Business registration in London


There are several benefits to registering a business in London, from tax breaks to global recognition. London is renowned for its favorable taxation schemes for external investors, with relatively low corporate tax burdens and an extensive network of bilateral tax agreements. This provides excellent favorable conditions for establishing a company in this area, enabling companies to reduce their tax burden and improve their performance globally.

In addition, London affords access to one of the premier and busiest labor markets on a global scale, engaging top-tier talent worldwide. This offers the occasion to captivate the most excellent professionals from different industries, which not only improves their competitiveness, but also promotes innovation and expansion into new markets.

Setting up a business in London bolsters the company's standing and global recognition. Functioning as a core hub for various prestigious brands and significant international corporations, having your business here automatically enhances its reputation among partners, clients, and stakeholders, fostering trust and enduring connections on the international platform.

Key factors in company registration

Choosing the appropriate legal structure for a business endeavor

When deciding which legal structure to use to establish a business in London, entrepreneurs have a number of popular options to choose from, each with unique benefits and characteristics.

Legal form


Min. authorized capital


Private limited company

Liability of shareholders is capped at their investment

Financial statement disclosure to the public is not necessary.



Public company with the ability to trade shares on public markets

High requirements for information disclosure

Can attract funds from the public



The liability of partners is limited to their contribution

Flexibility in management, similar to a regular partnership

Minimum two partners required

No requirements

Sole Trader

Individual entrepreneur

Full personal liability for business debts

Minimal paperwork requirements and ease of management

No requirements

Foreign investors find that registering in London as a Private Limited Company (Ltd) is one of the best options since it strikes a mix between management freedom and personal property protection. Small and medium-sized businesses looking to operate in the UK and abroad can use this form.

A public limited company (PLC) is a type of business that is best suited for larger enterprises that can comply with stringent regulatory and transparency requirements. PLCs raise money through public financial markets, providing prospects for development.

For professional services, where two or more partners want to minimize personal liability while maintaining managerial flexibility, the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) option is recommended.

Selecting the Sole Trader or individual entrepreneur model is typically best suited for people looking to launch their firm with little capital and minimal risk. This model allows you total control over transactions and expediency in decision-making.

Registration process

Depending on the kind of organization you intend to establish and the sector in which you intend to engage, your London headquarters will vary in complexity.

Choosing a distinctive name for the business
It is important to select a name that is distinct from the ones that already exist and does not contain any forbidden terms. On the website of the Companies House Registration Chamber, you may verify whether the name is available.
Legal address registration for a business
It will confirm your actual location in that jurisdiction and will be used for postal communications with the official authorities of the country.
Appointment of management and secretary
Comprehensive data on the leaders in charge of the organization and secretaries, including their personal details and addresses, is required.
Preparation of basic documents
Basic starting documents that set down the guidelines for the company's operations, such the Memorandum and the Company's Statute, are necessary for registration.
Formal registration with Companies House
Documents can be sent by mail or completed online on the official website. While mail-in registration might take up to 8–10 days, online registration often takes up to one day.

Upon registering in London, the firm must comply with tax laws by registering with UK Revenue and Customs (HMRC) during the initial three months of operation.

Document requirements for London business registration

A basic set of papers is necessary for the establishment of a business in London; these documents support the company's main operation inside the jurisdiction's borders.

Memorandum of Association
  • Company name: you must provide the company's official complete name, which is distinct and adheres to naming rules.
  • Registered address: for formal correspondence, London is the most chosen address.
  • Business purpose: defines the central operations of the business in England, stipulating the legal boundaries of its endeavors.
  • Founders' obligations: in this clause, the initiators vow to conform to UK legal frameworks and shoulder the associated legal obligations for the management of the company.
Articles of Association
  • Governance mechanisms: procedures for selecting and firing managers, as well as the allocation of rights and duties between shareholders and management.
  • Meeting organization: guidelines for shareholder meetings, such as how often they should be held and how notifications and decisions should be made.
  • Profit distribution: conditions and procedure for paying dividends to shareholders.
  • Share transfer regulations: they include guidelines for share transfers as well as any applicable terms and limitations.

