In comparison to other countries, the basic legal obligations for businesses that are operating in the United Kingdom are not that numerous. Yes, there are a few of them, but they should be fairly easy to understand for most people. On this page, we are going to take a little look at some of the most basic legal obligations in the United Kingdom. This list was, of course, correct at the time of writing. It is, however, worth bearing in mind that legal requirements do change on a fairly regular basis.
Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
A trademark will, essentially, be what helps to differentiate your product from another one. With a trademark in place, you will be able to stop anybody who uses a similar name from using it. However, it is not easy to gain a trademark. You certainly should not expect to be able to gain one during the earliest stages of your business. Copyrights and patents are the same, although they provide protection for different things. Copyright is actually gained automatically. You will need to apply for the other two however.
Trading laws, at the moment, are going through a period of change in the United Kingdom. It is, therefore, important that you keep up to date with the most important ones. At the moment this is the ‘Sale of Goods Act’ and the ‘Trade Descriptions Act’. You will need to follow other laws if you are looking to sell online. Remember, trading laws are not only there to protect your customers, but they are also there to protect you too.
In some cases, you may need to apply for certain types of insurance. For example, if you have employees then you will need to apply for employers’ liability insurance. If you have vehicles, you will need motor insurance. You may also need additional types of insurance. This will, however, be dependent on the business that you are running. You will need to talk to your solicitor for further information.
If you are making a profit, you are going to need to pay tax. If you do not pay the tax that you owe, and HMRC will find out if that is the case, you will need to pay rather hefty fines. It is, therefore, absolutely vital that you keep accurate records which detail how much tax you have to pay.
If you are registered for VAT, and you should be if your company is making more than £70,000 a year, then you will also need to pay VAT each year too. However, you may also receive some back.
It is probably not going to be worth the hassle of dealing with your tax liabilities on your own. Instead, you should talk to an accountant who will be more than happy to deal with that side for you. Yes, it will cost you money. However, it is going to be an expense which is more than worth making.