Key Compliance Checklists – Setting Up a Business in and Moving to the UK


If you are considering establishing a business in the UK, ensuring the compliance and administrative elements are setup at an early stage is crucial, to allow the business to grow efficiently.

Similarly, when any move of residence to a new jurisdiction takes place, a thorough review of how a family’s wealth is held, needs to be undertaken, in order to avoid any potentially costly errors. This should take place before the move has occurred.

This Article details the main checklists of items that you need to take into consideration. Dixcart in the UK has extensive expertise in assisting individuals and families to set up businesses and to move to the UK and can guide you through the process and actions that you need to take:

  1. Compliance Checklist for a New UK Business
  • Immigration: unless you are looking to only employ workers already with the right to work in the UK, you may need to consider business related visas, such as a sponsor license or sole representative visa.
  • Employment contracts: all employees will need to have an employment contract compliant with UK employment laws.  Many businesses will also need to prepare staff handbooks and other policies.
  • Payroll: UK income tax rules, benefits-in-kind, pension auto-enrolment, employer’s liability insurance, all need to be understood and implemented correctly.  Administering a UK compliant payroll can be complex. 
  • Book-keeping, management reporting, statutory accounting and audits: well- maintained accounting records will help provide information for considered decision-making and financing, and will ensure that you remain compliant with Companies House and HMRC.
  • VAT: registering for VAT and filing, in compliance with requirements, will help ensure there will be no unexpected surprises and, if dealt with promptly, can help with early-stage cash-flow. 
  • Commercial contracts: whether an agreement with a; vendor, supplier, service provider or customer, a well prepared and robust contract will help protect your business and ensure it is well placed for any future exit strategy. 
  • Premises: whilst many businesses are operating more and more online, many will require office or warehousing space.  Whether renting or purchasing space we can assist. We also have a Dixcart Business Centre in the UK, which may be helpful if a serviced office is needed, with professional accounting and legal services being available, in the same building.  

2. Matters to Consider Prior to Moving to the UK

As indicated at the start of this Article, it is important that families evaluate  arrangements, including tax and succession matters, well ahead of any move. A practical list of some of the factors that should be taken into consideration is detailed below.

Practical matters:

  • Travel documents (visas)
  • Formal enrolment in country/jurisdiction of ‘arrival’, including communication with tax authorities, healthcare and schooling.

Taxation matters:

  • Confirm the arrangements that affect heirs and family in other countries.
  • Plan for the optimal timing of loss of tax residence, and any exit charges.
  • Consider any action that needs to be taken to ensure assets are held in the  optimal way, prior to moving. Leaving this until after arrival can result in unexpected and large tax bills that could have been avoided.
  • Plan the timing of disposals and acquisitions, to ensure the best possible tax outcome.
  • Consider establishing new banking arrangements to segregate income and gains.

Succession and inheritance:

  • Confirm which laws govern succession and if a choice of different jurisdiction law is available.
  • Confirm whether marital/family laws are affected and whether a choice of different jurisdiction law is available.
  • Review estate planning documents (wills, succession, and prenuptial documents), and consider the interaction of wills, appropriate for different jurisdictions.
  • Consider the use of trusts for estate planning, not forgetting that the timing of the settlement of trusts could be key to the taxation outcome.

Implications of transferring physical wealth:

  • Family heirlooms, jewellery, works of art, aircraft, cars and yachts: can they be transferred, are import duties applicable?

Gifts and Donations:

  • Confirm whether gifts or donations should be executed, in advance of acquiring the new residency.

Ongoing Matters to be Reviewed at Least Annually

There are a series of important reviews, that should be taken at least annually, to take into account both changes in personal circumstances and the law:

  • Review of estate planning documents. These include wills, succession and prenuptial documents.
  • Review of trusts arrangements, structures, and bank accounts.
  • Review of any changes to tax laws and the implications in relation to existing agreements and structures.

How can Dixcart Help?

Dixcart can assist with:

  • Establishment, management and on-going corporate compliance
  • Pre-arrival and departure tax planning.
  • Advice and assistance with visas for residence in the UK.
  • Accounting, legal and taxation advice.

Additional Information

If you would like to discuss planning, for the potential setting up of a business in the UK or move of location to the UK, please contact Laurence BingePeter Robertson or Paul Webb, at the Dixcart office in the UK:

Back to Listing