Business Name Registration, UK: How to Go about It
If you’re looking to start a limited company in the UK, you’ll need to register a business name with Companies House. Having a registered business name will show potential customers and investors that you are a legitimate operator.
Follow these simple steps to register a business name in the UK.
1. Run a Business Name Check
Before you register a business name with Companies House in the UK, you need to be sure it hasn’t already been taken and that it can’t be easily confused with the name of an existing business. Consider:
- Choosing a name that helps explain what your business does
- Avoiding business names that are difficult to spell
- Whether the name will work well in a web address
- Including a high-value Google search term that you might want to bid on through pay-per-click advertising
Got a name in mind? With our free online search tool, you can check whether your company name is available with Companies House.
2. Get On the Business Register (UK)
Once you’ve chosen your business name, it’s time to register it with Companies House. This process is known as ‘incorporation’.
In addition to registering your business name, you’ll need to complete a few standard legal documents:
- Memorandum of Association – includes your business name, address and the type of business
- Articles of Association – spells out your rights as the director of the company and the rights of any shareholders.
If you don’t have a separate address for your business, you should use your home address to register your company. But if you aren’t comfortable with your home address being made public, we offer a Registered Agent Service which lets you register your business at our Central London location.
3. Register Your Business for VAT in the UK
You should do this if your annual turnover is more than £85,000. It’s something that an accountant can help you with.
4. Register Your Business for Corporation Tax
Make sure to do this in your first three months of trading or you could have to pay a fine. HMRC will send you the information you need once your business is listed with Companies House. As well as your tax reference number, they will let you know the deadline for filing your annual return.
5. Register your Business as an Employer
You must do this even if the only person you’ll be paying is yourself in your capacity as a company director.
6. Set Up a Business Bank Account
Some banks will want to see the documents you provided to Companies House and even a business plan before they’ll give you an account. Don’t forget to check what fees they charge for standard business services like setting up a standing order or clearing a cheque.
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.
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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.