Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about forming a company in the UK. If you can’t find what you are looking for, get in touch with us via LIVE CHAT and we would be happy to help.
You can also Book a Call Back from one of our agents.
1. Forming a Company
The company formation application is an online form.
STEP 1: Choose a Company Formation Package (here)
STEP 2: Choose a Company Name that is available (this will be done during the application process)
STEP 3: Complete the step-by-step application form to enter all the details of your new company (see what information you will need)
STEP 4: Make a Payment (using any debit or credit card at the end of the form)
STEP 5: Receive your Company Documents within 24 hours delivered to your email
To complete your company registration application in the UK you will need the following information.
1. For each Director/Shareholder you will need
- First name and Middle name
- Last name
- Date of Birth
- Occupation (eg. company director, owner, accountant)
- Country of Residence
- Residential Address
- Director Correspondence Address (will be public, many of our packages include the use of our Director Correspondence Address)
2. For Each Shareholder you will also need to decide
- Share Currency
- Number of Shares
- Value Per Share
Share Currencies can be GBP, EUR, USD
3. Registered Office Address
You will need to provide the Legal Registered Office of the Company. This address will be public and it will be the address where any legal government issued documents are delivered.
So it is important that you can access your post here and that you are happy to have this address on public record.
Many of our packages include a Registered Office Address, offering you complete address privacy.
4. Business Trading Activity
You will need to choose a Business Trading Activity for your business. This will be publicly listed with your company online.
Yes. You can form a company with 1 person who is both the shareholder and the director of the company. This is not uncommon for a startup company.
Companies House restrictions
Anyone can be a UK company director including international residents, but some rules do apply in order to qualify as a UK Limited company director these include
- -You must be 16 years old or older
- -You must not be banned from being a company director by a court, or you must not have been declared bankrupt
Can a company director be based outside the UK?
Directors do not have to live in the UK or be a UK resident, but the companies must have a UK registered office address. A director must be 16 or over and not be disqualified from being a director, or declared bankrupt, other than that they may live anywhere in the world and have no need to be in the UK during or after they become a director.
If you are a non UK resident and meet all the criteria of being able to register a company, then we have the registered office add on available, or you maybe interested in our complete package which includes everything you need to start trading in the UK with our Pine Package.
What is a Shareholder?
A shareholder is a member of a company who has subscribed to a certain number of shares. A Limited company may have one or more shareholders and each shareholder is effectively an owner of the company.
Company shareholders are not personally liable for the company’s debts and financial obligations as they are protected by limited liability. This means, their liability is limited to the value of the investment they have made in the company.
A shareholder can be:
- an individual
- a partnership
- a company, or any other corporate body
- to Invest in a company.
- To Contributing to company debts up to the limit of their liability.
Entitlement to profits and surplus capital
- Receiving a portion of available profits in relation to their holdings.
- Receiving a portion of surplus capital if and when the company is dissolved.
Appointing and removing directors.
- Deciding which powers to grant to directors.
- Setting directors’ salaries.
Making any decisions which are outside the scope of the Company Directors duties
Company limited by shares:
The more common company structure used for a for-profit business. The liability of the members (shareholders) is limited to the value of the shares that member holds. In practice, directors of small companies may be asked to supply creditors with personal guarantees against particular debts.
An LLP is a corporate entity where the partners’ liability is limited, there are no directors or shareholders, and the business is taxed like a partnership. LLPs must have at least one general partner and one limited partner. A limited partner is only liable for debts up to the amount he or she has contributed to the business. However, a general partner is liable for any debts that the business cannot pay.
Learn more about Limited Liability Partnerships.
A company structure in which the liability of members is limited to a nominal sum they have guaranteed to contribute if the company is wound up. Not-for-profit organisations commonly adopt this form. There are no shareholders in this type of company as there is no share capital.
A company that has a minimum share capital (currently at least £50,000) with a minimum 25% paid-up nominal value for each share and which is registered as a public company. Only public companies are allowed to offer shares and debentures to the public.
A type of legal status for social enterprises or businesses that use their profits for the benefit of the local community or the wider public. CICs must ensure that assets and profits are used this way and not for private gain.
A Shelf Company is a ready-made company that can be bought from solicitors and company registration agents. This can be the quickest and easiest way of getting a limited company up and running.
If you a looking for a shelf company, Seed Formations offer a small range of shelf companies for sale. Please contact us to learn more.
A company in which the shareholders have unlimited liability and are liable for all of the company’s debts.
A company that has not traded since its incorporation or has ceased trading. A small dormant company can file dormant accounts, which do not need to include an audit report, with Companies House.
You can use our company name checker here
Simply enter the name of the company you wish to incorporate and press enter to find out if the company name is available to register.
In the application form, you will be asked to provide a Forwarding Address for each address service you have with us. The forwarding address is an administrative address which we need for our own internal records. This is the address we will send any post to, if you request it. We will not contact you on this address other then for forwarding post on your request.
You can change your forwarding address later if you move or your circumstances change.
