United Kingdom

Company Formation and Doing Business In United Kingdom

Introduction

The United Kingdom (“UK”) comprises England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and is one of the member states of the European Union. It has an area of some 244,100 square kilometres (94,250 sq. miles) with an estimated population in excess of 63 million. London is one of the world’s leading centres for banking, insurance and other financial services; lying between New York and Tokyo it is the third leg of the world’s capital markets. Not the least of its attractions is that it is a politically stable English speaking country.

The UK is strategically located off the Northwest coast of Continental Europe and has excellent communications; it has three major international airports in Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester with extensive worldwide connections. The UK is physically joined to mainland Europe by the Channel rail tunnel link which boasts frequent train services for passengers and cars to Paris and Brussels.

The UK has signed double taxation treaties with 100 countries and thus enjoys the most extensive double taxation treaty network in the world.

The UK Company

UK Company is incorporated in England or Wales and registered in Cardiff, Wales.

The UK Company has the following characteristics:

Taxation

The corporation tax rates are already amongst the lowest in the European Union and the small companies’ rate is currently levied at 20% on a UK company which has net profits up to £300,000 with a tax rate of 23% levied on profits above £1,500,000. A Marginal rate of 23.75% applies to taxable profits falling within the £300,000 and £1,500,000 band. Reference is made when calculating these rate bands to any associated companies (broadly companies under common control).

Generally speaking, a UK company is taxable on its worldwide income at the rates indicated above but various possibilities exist to create low tax or no tax UK entities which can be used to great advantage.

Shareholders

A UK company must have a minimum of one shareholder who may be a corporate body or an individual. Details of the shareholders appears on public record but anonymity may be retained by the use of corporate nominee shareholders or holding companies.

Directors

A UK company must have at least one director. A sole director cannot also be the secretary. The Director can be an individual or a company provided that if a corporation has been appointed as a director, a second director must also be appointed and this director must be a natural person. If there is more than one director, one of them can also be the secretary but, as UK company law is complex, it is strongly recommended that a professional secretary with relevant experience is appointed. Details of the directors appear on the public file but anonymity can be retained by the use of third party professionals.

Timescale

Generally a UK company must appoint an auditor and audited accounts must be lodged with the authorities within 9 months of the financial year end. However smaller companies having a turnover of not more than £6,500,000 and a balance sheet total of not more than £3,260,000 need only produce an abbreviated set of accounts without the need to be audited. An annual return giving details of directors and shareholders is required for all companies.

Timescale

Incorporation of a new company may now only take a few days and ready-made companies are also available for immediate use.

Restrictions on Name and Activity

The Registrar has the power to refuse registration of any name which he considers undesirable or too similar to an existing company. A name will not be allowed if it is misleading – for example, if it suggests that a company with small resources is trading on a great scale or over a wide field. Names cannot ordinarily be allowed if they suggest connection with the Crown or Government Departments.

Local Requirements

As a matter of local company law the company must maintain a registered office address within the UK and would usually also appoint a company secretary who, for practical reasons, should be resident in the UK, We would normally provide these services as part of our domiciliary service fee.

Secrecy

There are no specific laws relating to the unauthorised disclosure of information on a UK company, its directors or owners but UK law recognises the common law duty that professionals have towards their clients to keep their affairs confidential.

UK Company Formation For Overseas Residents

UK company formation For Overseas Residents is ideal for non-UK residents looking to form a UK company, including maintenance services and a prestigious London address with international mail forwarding.

Disclaimer
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the details contained herein are correct and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal or other professional advice. IQTESADI does not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any errors or omission.

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