The 5 Business Laws You Need to Know


Are you ready to turn your business ideas into a reality? Or do you already own a business, and need to make sure you’re compliant? Either way, this blog post’s for you.

Starting and growing a business requires a great deal of preparation – and central to that should be the laws and regulations to which you and your business need to adhere. Let’s take a brief look at the five you need to know.

1. Company Law

Things come so thick and fast when running a business, that it’s all too easy to overlook certain rules, regulations, and responsibilities – especially statutory filing obligations.

Late filing can result in fixed penalties and penalty interest, or even dissolution in some cases. Depending on the size of your company, the main requirements are as follows:

  • Annual accounts – Providing a profit and loss account, a balance sheet, directors and auditor’s report, and notes to the accounts. For most, these need to be filed with Companies House and HMRC within 9 months of the account reference date in order to avoid penalties and other sanctions.
  • Confirmation statement – Every year, you must provide general information about your company, including the registered office address, names, addresses and personal details of directors and the company secretary, people with significant control, share capital, shareholders, and share transfers.
  • Corporation tax return (CT600) – A company must register online with HMRC as being active for corporation tax purposes. Even if it has made a loss and doesn’t owe any corporation tax, you will still be required to submit a return to HMRC each year. The deadline for this is 12 months after the end of the company’s accounting period.
  • VAT returns – Any business whose turnover exceeds the VAT threshold in a 12 month period must register for VAT and then account for it. All VAT registered companies must complete a quarterly VAT return to HMRC.

2. Health and Safety

From fire, trip, and equipment risk assessments, to legislation against bullying and harassment, health and safety is a broader subject than you might realise. To be compliant with these rules, you should make sure you:

  • Prepare a Health & Safety policy, and regularly review it.
  • Design, provide and maintain safe workplaces.
  • Carry out regular risk assessments in all areas.
  • Provide adequate first aid facilities.
  • Ensure ventilation, temperature, lighting, toilet, washing and rest facilities meet standards.
  • Take the necessary steps to remove risks.
  • Report accidents and injuries to the authorities, and maintain records of all incidents.

Unsurprisingly, many employers fail to realise the scope of their duties. Office workers are actually twice as likely to suffer a serious injury from a fall than a non-office worker. What’s more, sitting down all day staring at a computer can lead to visual, musculoskeletal and/or psychological problems. A risk assessment is required to be able to reduce the probability of these issues occurring.

3. Data Protection

Business owners should know that Europe is protected by the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you do not comply with this regulation, you could face hefty fines of up to 4% of global turnover, or €20 million – whichever is greater – and prosecutions, including prison time for deliberate breaches.

The main aspect you need to be aware of is how your business deals with personal data. If you’re collecting this data routinely, you need to comply with GDPR. There are seven main principles you should follow:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
  2. Purpose limitation
  3. Data minimisation
  4. Accuracy
  5. Storage limitation
  6. Integrity and confidentiality (security)
  7. Accountability

Each of these principles should lie at the heart of your approach to processing personal data.

4. Contracts and HR

Protecting yourself and your employees is one of the most important aspects of running your business. The laws surrounding work contracts and HR are extensive and broad, and cover everything from wages and payslips to ensuring your employees have the necessary rest breaks at work (20 minutes every six hours).

Meanwhile, employment laws are in place to protect against discrimination throughout the hiring process and in the workplace. Again, you need to ensure you are fully up-to-date and compliant with these laws.

5. Insurance

In business, as in life, it’s a good idea to protect yourself and your belongings.

Liability insurance is designed to cover businesses and protect them against the risk of liability imposed by lawsuits and claims made against them. There are many different types of liability insurance, such as public liability insurance, which is a good option if your business has any interaction with the general public; and employers liability insurance, covering compensation costs and legal fees if an employee sues for illness or injury caused by your business, on or off-site.

If you’re in the professional sector, having professional indemnity insurance or professional liability insurance is beneficial should a client believe you’ve failed to produce work to a professional standard. This insurance will protect you against professional negligence claims.

Stay Compliant with Ten Forward

When it comes to following company law, we can save you from a great deal of stress and panic! Our compliance services efficiently handle your annual accounts, tax returns, bookkeeping, and payroll.

We make sure you’re always complying with any new regulations, while ensuring your business runs in the best way possible. Get in touch today to find out more.

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