New Hackerspace Advice/Legal Structures

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If you want to move beyond just meeting up in a pub, you're going to need a legal structure so you can collect money. This is a summary of the legal structures you can use in the UK. Banks will want you

It goes without saying that this does not constitute legal advice.

Implications of Membership Associations

Due to the way the tax system works, it's very advantageous to run your organisation as a "membership association" - i.e. every member of your space is also a member of the association. If this is the case, you don't have to pay corporation tax on profit from subscription fees or sales to members. (Donations are always exempt from corporation tax.)

Types of Legal Structure

Unincorporated Association

This is the simplest type of legal structure, where each member of the association is bound by contract law. It's really easy to set one up using One Click Orgs.

An unincorporated association doesn't have limited liability and can't enter into contracts on its own, so it's not useful for renting a property. Since One Click Orgs doesn't yet have an easy way of "upgrading" from an unincorporated association, we don't recommend using this structure.

Limited Company

There are two types of limited company. The usual type is a Company Limited by Shares (CLS), where every shareholder owns a portion of the company. The lesser-known type is a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), which has "members" instead of shareholders. Members have voting rights, but no right to receive money from the company.