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Accounting support for the representative office of a Japanese company in England

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My father has always been an example to me, and I would like him to be proud of me. That's why I decided to develop the family business outside my native Japan. But I realised that my knowledge would not be enough, as business processes in England are very different from those in Japan. So I decided to enlist the support of professionals and chose Imperial & Legal.

Taekeshi, 26 years old
A businessman from Japan
Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Tekeshi was born and raised in Japan. From a very young age, he knew that he would succeed the family business. His father, who started out as a simple fisherman, through perseverance and hard work was able to build a large business producing kelp products.

Initially, he simply supplied seaweed to the local market, but then he had so many outlets that he had to hire helpers. And then Takeshi’s father was able to save up money to start his own processing and packaging lines, which gave him access to large retail chains. But even so, the entrepreneur did not stop there and set about organising high-tech production, which made it possible to use kelp not only for the food industry, but also for the pharmaceutical industry.

His son has been involved in the family business since he was a little boy. So young Tekeshi was aware of both technological nuances and business processes. But still, his parents thought that the young man should get a decent education to have a good base, because he was to take over the full management of the company in due course.

Although his mother was against it, his father still insisted that the young man study abroad. It was assumed that Tekeshi would master the Japanese management model as it was, but it would be useful to gain Western experience, which would allow him to incorporate the most successful cases into his own business.

The choice fell on the UK. Tekeshi studied well and became one of the best graduates of the course. His parents’ habit of hard work and determination contributed to this.

However, as his studies progressed, he became more and more convinced that the knowledge he received at a British college was not very applicable to Japanese realities. But it was a good preparation for starting a business in Europe. The fact is that the young man had ambitious plans not just to continue the family business, but to take it to a new level, to be worthy of his father, who once started everything from scratch. Creating a network of foreign representative offices was more than adequate to this goal.

Tekeshi decided to start with the UK, the country he understood best, which he had learnt quite well during his university years. After his father gave the go-ahead, the young man registered a branch company. Initially it was supposed that the accounts would be kept by an accountant from the parent company in Japan. But very soon it became clear that there are too many nuances in this case, so it was decided to find a more knowledgeable specialist. That’s when Takeshi turned to Imperial & Legal.

Our Client

Tekeshi is a Japanese man, 26 years old. A graduate of King’s College, London. He is a young businessman opening a representative office of his family firm in England. 

The Challenge

Handling taxes of an overseas branch of a Japanese firm. Preparation of financial statements and liaising with fiscal authorities on behalf of the client.

The Solution

First, we defined the scope of work. As the representative office became quite active from the very beginning, it needed several financial services at once.

Firstly, payment of VAT. As the company imported goods from Japan for sale, it had to pay VAT and customs duties. Our specialists registered it in the VAT system and subsequently started to prepare quarterly VAT reports for the client.

Secondly, from the very beginning, the firm hired a staff of employees – sales managers, logisticians, advertisers, forwarders and other specialists. Accordingly, they also had to be accountable for them. So Payrol was added to the list of reports – monthly reporting on wages under the PAYE scheme, on the basis of which all the necessary deductions are made by the employee and the company, including income tax, and these reports are submitted to the tax office.

Thirdly, the branch had to coordinate its activities with the parent company, so a number of reports were prepared specifically for the head office. These were mostly standardised reports, but some parameters were developed specifically for the needs of a particular business.

In the end, we came up with the following scheme: our accountant took over all the documentation of the UK branch of the firm, while his Japanese colleagues would summarise the overall reporting for the company.

Takeshi registered a company in England and set up bookkeeping in a month and a half

14 June
Applying to Imperial & Legal
+3 days
Analysing the company's work and scope of work
+1 week
Preparation and approval of documents
+2 days
Company registration in the UK
+1 day
Preparing VAT and PAYE applications
+4 weeks
Company registration on VAT, PAYE, opening a bank account
26 July
Takeshi opened a company and set up bookkeeping in England


Whilst the UK authorities endeavour to make the tax system clear, user-friendly and logical, there are many nuances to be aware of, especially when running a large company with a large number of employees and counterparties. Therefore, it is better to use the services of accountants who specialise in UK financial reporting. This will save you from potential fines and in some cases even help you save money by optimising costs. 

Imperial & Legal’s specialists will provide you with both advisory assistance and take care of liaising with the tax authorities, preparing reports and maintaining all documentation. In addition, we will help to issue visas for foreign specialists of the company, whose presence is necessary for the successful development of the business. Write to us and our experts will answer all your questions and develop an individual mutually beneficial plan of co-operation with your company.

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