Time to Incorporate Your Small Business?

By QuickBooks UK

2 min read

Is it time to incorporate your business but have you been putting it off because of all the expense and hassle?

In the UK, “to incorporate” is generally known as forming a business. It works on the same principles as registering a first-time business and usually happens at the same time. At each step, the government’s own website will help guide your decisions.

Incorporate your business: what type of business are you?

There are specific rules about what kind of businesses can register or incorporate in the UK. The UK government advises that you can only apply if your business is classified as a “private company limited by shares.” In other words, you must have already set up a private limited company; an integral part of which will be registering with Companies House. To do so, you will need:

  • An address for the company
  • At least one director
  • At least one shareholder
  • The agreement of all initial shareholders to create a company
  • Details of the company’s shares and the rights attached to them
  • Written rules on how the company is run
  • A bank account or PayPal account with at least £15 to cover fees

In addition, you will need to supply details about the directors and shareholders on demand. Typically, you will already have most of this in place before registering. This leads to your next decision…

Incorporate your business: What to Name Your Corporation

If you’re already set on a particular name for your corporation, this is the decision that can cause a lot of hair-pulling; corporate names have specific requirements and because of the ever increasing number of corporations, there’s a really good chance the name you want is already taken.

The best thing to do is to be flexible and pick three or four names you can live with that meet all the requirements.

Corporate names must meet the following requirements:

  • Not being identical to, or too similar to a pre-existing name
  • Not suggesting a connection to government or local authorities where none exists;
  • They must include a legal element, identifying the company as a corporation, such as Limited, LTD or Cyfyngedig if you’re based in Wales.

Once you’ve got your name wish list in hand, you’ll need to search the Companies House database to see if there are any other identical or similar names to your chosen name.

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Incorporate your business: Then Follow the Steps

Once you have all the documents listed above and have checked to make sure your company name is OK to use, you simply need to do one of the following:

1) Register Online
The Companies House website has an online portal for registering your company. You will need your company details and £15, usually payable via Debit Card or PayPal.

2) File your documents via post.
You can choose to register manually by filling in form IN01 and posting it to the relevant government department. Be warned: this process takes longer and will cost more.

Congratulations on your new corporation!  Your new Inc. is ready for business.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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