In the age of the internet and instant connection, the world is quite literally at your fingertips. Opportunities are everywhere and a whole new generation of entrepreneurs are taking full advantage. A popular trend is to import stock from overseas and sell it back home for a tidy profit – and with the low entry barrier of marketplaces like Alibaba, anyone can get started. An experienced business owner, a student, a full-time office worker . . . but, although this business model is often marketed as being for every Tom, Dick and Harry, can you just start at the drop of the hat? Today, we’re going to be answering one of the questions people just venturing on this journey should be asking: do you need to be registered as a business to import into the UK?
Do I need to be registered as a business to import from overseas?
If you’re importing a commercial amount of goods to the UK, intending to resell them on, then you will need to be registered as a business entity. This doesn’t have to be a specific type of business; it can be a sole trader, partnership, limited company etc. – but it does need to be registered so you can at the very least, do a self-assessment return to tell HMRC what you’ve bought/sold. If you’re importing goods for personal use, you do not need to be registered as a business.
Why do I need to be registered as a business to import?
You have to be registered as a business to sell your goods in the UK and so HMRC can ensure you’re paying the correct amount of tax on your imports and your earnings.
The good thing, though? Registering a business is really easy – here’s how to do it.
Once you’ve registered your business, you will then need to register for an EORI number – which we can help with once your first shipment is on the water!
Hopefully, this post helped you to understand what you need to have thought about before you import. If you are registered as a business and you’re wondering whether you need to be VAT registered, we have a post offering advice about that too – Do I Need To Register My Business For VAT?