United Kingdom: Non-profit/For-profit Company Registry Requirements

The United Kingdom recognizes many business forms including public limited companies, private companies limited by shares, private companies limited by guarantee, private unlimited companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, Societas Europea (EU-wide company structure), companies incorporated by Royal Charter, community interest companies, and charitable incorporated organisations. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For any particular venture, personal and business circumstances will dictate the business form of choice. The following items are typically needed to register in the UK with Companies House, the government agency responsible for incorporating and dissolving limited companies as well as registering company information:

  • A suitable company name that is different from any company that already exists, which must get approval from Companies House—check if your company name is available here and read about name-related rules here
  • A registered office for the company, which is the address that will appear on Companies House records—rules listed here
  • What the company plans to do, which requires searching the correct SIC code– you can check here
  • At least one company director (and if required, a company secretary)—rules listed here
  • Initial shareholder details: there must be at least one initial shareholder, and this person can be the same as the director—rules listed here
  • Details of the company’s shares—you need at least one shareholder
  • For each shareholder, you will need basic details and some pieces of identifying information (National Insurance number, eye color, telephone number, mother’s maiden name, father’s first name, passport number)
  • Details of people with significant control over the company must also be provided—guidelines provided here
  • Prepare memorandum and articles of association—details and template provided here

Register Now:

  • Register online here
  • Register for Corporation Tax here

Registrations by Location:

  • England and Wales—company registrations are carried out in Cardiff
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland—company registrations are carried out in Edinburgh and Belfast
  • London office—provides search services, documents can be delivered here

Companies House Services:

Instructions and requirements for each type of business entity can be found here. It is recommended that you contact an attorney before choosing your type of business entity:


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