Rules for setting up a Business

There are rules you must follow when setting up a business. You can also get help and support

Register your business

Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or 'ordinary' partnership.

Sole traders

It's simpler to set up as a sole trader, but you're personally responsible for your business's debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities.

Find out more about being a sole trader and how to register

Limited companies

If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities

Some people get help from a professional, for example an accountant, but you can set up a company

'Ordinary' partnerships

An 'ordinary' partnership is the simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together.

You share responsibility for your business's debts. You each have accounting responsibilities too.

You must register for VAT if you expect your takings to be more than £83,000 a year. You can usually still register if your takings are less than this.

Rules for your type of business

You may have other responsibilities depending on what your business does.

Check if you need:

• licences or permits, using the licence finder
• insurance

There are also rules you must follow if you: sell goods online/  buy or sell goods abroad