A Simple Guide to Registering a UK Company
Registering a business in the UK is the first step towards turning your entrepreneurial dreams into money-making reality.
The process of registering a UK company includes choosing a unique business name and filing the memorandum and articles of association with Companies House. The good news is that with a company formation package you can now complete the process online.
Read on for a simple guide to registering a UK company.
- Understand the Benefits of Registering a UK Company
There are several good reasons to consider registering a business in the UK. They include:
- Your personal assets should be protected if the company hits the rocks (this is what’s meant by ‘limited liability’).
- You can manage what you pay in income tax by drawing dividends from the company’s profits rather than a salary.
- No two companies can be set up with the same name. This means you have sole use of your business name and it is protected for as long as the company exists.
- You can build for the long-term. Shareholders will be more willing to wait for dividends until there is a decent profit to pay out. Banks, on the other hand, want interest payments to be made regardless of profit levels.
- Take Care of Registering a Business Name (UK)
Before registering a business in the UK, you need to decide upon a unique business name. 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 business name is available with Companies House.
- Gather Information About Your Business
When registering a UK company, you will need to give Companies House the following information:
- Company directors – your company must have at least one director. Companies House will want to know their name, date of birth and residential address.
- Shareholders – every company must have at least one shareholder, but this can be the same person as the director. Companies House will want to know their name, date of birth and residential address.
- Registered office – the address where Companies House and HMRC will send mail. It must be in the UK and it must be possible to reach the company directors at the address.
If you don’t have a separate address for your business, you should use your home address when registering a UK 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.
- Allocate Company Shares
Should you decide to register a limited company, you’ll need to nominate shareholders and decide how many shares they’ll receive.
If you are the only person in your business, this can be as simple as making yourself the sole company director and shareholder and allocating yourself one share worth £1.
If you issue more shares in your company at a later date, you should notify Companies House within a month of doing so.
- Complete the Memorandum and Articles of Association
These documents formalise how your company will be run. They need to be agreed on and signed by the company director and shareholders.
- Submit Everything to Companies House
Before you do so, give everything a careful once over. You will need to pay a fee to Companies House if you want to make certain corrections after you file your information.
Did you know? With our company formation packages, you can register your company quickly and simply. 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 sign up for one of our company formation packages, we pay the £12 Companies House filing fee for you!
- Registering a UK Company as an Employer
You should do this, even if the only person you’ll be paying is yourself as the company director.
- Set Up a Business Bank Account
When registering a business (UK), you’ll want to keep your business and personal finances separate. So remember to give your new company its own bank account. This will also make life easier when it comes to submitting your tax returns.
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 for Corporation Tax
Make sure to do this within three months of registering a business in the UK or you could have to pay a fine. HMRC will send you the information you need after you register with Companies House. This will include your tax reference number and the deadline for filing your annual return.
- Register for VAT
If your annual turnover will be more than £85,000, you should register for VAT. This is something an accountant can help you with.
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.