If you want to start a limited company (i.e. defined by the HMRC as “a legal entity distinct from its shareholders and directors”), then you have to register it with Companies House. This process is called incorporation.
You might want to seek professional advice before you register your company, as you need to check that it’s the right move for you. They can also help you with compiling the necessary documentation and even carry out the whole process for you.
How can I register my company & how much will it cost?
You can register your company three ways: via the internet through the Companies House Web Incorporation Service, by using a Formation Agent, or by completing paper forms and sending them to Companies House. Registration will cost £40 for a standard paper registration and £15 for the web service.
What will I need to register my company?
To start with, you’ll need to have a company name and address, officer details (e.g. Director and Secretary), share capital and shareholder details. Your company name can’t be the same as another name on the register (or sound too alike). You can check the availability of your company name by using the Companies House Access WebCHeck.
All of this information will need to be completed on form IN01, which is one of the documents you’ll need to file in your application. You also need to file a memorandum of association and articles of association.
What is a memorandum of association?
A memorandum of association is a document that cannot be amended once your company has been incorporated. It is a relatively short document confirming that you intend to form a company. Unfortunately, you can’t get all creative and play about with the wording. You can find the precise wording required for the document here.
What are the articles of association?
Next comes the articles of association. Yes, more paperwork. This isn’t as prescribed as the memorandum of association. Think of it as a legally binding rulebook drawn up by the members of your company. It sets out how the business will be run and lays down the rules surrounding shares. You have the freedom to draw up your own rules in the rulebook (although the rules can’t be against the law), but if you are doing so you might want to seek professional advice. Otherwise, you might want to use model articles as a template.
So there you have it
You really shouldn’t be daunted by the whole process, it sounds complicated, but in reality, it’s actually quite a simple process. Registration is now even easier as the government have introduced ‘one-click registration’. You can register your company at Companies House, sign up for PAYE registration, Corporation Tax and Self-Assessment all in one place. Simple.