Doing Business in the United Kingdom

The UK’s position, both geographically and in respect of business culture, puts it at the center of a diverse collection of markets and sectors. Its open market and diversified economy present opportunities for new investors to access a domestic market and to use the location as a gateway to the rest of the world.

Based on the World Bank Doing Business survey, the UK is ranked top in Europe in terms of ease of doing business and fourth in the world. It offers a number of competitive advantages as a hub for investors to conduct their business, which can be summarized as follows:

• The UK is culturally a highly efficient place from which to access world markets. It boasts a central time zone position, being ideally placed between the markets of the East and West, good transport infrastructure, accessibility
of language and familiarity of business culture for many new investors.

• The UK is a flexible and business-minded location, historically recognized as a well-established and reputable jurisdiction in which to conduct business.

• A company can be incorporated in the UK with same day formation.

• It attracts an internationally mobile and highly-skilled workforce.

• The headline tax rate from 1 April 2013 for companies is 23% but reduced to 21% by the government in 2014.

• Foreign businesses coming to the UK should be aware that the accounts of all UK companies are subject to public disclosure through the Registrar of Companies.

• It has one of the largest treaty networks.

• The scope of personal taxation varies according to the length of the individual’s stay in the UK and whether they are domiciled in the UK, allowing foreign nationals to arrange their tax affairs efficiently. With effect from 6 April 2013 a new statutory residence test was introduced, providing certainty to individuals regarding their UK tax residence status. The government is also introducing a number of measures designed to prevent tax avoidance and
make the reporting in the UK more transparent.

• New immigration rules introduced in 2008 mean that procedures for visiting and working in the UK have changed recently and companies should ensure that they are addressing these. Special rules are in existence for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs investing in the UK. The government in the UK is actively addressing opportunities for investors to come to the UK through fiscal reforms. Whilst there is a genuine drive to ensure that the UK has a simple and easy to understand legal environment in which to do business, investors still need to be aware of regulatory aspects relating to their specific sector, where appropriate.