These agreements guarantee the rights and obligations of the company's members, provide the legal and management framework of the business, and specify the protocols for its key functions. To prevent future legal conflicts and to guarantee efficient and lawful business operations, great attention must be taken in the preparation and filing of this paperwork for business registration in London.

Basic principles for calculating corporate taxes in England

Value added tax (VAT)

Assuming a 20% rate, VAT is a crucial component of the tax structure. To lessen the financial burden on customers of specific goods and services, lower rates have been implemented. Particularly, the 5% charge is applicable to children's car seats and energy sources used at home. When creating a company in the UK, keep in mind that if your yearly revenue is above £85,000, you must register as a VAT payer.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

In the UK, the CGT is used to tax capital gains that taxpayers receive from the sale of certain assets.

Different CGT rates are applied taking into account the asset composition and the taxpayer's personal situation. For instance, income from the sale of a personal residential property is taxable at a rate of 28%, whereas income from other assets, such as shares or business property, is taxed at 20%.

There are preferential conditions for certain types of legal entities. They provide the opportunity to benefit from the Business Asset Disposal Relief program. It allows you to take advantage of a 10% interest rate on the sale of business assets. A tax deduction of up to £6,000 has also been established, serving as a mechanism to lower the tax base and, thus, lower the asset vendors' total tax burden.

Corporate Tax

The company tax rate is 19% for businesses that are registered in England and have annual revenue under £50,000. This aims to lessen the tax burden on small businesses and startups, which are important to the city's economy and aid in its development.

The tax rate is gradually raised from 19% to 25% for businesses with incomes between £50,000 and £250,000. This creates a tax burden gradation between small and medium-sized businesses, reducing the likelihood of a sudden spike in tax payments with increased earnings.

Due to their increased economic contribution, large firms and multinationals registered in the UK with revenues over £250,000 are liable to a maximum corporate tax rate of 25%.

By establishing various rates for various industries, the state has shown that it is committed to fair taxation. For instance, the special rate is 20% for trusts and investment businesses and 30% for the oil and gas industry.

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How to open a bank account for business in London?

Stages of opening an account

Establishing a bank account and launching a business in London are significant decisions that need considerable thought and familiarity with the workings of the British financial system.

Bank selection

Due to their long history of saving, British banks are renowned for their dependability. Selecting a bank that caters to your business's interests and is devoted to serving overseas clients is crucial. One financial institution with a reputation for being welcoming to immigrants is Lloyds Bank.

  1. Documentation
  • Certificate of Incorporation;
  • Articles of Association and Memorandum;
  • Confirmation of the identity of the company's managers and shareholders.

In addition, individual banks may require a business development plan or financial forecast.

Filing an application

The first steps in opening a corporate account with one of the London banks include completing an online application, mailing paperwork, or visiting the bank's branch. When evaluating the application, a credit history investigation and other verification processes are performed in addition to an examination of the manager's identification and the company's operations.

Evaluation and approval of information

Clarification is frequently sought when the bank evaluates the application and goes through all the required steps to assess the data that was given. Upon passing these verification stages, the bank will formally notify the authorization to use the account.

Legal aspects of doing business in London

Laws and regulation

Establishing a legal entity in London requires abiding by regional ordinances and directives, encompassing the obligations and powers of the Principal Enforcer. The main legislation governing business functionality in this jurisdiction is the Companies Act 2006. This Act lays out the guidelines for creating the annual report for the firm, the information that must be included in the director and strategic reports, and the procedures and choices for managing and submitting reports.

For digital enterprises, the UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679) regulates the processing of personal data. It is also important to take into account consumer protection and cybersecurity laws. The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (last updated: 2 April 2024) offers substantial new enforcement powers for the Office of Competition & Markets.

