UK business legislation concerning online businesses

A fundamental part of starting any business is learning to comply with the correct legislation. Here are some things you need to know about the laws surrounding an online business.

deliveryLaunching an online business is easier than ever and you can have a website set up within minutes. However, you still have to be familiar with the business law surrounding online businesses and it is a good idea to do some research on this before you begin your business. If you have a viable idea and want to get started, here are some of the basic things you need to think about in terms of business legislation.

What kind of business is it?

Are you a sole trader, limited liability partnership or limited company? Are you selling locally or internationally? These cheap couriers UK based deliver locally but do you want to allow people from all over the world buy your products? These things affect the kind of tax you pay. Sole traders have it easier as they merely register as self employed with HMRC and then submit an annual tax return. The laws become more complex if you trade internationally, have employees or have premises to go with your online business.

Keep records

Keeping records of all incomings and outgoings is essential for tax purposes. You are legally obliged to keep records for at least one year after the last tax year. You will need to keep records of sales and takings as well as purchases and business expenses so it is advisable to keep all original receipts and invoices. You may keep these electronically or on paper as long as they are easily accessible at any time. These records can then be used by you to complete an annual tax return.

Fair use and privacy policy laws

Trading online means that you need to protect yourself and your customers. Fair use policy is there to protect your website and you from people who may abuse its services. These laws may restrict the way that your site can be used. Setting up a privacy policy is also important to protect your customers. If you plan to trade online you will be taking personal details of your customers. People are more aware of identity theft and fraud therefore you will need to have this policy in place to ensure you are protecting people’s bank details and personal information. This also builds trust with the consumer.


You may want to set up a contract between you and the buyer. This summarises your rights, the customer’s rights and liabilities or responsibilities on both parts. This will cover you if anything is lost in the post or if any personal information is stolen from the consumer. It will also detail the rights of the consumer.

If you are unsure of anything regarding online business law, hire a solicitor or order a book on business law and have it delivered using cheap couriers UK has to offer. There are many free services that are available if you need help on starting your own business, creating a business plan and complying with the relevant legislation.


Mary Yohanan writes on the subject of business law for a variety of business websites and blogs.

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