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Company Registration In The UK

Updated on :  

08 min read.

The United Kingdom (UK) is an attractive destination for entrepreneurs worldwide. It is one of the top destinations to start a business since it has strong governance, high-quality facilities, well-equipped infrastructure and well-implemented rules and regulations. 

The United Kingdom (UK) is an attractive destination for entrepreneurs worldwide. It is one of the top destinations to start a business since it has strong governance, high-quality facilities, well-equipped infrastructure, and well-implemented rules and regulations. 

Company formation in the UK is easy and quick. The biggest advantage of registering your company in the United Kingdom is that business owners do not require citizenship. There are also no restrictions regarding the nationality of the directors or the shareholders.

Advantages of Company Registration in the UK

  • The British Government provides various financial schemes that offer company owners and employees tax benefits.
  • The UK has enormous resources, including various incentives, government finance, start-up innovators and technology hubs providing spaces to help the company grow.
  • Since London is the world’s largest financial centre, there are more opportunities for a company established in the UK to raise capital and finances from different banks and financial institutions.
  • There is high-end technology and automation available in the UK.
  • The company directors and shareholders are not required to be citizens or residents of the UK.
  • The UK has strong relations with the United States and the European Union, thus helping the company grow worldwide.

Types of Company Registration in the UK

An entrepreneur can choose from different types of companies to establish his/her business in the UK. The following are the types of company structures that can be registered in the UK:

Sole Trader

A single individual can register as a sole trader. The liabilities of the individual establishing a sole trader are unlimited. Hence, the individual member has to consider the extent of his/her personal liability before applying for registration as a sole trader.

Partnership

A partnership can be established by two or more persons under an agreement. In a partnership, the partners enter into an agreement to share the profits of the business. In a partnership, the assets and liabilities are shared amongst the partners.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership can be established by two or more persons acting as partners in the business. In a limited liability partnership, the liability of the partners is limited to the extent of their contribution to the partnership.

Unlimited Company

In an unlimited company, with or without share capital, the liability of its members or shareholders is not limited. Thus, the company members are jointly and severally liable for all the company’s debts.

Limited Company

A limited company incorporated in the UK has limited liability. Thus, the company members’ liability is limited to their shares in the company. 

Public Company

A public company means the company ownership is distributed amongst the general public through publicly traded shares. These companies are legally bound to disclose the relevant information to the public.

Private Company

A private company means the company ownership is privately held. These companies are allowed to issue shares to their members but are not listed on the stock exchange.

Requirements Before Company Registration

  • The company should have a distinctive/unique name. The company name should not contain the forbidden terms and cannot be identical to another registered company name.
  • The company should have a registered office address in the UK for conducting business. The company location must be listed on the public record.
  • The number of directors required for a company varies according to the type of company. However, all directors should be at least above 16 years.
  • Only one shareholder is necessary to establish a company (two in case of partnership and limited liability partnership). However, there is no restriction on the number of shareholders that can be nominated.
  • There must be at least one natural person or individual other than a corporation acting as a company director.
  • Each director, company secretary, or any other person with significant company control must provide their service addresses to the Companies House. This address will be on the public record. However, the location of the address can be anywhere in the world.

Company Registration Process in the UK

The Companies Act, 2006 regulates company registration and operation within the UK. The regulatory authority for UK company formation is the Companies Registry of the UK, i.e. Companies House. The following is the procedure for company registration in the UK:

Decide on the type of business structure

The first step of company registration in the UK is to decide on a suitable business structure. Business owners need to choose the type of company they want to establish before applying for registration. The company type depends on the nature of the business, members or partners and area of operation.

Conduct a name search for your company

Next, the business owners have to decide the name of the company. Before deciding on the name, business owners should go through the different rules related to the company’s name and ensure compliance with the Companies Act, 2006. The owners must also check if the name is available. The company name should also confirm with the requirements of the Trademarks Act.

Appoint the directors

There needs to be at least one shareholder who can carry out the company affairs before applying for company registration. The shareholder can be the director of the company. It is also necessary to appoint key management executives, such as the company secretary, compliance officer, etc. However, it is not mandatory to appoint a company secretary. The information relating to the service address of all directors must be mentioned in the company incorporation form.

Identify People with Significant Control (PSC)

The business owner or applicant should identify the People with Significant Control (PSC) of the company. The PSCs are the company executives (directors or shareholders) with significant control over the company. For example, anyone with more than 25% of the shares or voting rights can be a PSC. The details of the company’s PSCs must be recorded in the PSC register, and included in the company registration form.

Prepare the required documents 

The applicant should prepare legal documents such as the company’s Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA). An MOA is a legal statement signed by all initial guarantors or shareholders agreeing to form the company. The AOA are the bye-laws which regulate the company structure.

Apply for company registration

The applicant should choose a Standard Industrial Classification of economic activities (SIC) code for the company. The SIC code indicates the activities carried out by the company. The applicants should apply for company registration with the Companies House online or offline through an agent or post. Most people can register for corporation tax at the same time as registration with Companies House.

If an applicant cannot apply for corporation tax at the time of registration, he/she needs to register with the corporate tax authorities under the HMRC (Her Majesty Revenues and Customs) after the company is registered with the Companies House. When the company is registered, it will receive a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’, which shows that the company legally exists. It consists of the company number and formation date.

Documents Required for Company Registration

  • Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association.
  • Valid passport and visa.
  • Details of the company shareholders.
  • Details of the company PSCs.
  • Details of the registered address.
  • Details of the service address of all PSCs and directors.
  • Address proof and ID proof documents.
  • UK bank account details.

The company formation in the UK benefits entrepreneurs due to its high technology and government incentives. The company registration process is quick and requires only one shareholder. Moreover, the directors and shareholders need not be citizens of the UK.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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