Key regulators to look out for in London include the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO), which regulates personal data and UK GDPR, the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Authority of Ofcom, and the Financial Supervision Office (FCA) and/or the Prudential Regulation Office (PRA), especially for digital operating in the area of regulated financial services.

For payment service providers, The Payment Services Regulations 2017 and The Electronic Money Regulations 2011, which set the requirements for licensing and registering payment services providers with FCA, are important. In addition to them, anti-money-laundering rules may apply.

Maintaining adherence to the rules helps to foster confidence among clients and business associates by ensuring the validity of your company. Thus, from the outset of the business in London, it is important to concentrate on the execution of all necessary processes and adherence to relevant laws.

Safeguarding proprietary rights in the United Kingdom

The primary categories of intellectual property protection are as follows; the kind chosen will rely on the kind of product or service developed.

To safeguard product names, logos, and jingles in England, you need to register a trademark, taking about 4 months. Protecting the product's appearance, including shape, packaging, and patterns, can be done by registering a design, which takes approximately 3 weeks. In the United Kingdom, works of literature and art, images, videos, audio, and unregistered online material are all protected by copyright. Obtaining a patent for an innovation, such as a machine or medication, often takes five years.

The UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) oversees patents, designs, trademarks, and copyrights. It encourages innovation and fair competition by managing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs).

When doing business in London, register your IP and keep it confidential until the registration is over. For idea sharing, utilize a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Protection involves registering different aspects of your product, like its name and logo as a trademark, its unique shape as a design, and patenting any new components.

It is important to note that the IPO has a small branch in London that links with the city's extensive professional community and the central government. This provides easy access to resources and advice for companies based in London.

Practical aspects

Protocol for acquiring a visa for England

Innovator Founder

This type of visa is meant for those who wish to start and grow a novel business in the UK that sets itself apart from competitors' offerings. The endorsement body's approval is a crucial prerequisite. Candidates need to show that their company concept is fresh, original, workable, and has room to expand. Along with meeting the English language proficiency standards, you also need to have enough money for personal upkeep in the UK. This visa has a three-year expiration date and may be extended.

The procedure for purchasing real estate for business in London

Starting a company in London and purchasing property for business purposes involves more than just following the law; it also requires understanding the basics of the local real estate market. The process of buying property in London can vary depending on the type and intended use of the property. It's important to note that in the UK, there are specific regulations, especially when dealing with historical sites. Preservation laws strictly govern historical buildings, so any alterations to such sites may need special approval. While investing in a historic property can be lucrative, it's essential to consider potential restrictions and extra expenses for maintaining the property to meet government standards.

Foreign investors can purchase real estate in London and may secure mortgage loans. However, mortgage conditions can differ, and having residency can streamline the process. Banks might ask foreign borrowers to have at least 15% of the property's value as their own funds. Mortgage rates and terms vary based on factors like the borrower's credit history and income stability.

It is important to note that ownership of a property in London does not automatically guarantee the acquisition of a right of residence or a residence permit in the UK. There are other programs that require investment in the country’s economy, education or employment with a British employer to obtain resident status.


Launching a company in London offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to get into one of the biggest marketplaces in the world and gives them the possibility to operate in cutting-edge, competitive settings. In order to successfully establish a company in England, it is crucial to understand all the subtleties of the local legal and regulatory framework in addition to strategic planning.

A further advantage for foreign investors is that obtaining an entrepreneur and investor visa allows one to establish a firm and remain in the nation lawfully. However, the acquisition of commercial real estate involves certain requirements and restrictions, especially related to buildings of historical value and the conditions for the provision of borrowed funds.

In addition to capital expenditures, conducting business in the UK capital will need a thorough grasp of the local business environment, regulatory knowledge, and market trends. London can provide unique prospects for your company's growth and advancement with a professional approach and sufficient training.

Our experts are ready to provide you with all the necessary information and comprehensive support at all stages of registration of a firm in London. Contact us by choosing the most convenient means of communication in the "Contacts" section.

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