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I live in Scotland and am about to start a very small business that will print books and sell them using Amazon as a dropshipper. The business will take the form of a company registered in England and which will therefore have its registered address in England. The director's (i.e. my) address for legal service in relation to the company will be at the same address, which is an accommodation address run by the company formation agent. It is also possible, if I pay the agent extra, to use that address as a "business address", meaning no more than that the company can receive mail there and will forward it to me by email. This mail can include orders, even if most orders are likely to go straight to Amazon and to be filled by them on my behalf. Using this address as a "business address" I will probably do, to give me the freedom to tour Britain (mostly in England) a fair bit, which is what I wish to spend a lot of time doing for the next couple of years. The work of running the company won't take much time at all, and what time it does take can be handled by me sitting in front of a computer anywhere.

Here comes the question...

The British tax department, His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), wishes to know a "principal place of business" for the company.

I would like to put that down as the said accommodation address (England), rather than my home address.

But as I understand it, even if that didn't make it more difficult to open a bank account for the company (which it might), it's not something the HMRC would especially be head over heels about accepting.

What I would like to continue to do is to conduct any required talking with the taxman about my PERSONAL finances through my home address in Scotland, and, if a need to speak about these matters to a local tax office arises, then to speak to a local office in Scotland. My personal finances are pretty uncomplicated, so I doubt I will actually need to speak to the local office much, if at all. Also I have no plans to sell the house and I will be living there almost all the time once I've finished touring in a few years' time. But I would like to do any required talking with the taxman about the COMPANY'S finances through the accommodation address in England, and to speak to the local taxman for THAT area (London), which I will be closer to geographically most of the time for a few years.

So the question is: when incorporating the company and registering it for corporation tax and (if I do) also for VAT, how easy will it be to use the London address as the company's "principal place of business", or is that essentially a no-goer?

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This isn't really an answer but it's too long for a comment. What is your real intention behind trying to do this? Are the tax regimes different between England and Scotland in this regard?

"I want to list my business as in England because I'm going to be travelling in England" doesn't really cut it as an explanation, Scottish independence referenda notwithstanding it's all part of the same country and you can ring the London tax office from Scotland or vice versa just as easily.

I think with this kind of thing, in general, if there's intent to defraud (eg you want to pay less tax than you really ought to pay) then it won't fly. And if there isn't, and you have even a semi-legit reason to register the business in England, then it would.

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  • Income tax is higher in Scotland then in England, but Corporation tax is the same.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 6:20

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