Are you looking to start a limited company in the UK but not sure how? The good news is, forming a company is an extremely quick and easy process, regardless of where you live. Let’s take a look at how UK company formation works and what you need to do to get your business off the ground.
Before we get started, we would like to stress that you can form a UK company completely online, without having to visit the UK.
Companies House – the UK’s registrar of companies
If you’re interested in starting a company, you need to know about Companies House. They are the UK’s official registrar of companies, and you can’t form a company in the UK without your application being processed through their system.
Once a company has been formed, it’s placed on the Companies House public register, alongside every other company in the UK.
Do I have to start a company directly with Companies House?
No. Many people choose to arrange their company formation with an accountant or through a company formation agent, such as 1st Formations.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider using a formation agent, rather than forming directly with Companies House:
Address services – To form a company, you need a UK-based registered office address (the official address for the company). Several of our company formation packages include the option to use our London address as your company’s registered office and director service address. This is ideal if you’re based outside of the UK and don’t have access to a UK address.
Confirmation statement preparation and filing – All limited companies need to file a confirmation statement with Companies House on an annual basis. We can offer a service where our team of experts prepare and file your confirmation statement for you.
VAT registration – If a business’s turnover is expected to exceed £85,000 in a 12 month period, it needs to be registered for VAT. Even if you don’t expect to reach that amount, there are a number of benefits to registering for VAT. If you do decide to register, this is something we can help with.
These are just a few examples of services that we, as a company formation agent can offer, that Companies House can’t.
The information you need to start a company
If you do decide to form your company with us, we’ll walk you through the company formation process – from picking your company name, choosing your package, making payment, and then providing the necessary information to get your business started.
As mentioned earlier, this is entirely online and can be completed in around 10 minutes, provided you have the necessary details to hand.
Listed below is what’s necessary to form a private company limited by shares – the most common type of limited company in the UK. If you would like to form a private company limited by guarantee or limited liability partnership, please leave a comment or call us at +44 (0)20 3897 2233 and we will be happy to help.
What you need to provide can be split into two groups – company information and officer information.
The start of the company formation process requires you to provide basic details about the company. This includes:
- A unique company name – our name search tool on our website homepage will tell you immediately if your company name is available
- A SIC code – otherwise known as a Standard Industry Classification code that sets out the industry you’ll be working in. The good news is you don’t have to research and find the code applicable to your business activity, as we provide a list of SIC codes to choose from during the online formation process.
- A registered office – which is the official address for the company and must be based in the UK. Again, you do not need to worry about this item, as 1st Formations can provide this address and any other address you will need to get your business started
When forming your company you will need to appoint a director (to run the company), a shareholder (who owns the company), and a person with significant control or PSC (who controls the company). You can form a company with one person taking all these roles or multiple people sharing the roles, it’s up to you.
You will need to provide the below for every person involved in the company:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Residential address
- Service address, which is the official address for the officer. This can be a residential address, or you can use 1st Formation’s service address service
- Quantity, currency, and price of shares held – applicable to shareholders only
- And finally, nature of control, applicable to people with significant control only. Again, there is no need to worry as this is explained during our online process
Sending your application to Companies House
Once you have provided all of the above, the next step is to review all the information that you have given. If you spot any mistakes, this is your opportunity to go back and fix them.
Once you’re happy, submit your online application to 1st Formations. Our team of company experts will review it before forwarding it to Companies House where your new company can be accepted in as little as three working hours.
We will email you as soon as your company formation has been approved and attach your digital company documents and company authentication code.
Start your UK company today
And there you have it, how to start a company in the UK.
Our Non-Residents Package is dedicated to customers who don’t live in the UK. Select the link below for more information or to get started.
We hope you have found this blog post helpful. If you do have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.