Company formation means when your business will get the status of a legal entity. It is essential because it is an obligation from the government and it also provides some kind of trust to the stakeholders and customers.
Set up a UK Company
UK Company formation is the process of legally incorporating and registering a limited company with Companies House. According to UK company law, a company or corporation is considered as an entity that is separate from the individual who owns or operates the company.
Registering a limited company can reduce the financial responsibility of people owning the business. If a company becomes insolvent, the owners (shareholders or guarantors) cannot be held personally liable for debts or claims that go beyond the amount they have paid in shares or agreed to pay in guarantees (except in rare cases such as fraud). This financial protection is called limited liability and it is one of the main reasons for choosing to operate as a limited company instead of a sole proprietorship.
Sole proprietors do not enjoy the financial protection of limited liability. For sole traders, there is no distinction between their business finances and personal finances. It indicates that they have unlimited liability and are wholly liable for all business debts and claims.
Company formation process
You can directly register with Companies House, the entire process can be carried out online; applications are delivered electronically to Companies House, and approval is normally granted within 3 hours; or you can take the help of specialised agents, solicitors or accountants.
Once you incorporate a limited company, you will be supplied with a Certificate of Incorporation which features your company's legal name and company registration number. These are then placed on a public register along with the details of its directors.
What documents do you require for company registration?
It depends whether you register a company through a company formation agent or Companies House. If you want to set up a company online through a company formation agency, you are not required to submit any paperwork or deal with any documentation.
But if you want to use the registration services provided by Companies House, you will have to complete form IN01 and deliver it online or by post. You can also submit certain documents, based on whether you use the online or postal service.
How to incorporate online through a company formation agent?
To set up a company through a formation agency, you will have to complete a simple online application form. Following are the electronic documents that must be completed and submitted to Companies House:
- Articles of association
The articles of association is the governing document of the company and it explains all the rules about how the company should be run, the rights and responsibilities of the members and directors, how and when shares can be issued or transferred and how decisions should be made.
- Memorandum of association
The memorandum is a declaration of the founding members (shareholders or guarantors) of the company. It contains their names and agreement to form the company and become members by taking at least one share or guaranteeing an amount of money to the company.
You are not required to complete this form, but you must provide certain details during the registration process that Companies House will require for entering on the memorandum. A copy will be given to you after incorporation. The memorandum will also be shown on the central public register of companies.
How to incorporate with Companies House
Companies House provides online and postal incorporation services, which take between 2-10 days to process. You are not required to do any physical paperwork if you use the online service unless you are submitting an application that was rejected or you are asked to send additional documentation.
Following are some documents that you will be required to submit for registering a company by post.
- Form IN01 Application to register a company
- The articles of association
- The memorandum of association
- Supporting documents if there is any sensitive words or expressions in your company name
You can use the postal application form to register a company limited by shares or guarantee with the model or altered articles. However, the online service from Companies House can only be used to set up a company limited by shares with model articles.