Set up a business in the UK
Last updated: 12 August 2019

Register your business in the UK

You'll need to register your business in the UK.

Sole traders

The easiest way to start a business in the UK is to become a 'sole trader'. This means that only you own the business and you can work alone or employ other people.

You will need to register for 'self-assessment' tax, which means you (or your accountant) calculate your own tax.

To become a sole trader you must:

Find out how to set up business as a sole trader in the UK.

Limited companies

You can set up a private limited company to run your business in the UK. You must appoint people to run the company (called 'directors') and register (or 'incorporate') it with Companies House.

As a director of the company, you are also an employee. This means that personal income and business income are separate when it comes to paying tax.

To set up a limited company you need to:

  • have a name and address for the company
  • register with Companies House
  • have at least 1 director
  • have at least 1 shareholder
  • have articles of association (agreed rules about running the company)
  • set up your company for Corporation Tax

Business partnerships

In a partnership, you and your partner (or partners) personally share responsibility for your business.

With a business partnership you need to:

  • register for self-assessment tax
  • name your business according to certain rules
  • run the business as an individual
  • share profits between partners