Limited Company Registration: 7 Simple Steps
Registering a limited company with Companies House can be a way of more effectively managing what you pay in tax. The process of registration involves choosing a unique company name and formalising how your company will be run. The good news is that you can register your company online in a few simple steps. In this article, we explain how to go about it.
1. Research the Alternatives to Limited Company Register
Is a limited company the best option for someone in your position?
An alternative to registering a limited company is to operate as a sole trader.
Another possibility is to enter a business partnership. Here, you and your partner share responsibility for everything to do with the company and you split the profits equally.
2. Consider the Benefits of Limited Company Registration
Perhaps the main benefit is that your personal assets should be protected if the company builds up debts it can’t pay back. This will give you room to take a little more financial risk when getting the business off the ground.
Registering a limited company can also be a way of paying less in tax. For instance, you could draw the bulk of your income in company dividends, which aren’t subject to income tax.
As an owner of a limited company, you can also claim more in allowable expenses and reliefs than you can as a sole trader or under a partnership. There are tax deductible costs which you can offset against a company’s profits, meaning you get to keep more of your money.
3. Pick a Name for Your Limited Company
The name you register with Companies House needs to be unique. Choose something that you like saying and hearing, because you’ll likely be doing both many times a day. Give some thought to how the name will look on marketing material. And make sure it’s easy to spell.
Got a name in mind? With our free online search tool, you can check whether your company name is available with Companies House.
4. Register with Companies House
Companies House is the government body that deals with limited company registration in the UK. They’ll want to know:
- the names of the company directors
- what your company is called
- the business address (to protect your privacy, you can use our Central London location as your publicly registered business address)
There will be several forms to fill in, including a memorandum and articles of association. These documents formalise how the company will be run and who owns shares. They’ll require signatures from the director(s), shareholder(s) and company secretary.
Once you have all the information you need, you can apply to place your business on the limited company register with Companies House. This is quick and simple with our company formation packages. There are four packages to choose from:
- E-Formation (£9.99): perfect if you want to secure a company name and don’t need any official printed documents.
- Essential (£19.99): offers you complete confidence that you’re starting a company with the rules and regulations covered.
- Entrepreneur (£59.99): kick-start your next big venture with official compliance and additional documents of incorporation.
- Super (£89.99): the complete secretarial and compliance package to establish your company on a robust footing.
Best of all, when you apply for limited company registration with one of our company formation packages, we pay the £12 Companies House filing fee for you!
5. Register Your Limited Company for Tax
To register your limited company for corporation tax, you’ll need your company’s unique taxpayer reference. This should be mailed to you within 14 days of registering your company with Companies House. Once you have the reference, you can register online at the HMRC website.
- If your business’s annual turnover tops £85,000, you’ll also need to register for VAT – you can do this online at the HMRC website.
6. Register Your Limited Company as an Employer
Every limited company must be registered as an employer. That’s true even if the only person you will be paying is yourself as a company director.
- Register your limited company at the gov.uk website before the first payday
- It will take up to five days to get the PAYE reference number you’ll need
- You’ll need a National Insurance number from at least one company director
7. Set Up a Separate Bank Account
If you don’t have time to shop around, we can save you the hassle and help you set up a business bank account. We have a special relationship with Barclays which means you’ll get a range of great benefits with a Barclays Bank Business Account for Start-ups:
- Free business banking for 12 months (terms and conditions apply)
- Loyalty rewards – the longer you bank, the more money you get back
- Support and guidance from the Barclays Business Banking telephone team
- Manage your account online, by phone, via the Barclays Mobile Banking app or in branch
Register your own business from £9.99
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- Set up a basic Limited Company that’s ready to trade and choose anything else you need as extra.
- An easy way to set up a company that’s ready to trade. Plus, your official printed certificates.
- Your official certificates & company register. Plus, a registered business address, FREE for 3 months.
- The hassle and risk-free option for getting started and growing your limited company.
- Starter plus a comprehensive SME legal documents and credit score build & monitor service.
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What is a company formation agent?
Formation agents perform company registrations in partnership with Companies House. We’re one of the largest, and also the cheapest. We don’t just get your company registered then leave you to it – we use our experience to help you start your business properly. There are plenty of reasons to use a formation agent rather than go directly to Companies House. If you ask us, though, the best thing is that we go through the whole process with you, and get your application submitted securely online. We provide expert advice on the legal hurdles while you incorporate, and recommend good quality solutions that you might need after you’ve formed.
What’s the difference between sole trader and limited company?
Think of it this way: when you form a limited company, you put a protective shield between you and your business. Being a sole trader is the opposite – you have no protection. As a sole trader, you are responsible for any debt you might come into while you’re in business. When you register and become the director of your own limited company, you have less personal responsibility. The benefits are that you can claim back expenses, and add to your salary with dividend payments at the end of the year. For more information, see our Help Centre article about limited companies and sole traders.
How do I register a company?
Easy, we’ll do it for you. Check out our formation bundles to learn more about our different products. They start at £9.99, and go all the way up to our Super bundle. Limited company formation is a straightforward business if you’re as well-versed with the process as we are. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our company formation guides for an introduction and some insider tips.
Why The Formations Company?
We’re dedicated to British business, and love nothing more than seeing new companies flourish. 750,000 UK companies have trusted us to help them register, and we have thousands of happy customers who’ve seen how simple the formations process can be. We’re cheaper than going to Companies House directly, and cost less than most accountants. Our online application is incredibly simple, and if you’ve got all your documents handy it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete. So what are you waiting for? Start your business today.