If you have decided to set up your business as a private limited company, you will need to register your company with Companies House. This is called “incorporation”.
Once Companies House has processed your application and your company is registered, you will receive a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’ which confirms that the company legally exists and which also sets out your individual company number.
You can register your company online with Companies House here as long as the company is limited by shares and uses standard articles of association. If you register your company online it is usually completed within 24 hours and the cost is £12.
Otherwise, you can register your company by post, by using an agent or by using third party software. Making applications by post would normally take between 8 and 10 days to register your company and the cost is higher at £40.
There are lots of things you should consider when setting up a limited company:
- Company name – see our name check resource guide for the do’s and don’ts
- An address that the company will be registered to and to which all official communications can be sent
- At least one director registered to the company
- At least one shareholder registered to the company
- A memorandum of association which is a document setting out the agreement of all the shareholders to create a company
- Details of the company’s shares
- Articles of association which is a documents setting out rules about how the company is to be run
- Details of people with significant control over the company
- A standard industry code which is a number that identifies what your company does
Corporation tax – your company must be registered for corporation tax within 3 months of starting to do business (meaning starting to trade, buying, selling, employing people, renting premises etc). HMRC will be notified by Companies House that you have registered a business, and will automatically send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference code that you must use to register for Corporation Tax online with HMRC.