Setting up in the UK

A UK Limited Company is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from the individuals who run it. For sole traders and for people in partnerships, the individuals’ personal assets are at risk if there is a claim against the organisation but shareholders in a limited company are liable to lose only the value of the share capital to which they subscribe.

The UK is one of the easiest and most flexible jurisdictions for incorporating a company; we can usually complete the entire incorporation process within a day and there is no requirement to visit the UK.

The single most important advantage of trading via a UK Limited company is the limited liability of the company’s shareholders.

Our standard UK Limited Company incorporation package includes all necessary documents to get your company up and running.

Key Points UK Limited:

  • Time – only 1 day to incorporate your company
  • Directors – only one director of any nationality, is necessary for your limited company
  • Shareholders – only one shareholder is required
  • Share Capital – there are no minimum share capital requirements
  • No obligation requiring UK participation in the management of your company


Public Limited Companies – PLC

There is substantial prestige in having PLC at the end of your company name, and if you require this, we can incorporate a public limited company for you.

With a PLC, there are capital requirements to adhere to and two directors are required. If necessary, we can tailor the company’s main objects to suit specific requirements.

A PLC must have a capital of £50,000 and at least 25% (£12,500) of this minimum value must be fully paid before the Registrar of Companies can issue a certificate for Commencement of Trading. This certificate must be issued before the company commences any business transactions.

A PLC status can be valuable if the company:

  • Is to trade its shares to the public
  • Can undertake any nature of business
  • Can operate anywhere in the world

The primary difference between Public Limited Company (PLC) and a Private Limited Company (Ltd) is the Public Company’s shares may be offered for sale to the general public.

Advantage of a Public Company

  • Offer securities for sale to the public
  • Limited liability for members
  • Own choice of company name
  • A private company can be converted to a PLC
  • Access to capital growth
  • Creating a market for the company’s shares
  • Creating a heightened public profile
  • Incentive and rewards for employee commitment – by the use of shared option schemes
  • Increasing the company’s ability to make acquisitions – its shares can be used as currency
  • Enhanced status with customers and suppliers
  • Any nationality can be a director


  • Company shareholders and directors need not be from the UK
  • There must be 2 directors (no maximum amount)
  • Directors can be corporate bodies or private individuals
  • All companies must appoint a company secretary
  • Share Capital of £50,000 – 25% of which must be paid before any transaction can commence
  • The company must have a registered office in the UK


Direct Taxation of UK companies

UK companies are tax-resident in the UK for Corporation Tax.

If business activity occurs outside the UK, application to be tax resident in another country may be needed, leaving the business exempt from UK Corporation Tax.

There are three easy rules:

  • If no tax is paid in other countries, then the company is a UK tax resident by default
  • If there is a tax treaty between the country of trading and the UK, then the terms of the tax treaty apply
  • If there is no tax treaty, the UK will unilaterally give double tax relief

VAT for UK companies

A UK company is not formed with a UK VAT number, but needs to apply for a UK VAT number if it has substantial activity in the UK. If the company has substantial activity outside the UK but in another European jurisdiction, the company may need to apply for a VAT number in that jurisdiction.

Timelines: In most cases the complete set up process will take 1-2 days for a Limited company, 1-2 weeks for a PLC company, although our service providers are very efficient and we are confident that we could have the filing completed within 1 day for the Limited company and 1 week for the Plc company.

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