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How to form a company in the UK if you live overseas

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  4. How to form a company in the UK if you live overseas

The UK is one of the most attractive locations to start a new business. Good communications, a friendly taxation environment and a thriving economy which embraces innovation all contribute to fertile ground. Even better, it’s quick, simple and affordable to open a UK company, even if you are not a UK resident.


How can non-residents form a company in the UK?

Non-residents can form a company in the UK. The application process and legal requirements are the same for everybody. You’ll need to:

  • Pick a name for your company
  • Register your company with Companies House or a formations agent
  • Register your business address
  • Appoint your directors and a company secretary
  • Allocate shareholders and shares
  • Submit your memorandum and articles of association
  • Register for corporation tax


How to form a company in the UK

The UK has worked hard to make itself attractive to new business. The Government ensures that the rules are simple and straightforward for everyone and it provides plenty of information about how to form a company in the UK.

We have an environment which is conducive to entrepreneurialism, as well as a large domestic market and good global connections. True, starting any new venture is a risk, but if you want to open a company in the UK, your chances are better here than anywhere else.


What you need to form a company in the UK

To get started you will need the following:

1. A bank account registered in the UK: Most major banks will offer banking services specifically tailored to overseas businesses.

2. A UK registered office address: You will need an official address for all your official mail and documentation. If you are not able to be based in the UK and receive mail at a UK address, services like registered agent will be a huge help. With this service, you can list a prestigious London address as your company’s office address, while all your communications are forwarded directly to you.

3. A company formation package to register your company: When it comes to incorporating your company in the UK, there are options to suit every business and budget. Have a look at this price comparison page to find out more.

4. An available company name: To form your company, you will need a name to register with Companies House UK. This must be a unique name which is available in the UK, and not already taken by someone else.


Cracking the market

As well as knowing how to open a UK company, it pays to understand a little about the market. The UK has one of the largest economies in the world, and there is plenty of activity across many sectors. This is particularly in areas such as technology, finance, food and catering, agritech, renewable energy and much more. All these sectors are bursting with demand and are enthusiastic for innovation. An area such as technology also benefits from an environment of innovation in which companies compete and collaborate to bring new solutions to market.

Before you launch, see what’s available in your chosen sector, and what demand is like. If possible, do a little market research to find out whether there truly is enthusiasm for your type of product or service. If there are competitors, think about what they do and how you can do it better or differently.


UK company tax

One of the first issues companies think about is tax. With a 20% corporation tax rate, the UK already offers the lowest of any G20 country, but plans exist to bring it down further to just 17%. Companies can also claim a corporation tax rate of just 10% from patented inventions and certain innovations. VAT stands at 20%, but you might also benefit from tax credits for research and development.

All in all, the UK is an excellent destination. A healthy market, a large workforce and an entrepreneurial business environment. It’s no wonder that more overseas businesses choose to locate in the UK than anywhere else in Europe.

To find out more about how to form a company in the UK, head to our help centre. Use our application form for a hassle-free company formation or search for available company names in the UK.

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