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Five things you need to know about setting up UK branches



When applying for SEIS and/or EIS advance assurance, a company is required to have a Customer Reference Number (CRN number) and Unique Tax Reference (UTR number). A UK company will have both numbers issued automatically upon incorporation. A company incorporated outside of the UK (foreign company or overseas company) must open a UK branch to obtain both numbers. A branch is a permanent establishment in the UK; it is an extension of the parent company and is required when the company has a presence in the UK.

Here are five things you need to know about when setting up a UK branch:

1. A company can name the branch differently to the company.

If a company complies with the rules for business names detailed in Part 41 Companies Act 2006; they can then choose a different name for the UK branch. If the name has already been taken or includes sensitive words, it may be refused.

2. A foreign company must include all the company’s names on documents and correspondence used in business activities in the UK.

This includes the company name as registered in the country of incorporation and the branch name if different.

3. The company has full responsibility for obligations, liabilities and operations of the branch. 

4. Any changes in the company or branch must be filed with Companies House.

If there are any relevant changes to the company or branch, such as change of addresses, directors, authorised personnel or constitutional changes, then these must be filed with the Companies House. Companies state that change must be notified within 21 days after the alteration has taken place. The required forms to file for foreign companies can be found here.  

5. You typically need to file accounting documents with the Companies House.

A foreign company is required to disclose accounting documents under the law of the country in which the company was incorporated. When submitting accounts required by parent law, they need to be submitted with an OS IN01 form. 

To register a branch of a company incorporated outside of the UK, you must file an OS IN01 form and supply all the relevant documents to Companies House. More information on this process can be found here.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

Johnathan Graham
Johnathan Graham
Johnathan assists companies with business plans, advanced assurance applications for SEIS, EIS and R&D tax credits. Johnathan has a keen interest in helping start up companies, stemming from his entrepreneurial background in owning two companies of his own. Contact Johnathan by email at:

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