Choosing a structure for your business

When you set up a business in Scotland, you’ll need to consider which company structure to use. It’s important you choose the right structure for your particular business.

There are several ways you can structure your business in Scotland, depending on how you intend to do business.

The most widely used corporate structures are:

  • Sole trader - self-employed people usually operating a small-scale business
  • Partnership - including Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Limited company - either a private limited company (Ltd) or a public / listed company (PLC)

Why it's important to choose the right structure

It’s important you choose the right legal structure for your particular business, because it can drastically affect the control you have over your business, how you run it, and the requirements you must legally meet. The type of legal structure you choose impacts:

  • Whether you need to register at Companies House
  • Which local government authority you need to notify about your business
  • The tax and National Insurance you pay
  • The records and accounts you must keep
  • Your financial liability if the business has problems
  • The ways your business can raise money
  • The way management decisions are made about the business

Get advice

A solicitor or accountant can provide advice to help you decide which structure is best for your business. 

Business Gateway offers a range of support to help you set up your business and provides detailed online guidance on each type of company structure.

Legal structures guidance from Business Gateway

In this section

National minimum wage and salaries in Scotland

Salaries in Scotland vary according to the type of work, the sector and where the job is located. The National Minimum Wage is the minimum rate you must pay your employees.

Broadband, phones and IT

It’s essential your business has the right IT, phone and internet infrastructure to succeed. In Scotland, you have a wide choice of IT, phone and internet providers and services.

Business tax

Besides competitive business tax rates, Scotland offers incentives for research and development. Find out about tax requirements for your business.

Getting business insurance in Scotland

Find out about the different types of insurance you need to have for your business in Scotland.

Solicitors in Scotland

A solicitor can help guide you through the process, providing advice on everything from business structures, tax and insurance, to rules for employing staff, buying or renting property – and more.

Business acronyms

Acronyms and abbreviations are often used in Scottish businesses. Find the definitions of frequently used business terms in our glossary.

Accountants in Scotland

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland can help you make sure you set up your business correctly.

Immigration and visas

Find information about different visa options if you want to relocate to or invest in Scotland.

If you have any questions or would like to talk with one of our advisers, we are always ready to help.