Before you start
You should only start the steps below when you have a clear understanding of the feasibility of your business idea, have done research and created a business plan.
If you haven’t done this, you should visit 6 step start up journey on the Jersey Business website. Steps 1 to 3 on their website can help you think about what you need to consider before you decide on your business structure.
Step 1: Decide on your business structure
The first step is to decide on your business structure. You need to decide on your structure before you progress to step 2.
Most businesses register as a sole trader, partnership or limited company:
Most start-up and small businesses find setting up as a sole trader the best option. As a sole trader you're self-employed and may trade in your own name or register a business name. You can employ staff and you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts.
Two or more self-employed people can work together as partners, using their own names or a business name and sharing the profit. You should have a written agreement between partners. You can employ staff and partners are personally responsible for the debts of the business.
A limited company is a separate legal structure and its finances are separate from its owners. If something goes wrong, owners can only lose the capital they have invested into the business. Companies must be incorporated with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) and there are ongoing requirements and costs that must be completed every year.
Find out the advantages and disadvantages of each structure type in the
Guide to Types of Trading Entity on the Jersey Business website.
Step 2: Register with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC)
The JFSC registers all limited companies and business names.
Sole traders and partnerships
If you want to trade under your own legal first name, surname and initials you do not need to register with the JFSC and should move to step 3.
If you want to trade using a name that has any additions to your first name(s), surname(s) and initials, check that your business name is not already registered with the JFSC. You apply for a business name together with your business licence in step 3.
If you're a limited company you need to incorporate your company with the JFSC before you can apply for a business licence.
Once incorporated you'll be automatically registered for corporate tax with Revenue Jersey. Find out more on
If you want to trade using a business name that is different to your limited company name you should
apply for a business name when incorporating with the JFSC.
There are a number of industries regulated by the JFSC. You may need a specific licence if your limited company is involved in any type of financial services or, for example:
- estate agents
- high value dealers
- casinos (online)
- virtual currency exchange lending
Check if you need a specific licence to in the regulated industry area on the JFSC website.
Not for profit organisations
If you are a not for profit organisation you must
register with the JFSC before applying for a business licence.
Step 3: Apply for a business licence
Most businesses need to apply for a business licence to run their business and to employ staff.
You don’t need a business licence if any of the following apply:
no one receives any form of payment of any kinds (including the owner)
you're a sole trader who has entitled or entitled for work residential and employment status, you have no employees and you work for less than 8 hours per week on average
you're a limited company with only 1 person working for the business, this person has entitled or entitled for work residential and employment status and works for less than 8 hours per week
you're a household employing someone to provide domestic services in your home. For example, a nanny to look after your children or a carer to look after a relative. Domestic services must be either:
other care services
looking after children
There are other rare exemptions which can be found in the
Control of Housing and Work (Exemptions) (Jersey) Order 2013.
When you apply for a business licence, you'll automatically be registered for:
- a business name (sole traders and partnerships only)
- an adviser to contact you to discuss the range of options for paying Class 2 Social Security contributions
- an employer code allowing you to pay tax (ITIS) and Social Security contributions for your employees. You'll be sent registration details for the combined employer return portal where you submit your monthly tax, social security and manpower returns for your employees
If you work with vulnerable adults or children, all business owners must provide a basic criminal record check (DBS check) from within the last 6 months. If you don't have one you can
request a basic DBS check on GOV.UK.
Apply for a business licence
Paper applications are available by emailing the Business Hub or call +44 (0) 1534 444444.
If you receive income support
You must complete a change in circumstances form as soon your business licence is granted and your business starts operating.
In your first year you must submit profit and loss accounts every 3 months. This is to make sure your income support level is correct and you're not over or under paid. These must be submitted no later than 14 days after of each 3 month period. For example, by 14 April for the months of January, February and March.
Find more details on
change in circumstances (Income Support).
Step 4: Pay your Social Security contributions as a business owner or self-employed person
Social Security contributions are different to tax. Contributions are paid by everyone so we can provide a range of benefits, pensions and health services to you when you need them for example sick pay and old age pension.
Business owners pay a different class of contributions to employed people known as class 2 contributions.
When your business licence is granted we'll contact you to discuss how you want to pay your personal Social Security contributions.
Social Security payments for business owner or self-employed to see your options and understand the rules.
Step 5 (employers only): Register to pay social security and tax for your employees and submit manpower returns
When your business licence is granted you'll automatically be registered as an employer to pay ITIS and Social Security contributions for any employees you have.
Within 7 days of your licence being granted you'll receive a letter or email with your business reference and a link to the Combined Employer Return portal. You need to register and file your combined employer returns every month.
If you don't need a business licence, you'll need to register for this separately. Find out how to do this in
employees tax and social security payments.
Step 6 (employers only): Get to know your other responsibilities as an employer
employing staff: step by step guide to understand your other responsibilities as an employer. You can do this at the same time as completing steps 7 onwards below.
Step 7: Apply for industry specific licences
There may be other licences relevant to your business that you need to apply for. For more details see industry specific licences and regulations.
Step 8: Register with the Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner
The Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner (JOIC) ensures organisations manage the personal information they hold in a fair, lawful and transparent way.
As a limited company, you're legally required to register with the JOIC as per Article 17(1) of the Data Protection Authority (Jersey) Law 2018 . This is because you'll be processing personal data by maintaining a register of shareholders or directors.
Sole traders and partnerships
If you're collecting customer data you're legally required to register with the JOIC as per Article 17(1) of the Data Protection Authority (Jersey) Law 2018. Customer data includes names, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses or sending newsletters or marketing content or operating CCTV.
This can be data relating to:
It's highly likely that most businesses will be collecting customer data and therefore should
register with JOIC.
Step 9: Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
GST is a 5% tax that registered businesses add to the price of their goods or services. Customers pay this tax directly to businesses who collect it and pay it to Government to help fund public services. Many countries have a tax like this, for example Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UK.
If you predict your business will sell more than £300,000 worth of goods or services each year it is mandatory to register for GST.
If you predict your business will sell less than £300,000 each year it's optional to register for GST.
Find out more about the benefits of optional registration on
Goods and Services Tax for Businesses.
How to register your business for GST
Step 10: Your business finances
There's a range of financial considerations for you to think about for your new business.
getting a separate business bank account to keep track of your finances and produce trading accounts without mixing them with your personal finances. This can take between 1 to 6 months depending on your bank, so don't leave it until the last minute. The bank may ask you for a range of evidence to prove you're a legitimate business, check in advance what you need
securing funding if your business requires it
setting up your accounts so you can track how much money you are getting and spending
deciding on the bookkeeping system you'll use so you can invoice clients or take payments from day one
if you're on Income Support you need to let them know you've started a business so they can adjust your claim
Accessing finance on Jersey Business website
Step 11: Business insurance, premises and health and safety
Whether you're working from home or from business premises you need make sure you and your staff are protected and insured. You also need to make sure you have the appropriate planning and building permission to carry out your activity in the building or make any changes. Learn more about
business insurance, premises and health and safety.
Step 12: Personal tax
The way you pay your personal income tax as a business owner depends on whether you're a sole trader, partnership or limited company.
For more information visit personal tax for business owners.