Frequently asked questions
There are a variety of legal structures available for your business, ranging from sole trader to partnership, limited company or PLC. The question as to what is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the type of business, tax planning issues, and how the owners of and workers in the business are to be remunerated.
You will need to register for VAT if you expect your turnover to exceed £70,000 during the next month or once your turnover exceeds £70,000 in a 12-month period. You may also want to register for VAT even though your sales do not exceed the threshold. For example, if a significant part of your sales are "zero-rated" or "reduced rate" for VAT purposes, then if you register for VAT you may be able to claim a refund of some or all of the VAT you pay on inputs.
If your business has employees, it is required to have employer liability insurance. In addition, many businesses also carry public liability insurance -- since most businesses, one way or another, interact with the public. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need motor insurance, product liability insurance and/or special types of risk cover such as professional indemnity insurance or performance bonds.
Employers must use the PAYE ('pay as you earn') system to deduct taxes from their employees' earnings and remit them to HMRC. Nearly all businesses are required to make such deductions. You are also required to pay a separate employer's National Insurance contribution. The amounts that you are required to deduct depend on each individual employee's tax coding. Many businesses choose to out-source their payroll accounting, but some do their own. For people who run small businesses and want to handle their own payroll, HMRC offers free assistance.
Yes, all businesses need to prioritise health and safety. If your business is labour-intensive, and especially if it involves physical labour and/or transportation services, it will likely present a range of health and safety issues and may be subject to inspections to ensure regulatory compliance. You will need to determine how you will ensure compliance, and how much it will cost the business to do so.
Although most people try to avoid lawsuits and prefer not to breach contracts, there are times when people find it necessary to take a contract dispute to court. This article provides a basic overview of the law relating to breaches of contract and the remedies for breach of contract.
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Conservationists demand tougher laws for puffins
Conservationists have demanded greater legal protection for puffins on the Channel Island of Alderney, saying that local dog walkers are threatening the species, reports the BBC. The Alderney Wildlife Trust would like tougher laws to be introduced to protect the...
'Out of court' settlement draws union criticism
An out-of-court settlement made between a rail company and a wealthy fare-dodger has drawn criticism from a union which claims it is one rule for the rich and another for everyone else, reports the BBC. The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association...
Justice Secretary launches fight against foreign use of legal aid
The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has criticised the use of legal-aid budgets by foreigners, saying the taxpayers' money should not be used to fund cases that are aimed purely to block government decisions, reports the Daily Telegraph. Chris Grayling has...
Evening Standard highlights how gangs use ancient laws to bring weapons into UK
Gangs are using old-fashioned firearms legislation to bring guns onto the streets of London, exposes the London Evening Standard. The newspaper has revealed how criminals are using a legal loophole in order to import guns into Great Britain, and claims...
Home Office reveals that one third of immigration arrests lead to deportation
The Home Office has released figures for 2013 that suggest that of all the arrests made for immigration purposes, around one third led directly to the deportation of the arrested person. The Home Office statistics show that of the 4,535...
Woman tells of 'ruin' after discovering valuable vase in garage
A woman has told the Daily Mail about her two-year legal hell, after she discovered a valuable vase in her garage. The lady sold the vase but became embroiled in a legal battle with her former mother-in-law which has left...
Nigel Farage to take legal advice over EU expenses
The leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is taking legal advice after being accused of misappropriating EU expenses, after a former party aide claimed that £50,000 of EU funding was paid directly into a personal bank account of the...
'War Horse' musicians lose legal fight after sacking
Five musicians sacked from the hit West-End musical 'War Horse' have lost a legal fight to have their sacking suspended whilst a breach of contract case is heard, reports the BBC. The five musicians were released by the producers of...
Anti-semitism: Private school faces questions over 'gas chamber' comment by teacher
A London private school is facing uncomfortable questions in the media after the Daily Mail reported an incident in which a teacher told a Jewish student she would be 'sent to the gas chambers' for jumping the lunch queue. The...
Korea state insurance firm sues tobacco companies
The South Korean state insurance company has initiated legal proceedings in Asia against cigarette manufacturers in a bid to have them pay for smoking-related treatment costs, reports the BBC. The unprecedented legal action pit the South Korean National Health Insurance...
Former deputy speaker says CPS should pay legal bill and criticises anonymity for sexual cases
The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans MP has demanded that the Crown Prosecution Service pay his £130,000 legal bill after being acquitted in a trial over a string of sexual offences, reports the BBC. Mr...
Gay marriage: Chaplain defies rules to marry partner in England
A hospital chaplain has defied Church of England rules to marry his long-term partner this weekend, despite the move being censured by his church, reports the BBC. Same-sex marriage became law in the UK last year, and the first ceremonies...
'Top Gear' venue loses fight over unrestricted flying rights
The owners of Dunsfold Park Aerodrome have lost their legal fight to secure the right to conduct unrestricted flying at the venue, in a blow to the producers of the Top Gear programme that is filmed there, reports the BBC....
Legal challenge to GP exam fails in High Court
The High Court has ruled that the examinations set by the Royal College of General Practitioners is lawful, but rules that it is time for the profession to address the differences in pass rates between white and non-white candidates, reports...
Three-year freeze on asylum seeker benefits to be reviewed
The Home Secretary has been asked to review the amount of money given to asylum seekers as benefits after the High Court ruled that the decision to freeze benefits for three years was based on insufficient evidence, reports The Independent....