What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help.

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 yourself.

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 also have accounting responsibilities. Find out more about being in a partnership and how to register.

Rules for your type of business

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

Check if you need:

There are also rules you must follow if you:

Where you work

Check what your responsibilities are if you:

If you rent or buy a property, you may have to pay business rates. Small businesses can apply for a discount on business rates and some may pay nothing.

Check if you can claim office, property and equipment as expenses.

Taking on people to help

If you take on agency workers or freelancers you have some responsibilities, for example their health and safety.

Becoming an employer

There are things you’ll need to do if you take on your own employees. You’ll have more responsibilities, including:

Get help and support

You can get help with setting up your business.