Set up a UK limited company
In this article:
Limited companies pay tax on their profits and directors are taxed as employees. A UK limited company can be split into two types - public (PLC) and private.
The three main types of limited companies are private limited by shares (most companies are limited by shares), private limited by guarantee (usually set up for a non-profit purpose) and public limited company (PLC).
We currently do not form PLCs; please contact Companies House on 0303 1234 500 (dial +44 if calling outside the UK) for help setting up a PLC.
When registering a limited by shares company, you'll need:
- a company name
- at least one director - must be 16 years or older and, can be of any nationality and live anywhere in the world
- at least one shareholder and the share capital - the shareholder can be of any nationality and live anywhere in the world
- a UK registered office
- a business bank account - to keep your personal and business finances separate (this is optional)
- details of people with significant control (PSC)
- your standard industry classification (SIC code)
- a licence for some business activities - not all companies need a licence but use the licence finder to find out
- to register for corporation tax - if you start trading, you must register for corporation tax within 3 months
- to check whether you need to register for VAT
other options to consider (not mandatory):
- register a trademark
- set up a Virtual Office
Limited companies have many legal responsibilities and deadlines such as tax, accounts, etc, that must be met to avoid penalty fines or having the company struck off the register. You can hire other people to manage some of the responsibilities, but the director is still legally responsible for company records, accounts and performance.
You can save money by filing your tax returns, accounts, etc yourself rather than paying for an accountant.
How to register
To set up a limited company, it will need to be registered, this is known as 'incorporation'. Company Formation MadeSimple can register your limited company (or other business structures) online and hassle-free. The online company registration takes just a few minutes, and your company can be incorporated within 3 hours.
This article is a general overview, and we do not offer professional advice. If you need professional advice, please speak to an accountant or business advisor.