If you wish to run a business in the United Kingdom, you are going to need to navigate a myriad of different laws. Now, it would be impossible to list absolutely everything that you must think about on this page. However, I do want to go through some of the highlights. It should go without saying that if you are going to register a company through Companies House (i.e. a Limited Company), then it will need a unique name, although, you will be told that during the process.
Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
This is not something that every business out there is going to need to focus on. If you produce a particular product, you will have copyright over it anyway. Trademarks are going to be there to strengthen your brand image. If you are creating a completely new product, or perhaps way of doing things, then you will need to look into patents. You should talk to a lawyer regarding the registration of both trademarks and patents.
Consumer Protection Laws
There are a variety of different laws that you are going to need to pay attention to when you start a company. The ‘Trade Descriptions Act’ is an absolute must. There are also various consumer regulations coming out on a fairly regular basis (the old Distance Selling Regulations no longer exist and have been replaced with different legislation). It is important that you have, at least, a basic understanding of how the law works. The government in the UK is fairly good at providing information in this regard.
Do you need insurance?
The answer is yes. All businesses should have insurance. However, whether it is a legal requirement will depend on the industry that you operate in and how you do business. For example, if your company operates a fleet of vehicles then you will need motor insurance. If you have employees, not including yourself or direct family members, then you will need employers’ liability insurance. Other industries, particularly if you are going into healthcare or construction, may require even more different types of insurance.
All businesses will need to pay tax, unless you make a loss, of course. It is, therefore, important that you understand what your tax liabilities are in advance. It is also important that you keep accurate records of your business dealings. If your company dealing with second-hand garments in bulk and generates a certain amount of turnover each year then you may also need to register for VAT. Whilst you could, potentially, handle all of your tax liabilities on your own, I seriously do recommend that you call an accountant in who will be able to keep everything in check for you.
Remember, it is important that you learn how to do business legally, particularly if you are a director of a limited company. If things go wrong, you could look forward to pretty hefty fines. You may even find that you will no longer be able to operate a business in the United Kingdom.
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