- Once you submit the application form you will receive an instant on-screen confirmation
- You will also receive a confirmation email with the invoice
- We will review your application and if required we will request ID verification documents by email.
- Your company will enter a processing queue and once it is approved by Companies House we will email you all your Company Documents immediately
- If you have chosen any additional services such as a free domain name, these will be sent to you by email within a few hours of your company being formed.
2. ID Verification
Suitable proof of ID Documents
– Driving licence (photocard only, no paper UK driving licences can be accepted)
– National identity card
– HM Forces identity card
– Student Card (must be current)
– Employment identification card
– Disabled drivers blue pass
Suitable proof of Address Documents
– Telephone Bill (not a mobile Bill)
– Utility Bills eg. Gas, Water, Electricity Bill
– Mortgage statement
– Council tax bill
– Bank statement
Suitable proof of ID for Corporate Bodies
– Company Certificate
– Company Register
– Proof of Company Address (dated within the last 3 months)
– Current Appointments Report
These are the most common circumstances under which we will request a proof if ID and proof of address from the officers in the company.
- If you use any of our company address services
- If you are not a UK resident
- If you are forming a company for someone else
After we receive your company registration application we will review it and if required we will request ID verification from you by EMAIL. You can reply to that email attaching the requested documents.
3. Company Address Services
We offer 3 difference Address Services. The Director Service Address and Registered Office Address are legal service addresses which will be public with your company on Companies House while the Business Trading Address is like a virtual office address.
Registered Office Address
You must provide a UK based address as your Legal Company Registered Office address. You can use any UK address including a home address, however this address will be public on Companies House. To avoid this, we recommend purchasing a package which includes a Registered Office Address.
What mail can you receive: With a registered office address you can receive mail from government organisations only. It is only a legal service address.
The registered office address is included in the WILLOW, PINE, OAK and NON RESIDENT PACKAGES) – view packages
Directors Service Address
Director’s must also provide a Director Correspondence Address which will be listed publicly with your company listing on Companies House. To avoid making a your actual home address public, you can choose a package which includes the use of our UK address in place of your own.
What mail can you receive: With a director service address you can receive mail from government organisations only. It is only a legal service address.
(The Director Service Address is included in the PINE AND OAK PACKAGES and the NON RESIDENT PACKAGE) – view packages
Business Trading Address
3. We also offer a Business Trading Address Service which is Virtual Office Service which will allow you to use our address as a general trading address, You will also be able to use the address on your website, adverts, business cards, invoices etc.
What mail can you receive: We would be able to accept mail from partners, suppliers, customers, parcels and bank cards for you if you have a business trading address with us.
(The business trading address is included in the OAK PACKAGE and the NON RESIDENT PACKAGE) – view packages
A registered office is the statutory address of a Limited Company. It is a mandatory requirement of forming a company in the UK. This address will be the official address of your UK Company and it will be publicly available on Companies House Register of Companies.
This address will be used by Government Bodies to contact you company such as Companies House, HMRC, ICO, Government Gateway, IPO and DWP. It is therefore very important that you are able to receive post on this address.
- Your company must be able to receive post at this address.
- The address cannot be a P.O Box Address
- If the company is registered under Scottish jurisdiction, the address must be a physical address in Scotland.
- If the company is registered under the England and Wales jurisdiction, it must be a physical address in England or Wales.
- A registered office must be a full physical address (not a PO Box Number) that is situated in the UK jurisdiction where a company or LLP is registered, which will be England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Yes. You are able to update the registered office address of a company at anytime. It is important that you keep your company record up to date so you receive important mail from Government organisations and it is a legal requirement for you to.
If you are purchasing our UK Registered Office Address Service, we offer to update your company records with your new registered office address free of charge.
A Director Service Address is a correspondence address for a Director. It is a mandatory requirement of a company formation, to provide this information. We do offer a Director Service Address which costs just £17.88 per year. However, the Registered Office Address cannot be used as a Director Service Address, you will need to purchase the Director Service Address product separately.
See more details on the Director Service Address
The registered office address service only covers the use of the address on Companies House as your company’s official address. It cannot be used for advertising or for any trade mail. If you would like to use our address as a business trading address, which will allow you to receive communication from customers, suppliers and partners plus you can use the address on your website, emails, letterheads, invoices etc. – you will need to purchase the Business Trading Address service. This service costs only £72 per year.
Learn more about the Business Trading address service>>
We will scan and email any Government-issued mail receive for your company, to your chosen email address.
You can request to have your mail forward to an address in the UK or outside the UK for a small postage fee. The fee equals the standard royal mail fees + 12.5% handling charges.
You can check royal mail service fees here.
If you prefer to have your mail couriered to you, let us know and we will gladly assist.
We store your mail at our offices: 2 Frederick Street, London, WC1X 0ND
We keep your mail for 6 months, during which time, you are able to collect your mail by contacting us to arrange a collection date and time.
