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Midford Accountants are based in Central London.

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UK Representative Office

For many overseas entrepreneurs, establishing a UK representative office can be an effective foray into the UK and European marketplace. Opening a representative office in the UK can be a cost effective way for foreign business entities to maintain a physical presence in the UK without having to incorporate a new company right away.

Registering a foreign company's representative office in the UK has several benefits in the form of tax breaks. The government allows representative offices to carry out their designated functions without charging any tax as long as the representative office does not carry on a trade, and if this happens the onus is on the company to inform HMRC of these changes. It should be pointed out that only businesses that have been legally incorporated in a foreign country may open a UK representative office, unincorporated bodies like sole traders or partnerships cannot register as such.

A representative office can be defined as the part of a company set up to conduct activities that are supportive or incidental to the company's core business operations. This typically includes marketing and other non-transactional operations. Midford Accountants can help you with establishing a UK representative office for your company. Our agents are on hand to advise you how to best navigate business and commercial law in the UK, and our London based accountants are there to deal with local and corporate tax issues on your behalf (where applicable).

Overseas companies that want to open a representative office in the UK are required to register company information with Companies House in the UK. The registration information will include things like details of the company constitution, information on directors, business addresses, permanent representatives details and so on. The purpose of this is to provide a degree of protection for any third parties who may have dealings with the UK representatives of overseas companies.

Current legislation dealing with the establishment of UK branches and representative offices for companies incorporated in other countries is somewhat complex. The Department of Trade and Industry is reviewing a new framework for rehashing company law to make it less complicated and more cost effective process for foreign companies to establish a foothold in the UK. Under current legislation there are multiple ways of establishing UK representative offices for foreign companies, as laid out in the 11th Company Law Directive.

Contact us at Midford Accountants for clear and concise steps on how you can start your overseas company's representative office in the United Kingdom. Our agents have the experience needed to get your UK representative office off the ground; we can also help complete all the necessary documentation required to register with the Companies House and even help you establish a physical office location in the UK.

Typical scenarios - An overseas entity wanting to carry out market research for their products or services, and they wish to employ a member of staff in the UK to carry out such activities. At this stage, the company is NOT trading in the UK.

The solution – we register your UK representative office of your overseas company, and then register your company for PAYE (Payroll). At the end of the month we send you monthly reports of the payroll of how much wages, tax and national insurance contributions to pay, and wage slips. We can also go further and manage the entire payroll on your behalf i.e. pay your employee, pay the UK tax authority (HMRC) taxes and national insurance contributions.

Now, you have completed your market research and have decided to do business in the UK or within the EU – how do I go about this?

The solution – we will give you the different options of whether you wish to continue with your existing UK establishment or register a subsidiary of your parent company in the UK or run an entirely independent UK company. We will discuss all the benefits, requirements and statutory obligations of each, and therefore help you make the right decision. We appreciate that each entity is different, and therefore tailor our services to suit your requirements.

If you wish to discuss these further, please send us an email to, and we will respond within 24 hours (excluding weekends and bank holidays)