It’s easy to get confused when it comes to setting up a limited company, and the roles that Companies House and HMRC play in the incorporation process.
In this blog post we’re going to iron out any confusion. But first things first, do you need to let HMRC know about your company formation?
No, when you form a limited company you don’t need to notify HMRC
Companies House will take care of this for you. However, there are some things that you need to let HMRC know about.
We’ll take a look at these shortly but before this, let’s take a step back and look at what Companies House and HMRC do.
Companies House at a glance
Companies House are the United Kingdom’s registrar of companies. You cannot register a UK company without Companies House being involved in some capacity.
Whilst you can form a company directly with Companies House (online via their website or with paper documentation), many new business owners decide to incorporate their company with a company formation agent (such as us).
This is primarily because a company formation agent can provide its customers with extra services that Companies House can not. For example, for a fee, an agent will often allow the customer to use their address as the company’s registered office (this helps shield the customer’s address from the public register and assists the company in projecting a professional image).
This showcases just one extra service that a company formation agent can provide. For a full list of additional services, take a look at our company formation package comparison page.
It’s not just the registration of limited companies that Companies House oversees.
They also maintain the Companies House public register, which all UK companies are placed on – along with certain company information (such as officer names, filing information, and financial information). The register exists to demonstrate the transparency of limited companies.
HMRC at a glance
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the department of the UK government that is responsible for collecting taxes.
When a company begins trading (or more specifically starts making a profit) it needs to start paying Corporation Tax.
Here’s what you need to do, regarding HMRC, once you have formed a limited company.
Your first correspondence with HMRC
Approximately two weeks after your company’s formation, HMRC will mail a letter to your registered office. This letter will include the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and contact information for your Corporation Tax office.
Put the letter somewhere safe or make a note of the information. It’s important.
If you are going to trade with your limited company
You need to notify HMRC that you’re doing business no later than 3 months after you started trading. This is for Corporation Tax purposes.
To do this, you must create a Government Gateway account where, amongst other things, you will be asked the start date of your trading activity. HMRC will then send further information, including filing deadlines, to your registered office.
If you are not going to trade with your limited company
Not all businesses are ready to trade straight away. Some businesses will never trade. If you don’t intend to trade just yet (or not at all) you will need to notify HMRC. To do this, you must write a letter to your Corporation Tax office (found in your initial correspondence with HMRC) letting them know about your dormant status.
So, there you have it. You don’t need to notify HMRC of your company formation but you do need to let them know about your trading status. We hope you have found this post helpful. Please leave a comment or get in touch if you have any questions.