Starting your own limited company
First you need to choose a name for your business and check it's available. You'll be able to register the business name as long as it hasn't already been registered, and it isn’t misleading or offensive. See choosing a name for your business
for more details. Your company name must be displayed at the registered address (but not necessarily on the outside of the building) and at any location where company records are stored and it must be easy to see with the naked eye. You don't need to show a regsitered company address at residential locations.
To form a limited company you need to register your company with Companies House. This process is called 'incorporation' and once it's completed you'll get a certificate of incorporation and a company registration number. This number must be used on all business documents and correpondance.
Use our Limited Company formation service to set up your company online within 3 hours
Limited companies must have at least one shareholder (who can buy as few as one single £1 share in the company) and one director who will run the business. These can be one and the same person. If there is more than one director at least one must be a real person rather than another company, and that person must be over 16 years old. Find out who can and who can't be a company director
Limited Company documents
- A Certificate of Incorporation which shows your company registration number, company name, and date of incorporation
- A Memorandum of Association which shows what the company does, the name and registered address, and the authorised share capital and share price
- Articles of Association which states how the shareholders and officers will run the company (there 's a default called ''Table A' you can use unless you need something specialised)
To run a limited company you need to:
Keep a full record of sales, costs, assets, and liabilities for at least seven full tax years
Run a payroll to pay staff and deduct the correct tax and national insurance. If you pay yourself a salary, you'll be classed as an employee. Note that you cannot just withdraw money from the company bank account like you could if you're a sole trader
File Annual Accounts at Companies House which should include a profit and loss account and a balance sheet. These accounts are available for the general public to view if they wish
- Complete an Annual Return which confirms basic details such as registered address, and the names of shareholders and directors
- Submit an Annual Corporation Tax return and pay the tax and National Insurance due within nine months of the Company Year End. Find out how to pay your corporation tax
- If your turnover is more than £5.6 million or your balance sheet totals more than £2.8 million your company accounts must be audited by a qualified and regulated auditor
If you're in Canada take a look at Ontario Business Central
: A business services website devoted to Canadian residents where Canadians can register a business
, incorporate in Ontario
, perform a federal incorporation
, and more.