If you’re a non-UK resident, you might be wondering if it’s possible to set up a limited company in the UK. Setting up a limited company is a relatively straightforward process that requires filling out some forms and submitting them to Companies House. But do the rules and laws change if the person in question is a non-UK resident? Can you set up a UK company if you’re not living in the UK? Read on to find the answers to these questions, as well as some guidance to setting up a limited company.
Registering a UK Limited Company as a Non-UK Resident
So, are there any barriers or changes to the way you form a company in the UK if you are a foreign national? The answer is no.
The company registration process for non-UK residents is the same as for UK residents living in the UK. Foreign nationals can become the company director, shareholder, or company secretary of a UK business, and you do not even have to live in the UK.
Like UK residents, however, your company will need to be registered with Companies House and have a UK address that corresponds to where the company is based. So companies from England need an English address, and Welsh companies an address in Wales etc.
Your business needs to be incorporated into one of the UK jurisdictions but can be based anywhere and can trade throughout parts of the UK and overseas.
Registering a UK Address
A crucial component of setting up a limited company in the UK is that you require a physical UK address in the same country where your company is registered. This address will appear on the public register, and all post from Companies House and HMRC will be sent to your chosen registered address. However, you do not need to have a physical presence in the UK, such as an office or branch, as long as you can provide a physical UK address.
If you do not live in the UK, you can use a PO box as your nominated registered address, or you could use a third-party service or your accountant’s office address for this purpose. If you do live in the UK, this may still be preferable to using your home address if you do not have a physical office location, as this address will be on the public record.
Registering with Companies House
To register your company, you will need a unique company name that is compliant with rules and regulations – see our guide for help choosing a name or check if your chosen name is available with our company search tool. You will need a director and a shareholder, but this can be the same person. For your submission, you will need Memorandum of Association documents that include all the details of the directors and people with control over the company.
You can then register your company with Companies House for £12 to submit your registration online. For a more effortless and straightforward way to register your company, you can use a formation agent to do it for you. A formation agency like Company Registrations Online will ensure that your limited company is set up in no time at all in complete compliance of all the laws and regulations, handling all of the paperwork and admin for you.
Do Non-UK Residents Need a UK Bank Account?
It is not a requirement for you to have a UK bank account to trade in the UK. However, a UK business or personal bank account can help ensure that transactions are processed more smoothly without additional fees.
You do not need to live permanently in the UK to open a UK bank account, but you will need UK residency rights and UK home address (it is unlikely you will be able to use your registered UK office address for this). However, some UK banks offer international bank account services.
Is Tax Charged on Company Income Paid to Non-Residents?
If you want to take advantage of the personal allowance of tax-free income, you must be a UK citizen. If not, full tax is required of any income earned by non-UK residents, and you may be liable to pay further income tax in your resident country unless it is covered by the double-taxation agreement, such as the US, Canada, and Australia.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand how you can set up a limited company in the UK. If you need help and guidance with any of the process, do not hesitate to contact CRO today. We have a range of products and company formation services designed to help people start their business. We offer comprehensive company registration packages as well as company secretarial services, so get in touch if you’d like to learn more.