How to Register a Business in the UK

If you have a business, a sole proprietorship, partnership, or a limited liability company, you need to register it. There is a growing number of people around the world interested in knowing how to set up a business in Europe. Before you can launch your business in the UK, it is a requirement to have it registered for tax payment purposes and regulation. Companies House is the body mandated to register businesses in the UK. In this article, I will take you through the process of how you can have your business registered in the UK.

Can I register a company in the UK as a non resident? Yes, there are no restrictions setting up a business in the UK even if you are not British and reside abroad. Fortunately, you do not need to travel to the UK to register your company. The process can be be done completely online. However, you will need to be 16 years old or over and not currently declared bankrupt and your company will require a U.K. registered office address.

The Process of Registering a Business in the UK

The process of registering a business in the UK is very simple. The UK is among the countries that have a simple and straightforward process when it comes to registering a business.

Decide about your Business Structure

Before registering your business in the UK, you need to choose the business structure for your business. The following are some legal business structures you can register in the UK.

  • Limited company. If you want to register a Limited company, your business name will have to end with the name “Limited”. You can register your company with Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies. When you register a limited company, you will need to be paying corporation tax with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC).
  • Sole trader. If you are starting a sole proprietorship business, you also need to register it with HMRC for self-assessment and tax payment. A sole trader will need to put his name and business name in all their business correspondence. A sole trader business name should not contain words like Ltd, LLP, or PLC.
  • Business partnership. If you have partnered with other people and want to register a partnership business, you need to assign a nominated partner who will be responsible for the partnership’s tax returns. You will be sharing profits between partners.
  • Overseas company. You can also register an overseas company in the UK with Companies House. Such a business must have been registered initially in another country.
  • Limited Liability Partnership. If you have partnered with other partners to start a business, you can register it as a partnership. When registering a partnership, you need to register for corporation tax, have a UK address for the partnership, have memorandum and articles of association and have accurate information for the directors, company secretary and shareholders.
  • A community interest company (CIC). This is a type of company introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.

Although it is not a legal requirement, before starting a business or registering one, you need to draft a business plan. A business plan helps you to put down your ideas on paper and also assess if your business idea is likely to succeed. A business plan also helps you source funding and partners, allocate resources well, highlight business risks and come up with ways to avoid business risks. If you don’t know how to write a business plan, you can hire an expert to draft one for you or use UK government business plan template.

Choose and Register Business Name in the UK

Once you have decided on your legal business structure, the other thing is to register your business name in the UK if it is a limited company. You need to find a unique name for your business. You need to do a name search at Companies House to ensure that the name you choose for your business is not registered under another business. A good business name should be unique, easy to remember and should not have sensitive words. The cost of registering a business in the UK depends on the method that you use. If you are setting up a business as a sole trader, registering a business name is not compulsory. You can use your own name.

Provide Your Business Details

The other thing you need to do when registering your business in the UK is to provide details for your company. You will need to provide the following details:

  • The company name
  • UK registered business address and director address service (if you are a non resident, company formation agencies can provide the address for you)
  • Business directors and secretaries where it applies
  • Initial shareholders details

Memorandum and Articles of Association

If your business is a limited liability entity, you need to prepare a memorandum and articles of association. When registering your company, you need to fill the memorandum of association with the Companies House.

If you register by post, use the memorandum of association template. You cannot update the memorandum once the company has been registered. For articles of association, you can either use standard articles (known as ‘model articles’) or write your own and send them when you register your company.

How to Register a Company in UK

You can register your business in the United Kingdom online or offline using:

  • Companies House
  • Company formation agents and agencies
  • By post
  • Third-party software

Companies House

Companies House is an executive agency mandated with the registration of companies in the UK. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Whether you are starting a sole trader or a large organization, you need to register your business with Companies House.

Once you have identified a business name, registered it, and drafted articles of association and a memorandum of association, you need to submit all the documents to the Companies House before 3 pm. They will assess your application to find out if your business is eligible for registration.

