Step-by-step guide to starting a business

Tax and legal considerations for new businesses

Guide

Once you have decided to start a new business, you need to make sure that you have all of the legal formalities in place. This includes choosing the right legal structure to suit your particular circumstances and ambitions as well as registering with HM Revenue and Customs.

Should you choose the limited company route you will also need to register with Companies House. See register your limited company.

For further information on the different business structures and legal requirements see:

Intellectual property

Depending on your business idea, you may need to seek specialist advice on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection. This may include:

  • copyright
  • trade marking
  • design registration 
  • patenting 

For further information see protecting intellectual property.

Business taxes

If you run a business, you will have to pay taxes of some kind. The taxes you pay will depend on a number of factors, such as your business' legal status, annual turnover, whether you employ staff and taxable profits.

The main business taxes are Self Assessment (the system used to collect Income Tax), Corporation Tax and VAT. You may also need to think about National Insurance. You also need to consider PAYE (Pay As You Earn) if you employ staff.

For further information see:

Starting and running a business can be challenging - HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provide a wide range of help and support to help you run your business.

Record-keeping

Whatever kind of business you run, you are required by law to keep financial records relating to it. For further information see set up a basic record-keeping system.

Watch this video outlining the benefits of keeping accurate, organised and up to date business records and how this can help you easily file your tax returns.