseas remittance currency controls?None
Public register of shareholders and directors?Yes
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Excellent
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes


Press the link headings below to read detailed, relevant, up to date information.

  • Benefits and problems

    Benefits of UK company registration

      Guides to register new company in UK
    1. UK company formation has an excellent reputation worldwide, with English law forming the basis for company law in many countries worldwide. Incorporating in the UK couples legal flexibility with clear governance rules in one of the world’s largest and most reputable trading economies;
    2. Another reason to register a company in the UK is that over 100 countries have double taxation treaties with the UK, including the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, Singapore, and Canada. These treaties provide several advantages to support businesses with UK headquarters, particularly the reduction of withholding tax on dividends;
    3. UK companies are simple to manage, as only i) one director and ii) one shareholder are required to form a private company;
    4. Foreign entrepreneurs wishing to register a UK company can easily handle the administration remotely, as Companies House allows many filings to be made online;
    5. The corporate tax rate is 20%, which is one of the lowest rates in Europe after Ireland and Bulgaria. For companies that receive profits from ring fence activities (oil extraction activities in the UK/UK Continental Shelf) the rates of corporation tax are 19% and 30%, respectively;
    6. Dividends paid to UK companies are generally tax exempt, and the UK levies no withholding tax on dividends paid to foreign residents;
    7. Capital gains for companies selling subsidiaries (with at least a 10% holding) are tax exempt if the subsidiary was owned for at least 1 year;
    8. Being part of the EU, the UK enjoys low barriers to trade with 27 other European states and a single cross-border VAT administration known as VIES;
    9. The UK’s EU membership gives local financial firms access to European markets without additional regulatory burdens thanks to directives including MiFID and AIFMD;
    10. In the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, the UK ranks highly as having the world’s 13th freest economy, and scores 90% for investment freedom and capital flows;
    11. The United Kingdom is perceived as the 14th least corrupt country in the world, according to the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International;
    12. The United Kingdom is ranked 9th by the World Economic Forum in their Global Competitiveness Report 2014 – 2015, one of the world’s most comprehensive and well-respected assessments of countries’ competitiveness. The report offers invaluable insights into the policies, institutions, and factors driving productivity that benefit entrepreneurs interested in UK company registration;
    13. A foreign company can open a London corporate bank account and not be subject to UK tax if i) it has no sales in the UK ii) no office in the UK and iii) its beneficial owners reside outside UK. However, using this structure will mean that the company is tax resident elsewhere, where additional liabilities will arise. This structure also removes access to the UK’s network of tax treaties.

    Problems of UK company registration

    1. UK companies may only appoint individuals as directors from October 2015. This change is being implemented by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act, which amends the Companies Act 2006 to remove the ability to appoint corporate directors. Previously, corporate directors were permitted as long as there was at least one individual director on the board. All existing corporate directors must be removed from boards of UK companies by October 2016;
    2. Companies registered in the UK are required to keep a list of “people with significant control” (PSCs), which effectively makes beneficial ownership information public. The threshold for being considered a PSC is 25% beneficial ownership, and the obligation to maintain this register of PSCs starts in January 2016 (to be filed with Companies House by April 2016);
    3. Annual accounts must be prepared and submitted to the Inland Revenue and Companies House. The accounts submitted to Companies House are available for public inspection. However, for dormant companies and “small companies” as defined in the Companies Act only need to submit abbreviated accounts. This means that only the company’s balance sheet and notes are made public, rather than the company’s income or cash flow statements;
    4. There is a public register of directors and shareholders;
    5. Value added tax (VAT) is charged on the value of supplies of taxable goods and services made in the UK, including some exports to European Union (EU) countries. It is also chargeable on imports of goods from outside the EU. The main rates are 0% and 20%, but a few supplies are charged at 5%;
    6. The UK is a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). OECD members strive to implement internationally transparent policies for the exchange of information related to income and taxation in an effort to stamp out tax evasion practices. More information can be found on the UK section of the OECD website.
  • Best uses for a UK company

    1. Due to the positive image of UK companies, a UK company is an ideal corporate vehicle to promote to customers, suppliers, investors, venture capitalists, etc.;
    2. Dividends received from an EU resident underlying company will be free of withholding tax under the EU parent/subsidiary directive;
    3. The UK’s developed workforce means that highly-skilled workers are available, and it is easy to do international business in the country since the population is fluent in English.

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in UK, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
client relationship officer - Petar