If your application has been approved, you will be notified by email or post. The process can take between 2-10 days. You will receive Certificate of Incorporation with your 8-digit Company Registration Number (CRN).

If you start running your business right away, you need to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC) within 3 months. If your company makes over £85,000 of VAT taxable turnover in one year, you also need to register for VAT.

You can register your business on Companies House online. You will be charged £12 and you can pay the amount using payment cards or PayPal. It takes about 24 hours for the registration to go through. See the full list of Companies House fees.

Company Registration By Post

Alternatively, you can register your company via post using form IN01. You should send your application to the address on the form. It will cost you £40 (paid by cheque made out to ‘Companies House’) and it takes 8 to 10 days for the registration to go through. If you want the registration to go through on the same day, you can pay an extra £30.

Company Formation Agents in the UK

If you want to register a business in the UK, you can consider seeking help from the following company formation agents.

Rapid Formations

Rapid Formations is an agent that helps people register businesses and companies in the UK. It helps you register a limited company and open a business bank account in the UK. The cost of registering a business starts from £12.99. It also has a package for non-residents who would want to register a business in the UK. The agent has helped over 750,000 companies with registration.
They have four packages:

  • Digital – £12.99
  • Digital Plus – £19.99
  • Compliance – £39.99
  • All Inclusive – £89.99
     

1st Formations

1st Formations is an agent helping businesses with registration in the UK. You can easily register your businesses from as low as £12.99. The company has helped over 750,000 companies in the UK get registered. 1St Formations have partnered with banks like Wise, Barclays and Payoneer to help businesses open business accounts. They have five packages.

  • Digital – £12.99
  • Privacy – £19.99
  • Professional – £44.99
  • Prestige – £69.99
  • All Inclusive – £139.99
     

Your Company Formations

You can register your business in the UK through Your Company Formations with as low as £12.48. It also helps you get a London business address. Even if you are a non-resident, they will help your register your business in the UK. They will also help you open a business bank account and you get access to free banking and up to £100 cashback.

They have four packages:

  • Digital – £12.48
  • Digital & Print – £16.98
  • Privacy – £27.48
  • Fully inclusive – £54.48
     

Company Formation Made Simple

Company Formation Made Simple helps businesses with registration in the UK. You can have your company registered within 3 working hours. They are a trusted company registration agent and has helped more than 1 million companies with registration. They offer 24/7 customer support via email, call and chat.

They offer four company registration packages.

  • Basic – £14.99
  • Privacy – £19.99
  • Comprehensive – £29.99
  • Ultimate – £99.99
     

Mint Formations

Mint Formations is an agent helping businesses with registration in the UK. You can have your business set up in a few minutes for as low as 12.99. The agent will help you with all the paperwork. The company has over 20 years of experience and has helped over 10,000 companies with registration.

They have 5 packages.

  • Digital – £12.99
  • Privacy – £19
  • Privacy Plus – £29
  • Premium – £49
  • All Inclusive – £99
     

Company Registration in UK using Third Party Software

Companies House has tested and authorised software for registering a new company in the UK. Authorised third party software include the following.

Here’s the full list of software to register companies in the UK authorised by Companies House.

Open Business Bank Account

Now that you have registered your company in the UK, the next main step is to open a business bank account. You are not required by law to have a business bank account for your company. However, it is easier to manage business finances separately from your personal account. There are a number of online banks that you can consider opening a business account with. They include the following:

Summary on How to Register a Business in the UK

You must register a business in the UK before you can start operating. The Companies House is in charge of registering companies. Registering a business is important to ensure that businesses are regulated and also they pay taxes. There are many types of businesses you can register in the UK. If you are a non-resident, you need to get a UK visa and residence permit to be allowed to register a business in the UK.

Vincent is a writer with an interest in finance, business, technology and health niche. He holds a Bachelors degree in Applied Statistics with computing. He is the founder of Nexin Startups; a business web portal. Read more about Vincent and see our complete editorial team at FiFi.