Chapter 7

Registering a business and other admin tasks

After all the excitement of deciding to start a business, you’ll have some paperwork to do.

Person puts up a sign for their business called Sticks and Thrones.

How to register a business with the government

You have a few official steps to walk through before you’re in business:

  • Set up as a sole trader: You can set yourself up quickly and easily at gov.uk. During the process, you’ll register with HMRC for tax, and for VAT if you’re going to be VAT registered. Check our guide on VAT accounting schemes.
  • Set up as a partnership: You’ll need a name, and a ‘nominated partner’ who is responsible for keeping the business records and reporting taxes. Once you have those, you can get set up with the government. During the process, you’ll register with HMRC for tax, and for VAT if you’re going to be VAT registered. Check our guide on VAT accounting schemes.
  • Set up as a company: Besides naming your company, you’ll need to appoint directors and adopt articles of association – you can get some written or use templates. Once that work is done, it’s relatively simple to get set up with the government. During the process, you’ll register for corporation tax. You may also need to register for VAT.

Do I need to tell any other regulators?

There may be more to do if you’re entering a regulated industry, such as liquor sales. Speak to friends in the industry, or the industry representative body, to find out if there are special requirements for your type of business.

Should I trademark a business name?

You can legally protect a business name and logo to prevent others from mimicking your identity. This can be a valuable step for businesses that plan to invest a lot in making their brand widely known.

This area of the law can get complicated – especially if you expand into overseas markets and find there’s a business there with a similar name. Ask for advice from a legal professional with experience in this area.

At the very least, use trademark registries (and search engines) to check that no one already has your business name. It’s an easy way to save yourself a lot of hassle.

Disclaimer: Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

How to start a business

Thousands of new businesses open every day. If all those people can do it, why not you? Here’s what to do, and when.

Download the guide to starting a business

Learn how to start a business, from ideation to launch. Fill out the form to receive this guide as a PDF.

Start using Xero for free

Access all Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.

  • Included
    Safe and secure
  • Included
    Cancel any time
  • Included
    24/7 online support