There are two ways to interpret the term ‘company registration documents’. Firstly, it can mean the specific form that must be completed and sent to Companies House to register a company. Secondly, it can be this form plus the memorandum and articles of association, and the certificate of incorporation.
In this post, we’ll take a look at all of these documents. Let’s get started.
What documents are required for company registration?
The main company types can now be formed online (either directly with Companies House or via a company formation agent, such as ourselves).
For the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on the private company limited by shares structure. This is the most popular type of company in the UK, with the latest Companies House statistics highlighting that 93% of companies on the register are private limited companies (nonetheless, we have named the Companies House forms for all UK company types below).
To register a private company limited by shares, you will need to complete the IN01: Application to register a company form (or the online equivalent). The information that you provide in this will then inform the memorandum and articles of association, and the certificate of incorporation. We’ll explore this in more detail shortly. But first…
The Companies House company registration documents
The memorandum and articles of association
The memorandum of association
This short document (just one page) is used to confirm that the company’s subscribers – these being the very first set of shareholders in the company – have agreed to form a company.
The document includes the below:
- Company name
- Name of each subscriber in the company
- Date of incorporation
- The following statement:
‘Each subscriber to this memorandum of association wishes to form a company under the Companies Act 2006 and agrees to become a member of the company and take at least one share each’.
The memorandum of association is automatically drawn up upon the incorporation of the company using the information provided in ‘Part 9’ of the IN01 form – or the online equivalent.
Here’s what the memorandum of association looks like:
The articles of association
Compared to the memorandum of association, the articles of association is a more complex document. Its purpose is to outline how a company is going to be managed and should cover all of the below:
- Decision making in the company
- Responsibilities, rights, and liabilities of shareholders
- Responsibilities of directors
- Share issues (for example, how shares can be issued and transferred)
- Profit distribution
- How directors can be appointed and removed
You will have the option to use the Companies House model articles of association (these are appropriate for most small businesses) or attach your own. This option is given in section A8 of the IN01 form or via a dedicated articles of association step if you are completing the company registration online.
We recommend seeking the assistance of a professional if writing your own articles of association, as incorrect articles can result in the registration application being rejected.
It is possible to update a company’s articles of association post-company formation.
The certificate of incorporation
As soon as your company has been formed, you will receive a digital certificate of incorporation (some of our own company formation packages also include a printed copy that will be mailed to you).
This document is the official proof that your company has been incorporated and contains the below information:
- Company number
- Company name
- Date of incorporation
Here’s what the certificate of incorporation looks like:
How to retrieve your company registration documents
Don’t worry if you have misplaced your company registration documents. Copies are easy – and free – to locate, regardless of how your company was formed.
If your company was formed with us, you will have received an email shortly after incorporation from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘1st Formations: Order Ref. xxxxxxx Order Fulfilment’.
This email includes PDF versions of the memorandum and articles of association and the certificate of incorporation. If you can’t locate this email:
- Log in to your online company manager
- Select ‘My Companies’
- Click on your company name
- Click on the ‘Documents’ tab – you will be presented with a list of all the available documents and given the option to download them
If your company was not formed by us, you can instead use the Companies House ‘Search the register’ tool:
- Enter your company name
- Click on the correct name from the list
- Click the ‘Filing history’ tab
- Scroll down to the ‘Incorporation’ document (it will be the first entry) and select ‘View PDF’
- You will be presented with your certificate of incorporation, completed IN01 form, and the articles of association
Are the company registration documents on the public register?
Yes, as highlighted in the above steps for retrieving lost company registration documents, anyone can use the Companies House search tool to view them.
However, not all the information provided in the IN01 form (or the online equivalent) is published, such as the residential addresses of company directors.
We can help register your limited company
Are you looking to form a company? We offer a number of company formation packages designed to get your company up and running as quickly as possible.
We offer packages dedicated to starting all the main company and partnership types, including private companies limited by shares (including a package for non-UK residents), private companies limited by guarantee, public limited companies, and limited liability partnerships.
Our online incorporations include all the company registration documents mentioned in this post, as well as other useful features that make starting your new business simple. See the below links for more information:
Thanks for reading
We hope you now have a thorough understanding of the UK company registration documents. Please get in touch via a comment if you have any questions related to these documents or company registrations in general and we’ll be happy to help.