The UK Agency Company
The UK LLP
The UK Agency company is a popular vehicle within the field of international trade.
The rationale behind the use of such an entity is that the Company, fully liable for UK corporate tax, undertakes business for and on behalf of a non-resident Principal.
The concept of the structure is that the Principal, who has the knowledge, know-how and business acumen, engages an independent UK company to act as its agent for some or all of its international business. The UK Company in turn will enter into trading agreements with customers of the Principal to buy or supply goods from or to third parties for and on behalf of the Principal.
Generally a formal agreement is entered into between the Principal and the UK Company, which would entitle the UK Company to a fee relating to the services that it is requested to perform. All trading operations are executed by the UK Company for and on behalf of the Principal.
The fee charged by the UK Company would be an amount that reflects the responsibility and work undertaken by the UK Company on behalf of the Principal. This fee will be retained by the UK Company to cover its operational and administrative costs. The profit element of the fee will then be subject to UK corporation tax at 20-24%. An acceptable fee, chargeable by the UK Company would be between 5-10% of gross turnover or profit, whichever is the greater. The balance of the trade would be for the account of the Principal.
If trading occurs within the European Union and the turnover of the UK Company exceeds the threshold for VAT registration purposes of £77,000 the UK Company would be obliged to register for VAT within the UK. A UK company can voluntarily register for VAT should the turnover be below the stated threshold as long as it can demonstrate that it intends to turnover more than the threshold amount.
VAT Registration is an important feature when trading in the European Union as this is the only method of facilitating cross-border triangulation without the need to charge VAT to other corporate bodies within other member States. Put simply, if a UK Company issues a VAT invoice to another Company based in another European Union member State and as long as the recipient company’s VAT/TVA number is quoted on the same invoice the supply can be zero rated.
The UK Company enters into agreements, on behalf of the Principal, to buy shoes from a Portuguese shoe manufacturer and supply the same to an Italian fashion group.
The Portuguese company will invoice the UK Company for the market value of the shoes, quoting their respective VAT number and reflecting the UK Company’s VAT number on their invoice, thus zero rating the supply.
The UK Company in turn will request that the goods be delivered to a Freeport where they will take title of the goods and tranship the stores to Italy.
At this time the UK Company will issue an invoice to the Italian fashion group, again reflecting the UK Company’s VAT number and that of the Italian Company, in order to zero rate the supply for VAT purposes. The stores are thus delivered with all documentation reflecting the UK Company and not the original supplier.
Once the goods have been received and accepted in Italy, the Italian fashion group will pay the invoice received from the UK Company direct into the bank account of by the UK Company.
On receipt of the funds, the UK Company will in turn settle the invoice received from the Portuguese Company.
The remaining funds, less the agreed fee for the UK Company, will be remitted to the Principal.
The United Kingdom Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) was introduced by the UK Government in 2000. It is a separate legal entity and a body corporate, has all the functionality of a Private Limited Company but is taxed as if it were a Partnership.
The United Kingdom Tax Authorities have confirmed that the taxation base will follow the procedure operated in the past for Partnerships. The income and capital gains of an LLP are thus treated as income attributable to the members and therefore the UK LLP can be utilised as a tax efficient vehicle for international trade on the proviso that that there is no UK sourced income and the members are non resident of the United Kingdom there would be no liability to UK taxation.
A United Kingdom LLP has 95% of its members based in a low tax area such as the Isle of Man or British Virgin Islands. A UK Private Limited Company owns the balance of 5%. The UK LLP intends to purchase goods from Asia for sale to a South American Country.
The goods are sourced from Asia and supplied to the buyer and paid for accordingly from outside the United Kingdom.
Because there is no UK sourced income, 95% of the profits attributable to the non resident members would flow through and be taxed at the rates applicable in their country, the remaining 5% attributable to the UK resident member would be taxed in the UK at current rates after deduction of business expenses.
A bespoke 'offshore' solution can be complex and requires careful planning and execution. We therefore encourage our clients to contact us directly, without obligation.
While all of our consultants in our offices provide a Free Initial Consultation, the office and consultant listed below has particular expertise in this area and will gladly assist with advice on how to approach your unique challenge.
Alternatively, to select one of our multilingual offices, click here for a list of our office contact details.
Languages spoken in this office: Albanian, Arabic, English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese
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