Starting a business

Registering your business

When you start a business, you’ll need to register for Tax and probably VAT, and you may have to arrange insurance and licences.

You’ll need to decide which legal structure (link opens in new window) is right for your business, and register your business in the UK as either a:

  • sole trader
  • limited company
  • business partnership

You’ll then need to register for tax (link opens in new window) before you start trading

Employing people

If you take on employees. Find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer, including things like pay, tax and insurance, before you start employing staff (link opens in new window).

You’ll need to register as an employer (link opens in new window) with HMRC if you want to employ people, even if you’re a sole trader.


Even if you’re not employing people, you’ll need to get insurance for your business. (link opens in new window)

Find an authorised insurer (link opens in new window) on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.

Licences and permits

Depending on the type of activities your business is involved in, you might need to get certain licences and permits.

Use the licence finder (link opens in new window) tool to find out which licences and permits you need to get.

See the GOV.UK website for a guide on how to set up a business in the UK (link opens in new window).