How to get started setting up your limited company? Time to turn your idea into reality.

In one streamlined process, you can register your UK limited company and open a business bank account. Better yet, we’ll take care of the registration cost with Companies House, so it won’t cost you a penny.

1. How you set up your business depends on what sort of work you do. It can also affect the way you pay tax and get funding.

  • self-employed ('sole trader')

  • a business partnership

  • a social enterprise

  • an overseas company

  • an unincorporated association

2. You must choose a name for your business if you're setting up a private limited company.

There are different rules for sole traders and business partnerships.

Your name cannot be the same as another registered company's name. If your name is too similar to another company's name or trademark, you may have to change it if someone makes a complaint.

Your name must usually end in 'Limited' or 'Ltd.' You can include the Welsh equivalents' Cyfyngedig' and 'Cyf' instead if you registered the company in Wales.

3. Choose Director and a Company Secretary

You must appoint a director but you do not have to appoint a company secretary.

4. Choose at least one shareholder or guarantor for your company

You need at least one shareholder or guarantor, who can be a director.

5. Identify people with the control rights

Shareholders who own 25% or more of your company shares have the voting rights.

6. Prepare the documents that define a structure of your company

You need to prepare a 'memorandum of association' and 'articles of association'.

7. Company and accounting records

You must keep:

  • records about the company itself

  • financial and accounting records

You must keep details of:

  • directors, shareholders and company secretaries

  • the results of any shareholder votes and resolutions

  • promises for the company to repay loans at a specific date in the future (‘debentures’) and who they must be paid back to

  • promises the company makes for payments if something goes wrong and it’s the company’s fault (‘indemnities’)

  • transactions when someone buys shares in the company

  • loans or mortgages secured against the company’s assets

8. Register your company

You'll need to register an official address and choose a SIC code - this identifies what your company does.

What you'll need to register your company

  1. Unique company name Use our search tool to instantly check if your company name is available.

  2. Registered office address This will be where official communications are sent, for example, letters from Companies House. The address must be in the UK and you can opt for a Tide 'virtual office address'.

  3. Director and shareholder information You'll need the name, nationality, date of birth, occupation and address of the director. If there are more than one director or shareholders, you can add this detail later directly with Companies House.

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