A sole trader enjoys no distinct status between themselves as an individual and in their trading capacity. In Scotland partnerships are deemed legally distinct from their individual partners.
So called “LLPs” are, unlike ordinary partnerships, able to restrict liability of individual members/partners for business debts and liabilities. To be valid a limited liability partnership must be set up in accordance with strict formation rules and registered with Companies House.
There is no hard and fast need to incorporate a limited company but as businesses grow it is often felt preferable to incorporate. A Solicitor can advise circumstances where incorporation may be considered.
This is a cover-all phrase used to describe various offices through the UK where the Register of Companies has a presence.
No, a partnership can exist "at will" and without any formal Partnership Agreement being in place. It is, however, almost always better that a partnership should have even a basic Partnership Agreement in place.
A trading name is a name distinct from that of an individual, partnership or other entity carrying out the trading activity.
For a sole trader it is very straightforward provided nobody else is already using the name. For partnerships and limited companies it is more complicated and if a limited company wants to change its registered name there are particular formalities involved.
You should always advise HM Revenue & Customs, your bank and any significant suppliers and contractors.
Some trade organisations provide standard business terms and conditions. Other businesses prefer to have their own “bespoke” terms and conditions. A Solicitor can advise on what may be best for a particular business.
All employees have the right to a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment and which is broadly equivalent to a Contract of Employment. It is generally better both for an employee and employer to have the certainty of something set out in writing.
The rate fixed by the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 is generally reviewed annually. Information is available on the HM Revenue & Customs website www.hmrc.gov.uk.
In the UK generally there is a restriction under legislation to a working week of 48 hours. It is possible in some circumstances for an employer and employee to “contract out” of this restriction. Legal advice should be taken on the paperwork necessary to make such an arrangement watertight.
Redundancy entitlement varies according to an employee’s age and their continuous service at the time of redundancy. The rules are fairly complex and legal advice can be valuable in helping to ensure payments are made accurately.
There has been a considerable increase in the range of maternity and parental support rights available to parents in recent years. There is now scope for parents in some circumstances to exchange entitlement. This is a highly complex area and where employers in particular may wish to seek legal advice when difficulties arise.
The UK’s rules for providing for a compulsory retirement age of 65 have now been abolished. Retirement is now a matter for negotiation and agreement as between employer and employee.
Liquidation is a process which takes place when a company has become insolvent (unable to pay its debts) and cannot trade its way out of difficulty. The prospect of recovering money due in a liquidation situation varies from case to case. Sometimes a creditor will receive back a dividend of so many pence in the pound for what they were due and in other cases, unfortunately, creditors will receive nothing.
The most effective means is to use limited liability partnership structure. In most cases, however, individual partners bear unlimited liability for their business debts.
Must will depend on the nature of the business and whether there is some succession structure already in place. Generally the longer one prepares for succession the more likely a successful outcome can be received.
This may not be necessary for a fairly low level of trading. If, however, a significant level of trade will take place then a change of use consent may be required. Certain types of trading activity are absolutely prohibited from residential property.
This is the tax levied by HM Revenue & Customs on company profits.
Sole traders are taxed according to their personal tax code and on all business profits as and when arising. Partnerships are not taxed separately and generally the partners in a business are liable for UK income tax on any share of profits attributed to them.
A business may require to register for VAT if it generates sales of in excess of £83,000 over a twelve month period. The threshold is reviewed by HMRC from time to time. Businesses trading under this threshold can apply for voluntary registration.
In terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 virtually all activities involving the sale (or indeed supply) of alcohol now require to be licensed and with only very limited exceptions.
A range of activities such as food vans, mobile shops and farmers markets may require to obtain a Street Traders’ Licence. Different local authorities have different requirements in this area and it is always worth checking with the relevant local Council before undertaking any activity. There are significant penalties for trading without a permit.