Set Up Business in the UK

UK Expansion Guide

Global Upside helps companies set up, hire, and operate in the UK. Set up a legal entity quickly and easily with our solutions for branch, subsidiary, and rep office. Looking for an alternative to permanent establishment? Hire and pay employees in the UK without a legal entity by using our PEO & employer of record services. Once your business is set up, our teams can support with recruitment and staffing, human resources, employee benefits, payroll, accounting, and tax.

Capital City



Pound Sterling (GBP)




Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

Country Overview

The United Kingdom is made up of Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with the larger entity known as Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland shares a border with the Republic of Ireland, dividing the large island. For centuries, the United Kingdom was a global colonial power and is still a significant economic power on the world stage.

Options for setting up a legal entity in the UK include:

Registered UK Establishment

As an alternative to forming a separate UK private limited business, a registered UK establishment is not a discrete legal entity and represents a local registration of the parent company.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

In a limited liability partnership, it is mandatory to have at least two investors, and the liability is limited. The investors are capable of lawfully operating the business.

Private Limited Company (PLC)

A private limited company is a separate and autonomous legal entity setup. The investors are not obligated to pay the company’s debts. The board of directors is responsible for overall management.

The UK uses either written, verbal, or implicit contracts. However, in many jurisdictions, it is a necessity to have a written agreement.

Following are the statutory national holidays:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day 
  • April 2 – Good Friday 
  • May 3 – Early May Bank Holiday 
  • May 31 – Spring Bank Holiday 
  • December 25 – Christmas Day 
  • December 26 – Boxing Day 
  • December 27 – Substitute Bank Holiday for Christmas Day 
  • December 28 – Substitute Bank Holiday for Boxing Day 

Usually, wages are paid once a month – either on the 25th of the month or on the last banking day.

The accounting standards follow the UK GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practice).

Corporate Tax

The corporate tax rate in the UK is 19%.

Value Added tax (VAT)

The VAT rate in the UK is 20%.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to the United Kingdom as of May 25, 2018.

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law

The Bribery Act was passed in 2010. The consequences of bribery under this act include 10 years in prison, an unlimited monetary fine, confiscation of property (in some cases) under the Proceeds of Crime Act of 2002, and removal of directors under the Companies Directors Disqualification Act of 1986.