Between Brexit and Covid-19 is it a good idea to set up a UK Limited company?

Brexit has been discussed endlessly over the last few years since the UK decided to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016. However, this chapter will come to an end on December 31st 2020 when the transition period is over and we formally exit on January 1st 2021 with or without a deal.

Companies outside of the UK including Europe, India, USA, Australia and Hong Kong with well established companies in those jurisdictions may well be looking at the opportunities that Brexit presents. So, let’s review what makes a UK Ltd company a potentially attractive vehicle to set up.

The legal framework in the UK is very open, transparent and flexible. Business legislation and the Government’s desire to attract inward investment are key to the success of UK businesses.

Forming a UK Ltd company is relatively quick. It takes, on average, 24-48 hours to set up a UK Ltd company after compliance. Culturally, business in the UK is very “can do” compared with our counterparts within the EU. Banking and Fintech is also a catalyst in the development of UK business. The UK economy is the sixth largest economy in the world.

Banking has traditionally been the obstacle to getting companies up and running rapidly however the landscape is changing. Entrepreneurs are now turning to Fintech companies to help out with banking solutions since their high street counterparts are slower to open accounts. As there is no visit involved the account opening can be done through a video interview, phone confirmation of details or automated personal and business searches. However, if you are looking to open a bank account with a high street bank as a non- UK resident then you will most definitely have to visit. Making an appointment with retail banks is almost impossible currently due to Covid-19 – so, it may be worthwhile thinking about the Fintech option (TransferWise and WorldFirst) until banks such as HSBC open their doors for appointments again. High street banks are seen as reliable and a traditional route for banking and provide added services which, in most cases, Fintech solutions cannot provide.

Finally, government attitude towards inward investment is key to successful businesses in the UK. Successive UK Governments have actively sought FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and this particular chapter in the UK’s business lifecycle is no different. Particularly with a Conservative government and its pro-business policies due to Brexit. We may see more invitations to EU and non -EU countries to be a part of the UK business environment through research and development tax incentives, lower VAT rates and corporate tax rates. We wait to see what will happen in the next announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – more telling will be next year’s Budget and whether that will be attractive to foreign countries wishing to set up business in the UK.

UK is still a good proposition to invest in and set up an operation over here despite the adverse operating climate currently.

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