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Company Formation Guide to
Registering a Limited Company Online


Company Formation 101: The Anatomy of a Startup

It would be nice if launching a successful company is just a matter of coming up with an innovative business model. But the truth is, it takes a lot of planning, filing and organisation. That doesn’t have to be a complicated process, though.

When it comes to Company Formation, it is all a matter of background knowledge. So long as you are familiar with the corporate jargon and government terminology, incorporating a new company in the UK can be a relatively quick and painless process.

The following guide should arm you with a firm grasp of what sort of options you are able to consider, what information you need and how you should launch your new limited company.

What is Company Formation?

If you would like to form a company in the UK, you must incorporate through Companies House. Companies House is the UK Registrar of Companies and an Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Companies House is responsible for incorporating and dissolving companies. Incorporation is the process that sees a business register as a limited company – thus becoming its own legal entity. As a limited company, your business will also be required to file annual accounts, an annual return and may be eligible for corporation tax.

Anyone can form a UK company so long as it is for a lawful purpose. It takes at least one person or organisation to incorporate a limited company, but the process can involve more. At the point of incorporation, founding members must add their names to a memorandum of association, which legally confirms their agreement to incorporate.

Why would I want to form a Limited Company?

Many entrepreneurs are happy doing business as a sole trader. But there are a number of benefits from incorporating your business as a limited company.

First, when you run a limited company you will have limited liability as its owner. This means you can protect your personal finances from being drained in the event that your business goes into debt. A limited company also pays a lower tax rate. Sole traders must pay income tax rates for profits. But a limited company pays corporation tax, which is usually lower.

In general, limited companies also appear much more reputable in the eyes of business clients and potential investors.

What do I need to form a company?

At Trust Formations, we place emphasis on simplicity. Starting a new company can be a difficult experience, and we want to make it as easy as possible. Where the actual formation process is concerned, we do all the work so that you can spend more time thinking about how things will work when you’re actually up and running.

But even after you’ve settled on the type of company you’d like to form and what to call it, we’ll need a few essential pieces of information to complete the process:

Company name

The first step of the formation process is to come up with the name your company will use. There are several rules regarding what you can and cannot use in a name. To find out if your idea name is suitable, consult our online name checker.

Registered Office Address

All new companies must provide a registered office address to issue statutory mail from Companies House and HMRC. Your office address can be anywhere, including your private homes address. It cannot be a PO Box.

Director Details

If you have chosen a company structure that includes the use of directors, you are legally obligated to provide certain details about those individuals.

Shareholder Details

If you have chosen a company structure that includes the use of shareholders.

Secretary Details

It is no longer compulsory for a UK company to appoint a company secretary at the time of incorporation; however, of you choose to appoint one.

The following information will be required for

Director

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Residential address
  • Service address (which can be the same as their residential address)
  • Three security details. These include: the first three letters of their mother’s maiden name, the first three letters of their father’s forename and the first three letters of their eye colour.

Shareholder

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact address
  • Three security details. These include: the first three letters of their mother’s maiden name, the first three letters of their father’s forename and the first three letters of their eye colour.

Secretary

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Residential address
  • Contact address (this can be the same as their residential address)
  • Three security details. These include: the first three letters of their mother’s maiden name, the first three letters of their father’s forename and the first three letters of their eye colour.

So long as you are able to provide us with the applicable details outlined, we should have enough to get your formation started.

Once you have filled out the Trust Formations online application, our agents will proof, correct and send your request to Companies House. If your registration is approved, your company should be live within three hours.

What happens after my formation is approved?

At Trust Formations, we work directly with Companies House to ensure your company is ready to trade without you having to brave a gauntlet of legal jargon and roadblocks. However, that does not mean our agents withdraw their support the moment your company goes live.

We’re always on stand-by to assist in the early days of your new startup, and we aim to provide as much support as humanly possible.

What do I do with my company documents?

Our agents aim to have every incorporation approved within three hours. The second we receive confirmation of your successful formation from Companies House, our agents will proceed to send you a PDF of all of your essential company documents to you. Identical paper copies will be sent to you within 24 hours of incorporation.

The Company documents you will receive with your registration include

Certificate of Incorporation (PAPER)

Companies House issues this document to prove your company has been legally incorporated. You will need it to open a business bank account, apply for funding or sell shares.

Memorandum & Articles (PAPER)

These are constitutional documents you need to register a limited company. The memorandum states information about each member of a company, and the articles outline its governing rules.

Share Certificate(s) (PAPER)

Companies must provide this to all shareholders to certify their ownership of company shares. Banks will typically require you to present share certificates before you can open a business bank account.

Can I change my company details?

If you decide to make any material changes to your incorporation details after your company has been formed, such as adding an additional shareholder, you are perfectly entitled to do so. The key is to ensure that you are keeping Companies House officials in the loop. You can do this extremely easily through the Companies House WebFiling service online.

Potential changes are not limited to your personal contact details. You may also change your company’s registered office address, so long as it remains in the same legal jurisdiction that your company was formed in. These changes must also be made online via the Companies House website. In some cases, you might also need to inform HMRC these changes have been made, too.

It does not usually cost you any money to change your company details, unless you are attempting to change your company name.

If you would like to issue more shares or transfer existing shares to someone else after your company has been incorporated, you are permitted to do this, as well. So long as you have the explicit approval of your company directors, you may issue more shares at any time. There is no limit to the number of shares you are allowed to issue.

Ready? Let’s form a company

Trust Formations can ensure your company is fully incorporated within three hours. Click here to get started incorporating your new business. Or, if you have got additional questions, please contact us. Our dedicated team of customer service agents are always happy to offer you advice.