During a company formation or at the admission of any new directors – Companies House require an address for all directors of a UK company and the partners of Limited Liability Partnerships. Any documents from Companies House or HMRC addressed to the Director will be sent to this address. You can use your residential address however, you must be aware that this address will be on public record.
This is why many Directors choose to use a Director Service Address to shield their personal addresses from the public.
The address is 2 Frederick Street, London, WC1X 0ND. An upmarket, central London location.
The Director Service Address costs just £17.88 per year and includes free scan and email of your mail.
After your first year, the service will renew at £17.88 per year.
- If you are forming a new company with Seed Formations
You can choose to add a Director Service Address on to your company formation while completing your incorporation online. OR choose from one of our affordable all-inclusive company formation packages. The Mighty Oak pacakage includes the use of our Director Service Address plus much more. View Package
2. If already have a company and need to change your Service Address
You can purchase our Director service address by
> Creating an account on our site
> Importing your company into our system (using just your company number and authentication code)
> Once your company is imported, you can visit your personalised ‘Shop’ area and simply add on the Director Service Address
> Once you purchase the address, the system will ask you which director you would like to assign this address to in your company
> Make your selection and this will all be updated at Companies House within a few hours
If you need assistance at any point, get in touch with us and we can help you over the phone.
All mail received will be Scanned and Emailed to your chosen email address. If you require the hardcopies of your mail, you simply need to let us know within 7 days of receiving your scanned copies and we will forward the mail to your chosen address.
Scan and email is included in the Director Service Address product
However, should you require hardcopies of your mail, please note this will incur a small fee equating to Royal Mail postage charges + 12.5%
Yes. But you will need to buy the address separately for each Company Director.
We will keep it for 6 months before it is destroyed.
Yes. Please contact us to arrange a collection time. Collections are free of charge.
If you still have remaining days left on your Director Service Address product, you can still use the address for the new company.
Please contact us and we will update your records accordingly.
Free Scan and Email
All our address services include free scan and email of your post to your chosen email address. We usually scan and email post to you on the day we receive it.
Posting Out Mail
If you need any mail to be posted to you, you can let us know and we will arrange this for you. You will need to pay the postage charges depending on your preference on speed and service providers (ie. royal mail / courier)
You are welcome to arrange a free collection of your post from our offices in Kings Cross, London. You can arrange a free collection here
(this is suspended until further notice, due to the corona-virus health and safety issues)
4. Annual Renewal Fees
You are free to renew which ever services you like. Our services renew annually. You can manage your renewals from your account on our website. (ie. turn off auto renew, cancel some/all of your services)
REGISTERED OFFICE ADDRESS
£23.76 + vat per year
DIRECTOR SERVICE ADDRESS
£17.88 + vat per year
BUSINESS TRADING ADDRESS
£72 + vat per year
RESERVE A COMPANY NAME
£49.99 + vat per year
£19.99 + vat per year
(free for the first year)
£19.99 + vat per year
£49.99 + vat per year
6. Import a Company
Already own a UK company? You can import your company into your account and voila! You can take advantage of all the perks of Seed Formations -FREE. Plus, you can purchase a range of company services if you need them.
STEP 1: Login
If you are not already a customer, the very first step is to create an account
If you are already a customer, you need to Login
STEP 2: Import your Company
From your Account Dashboard Home Page. You need to click on the button ‘IMPORT’
STEP 3: Enter your Company Number and Authentication Code
Enter your company details and click Import. And your company will instantly be imported.
If you navigate to the menu item ‘COMPANIES > ‘VIEW ALL COMPANIES’ – you will now see your imported company or companies.
If you click ‘VIEW’ button – you can view and edit your company information. You can also file changes at companies house.
View our Company Service Price List here
- – Get Free Company Deadline Reminders sent to your email address before your major company deadlines. Never submit your company annual accounts or confirmation statement late again.
- – See all your companies in one easy to use dashboard
- – Import as many companies as you like
- – Keep your company authentication codes and important company dates all in one place
- – Log in to download your company documents whenever you need them
- – Get amazing customer services from the team at Seed Formations and access to affordable company services to help you maintain your legal company obligations.
9. Limited by Guarantee
The company limited by guarantee is a type of company legal structure used by not-for-profit organisations, social or community projects, charities and clubs and membership associations that require legal company status in the UK.
Because it is a separate legal entity from it’s owners, protects those who are running the company from personal liability for any debts that may arise upon insolvency or winding up.
A company limited by guarantee is very similar to a private company limited by shares (also known as a Limited Company). However, the main difference is that it cannot have shareholders nor can it raise capital by selling shares.
A Company Limited by Guarantee is also subject to a number of rules set out by HMRC and Companies House which means their reporting requirements are also different from a Limited Company.
Like all Companies, a Company Limited by Guarantee would need to first register as a company with Companies House and HMRC for Corporation Tax – before it can start trading legally.
What is a Guarantor:
- they are company members
- they are the people who control the company and make important decisions
- they must promise an agreed amount of money to the company if it can’t pay its debts
- don’t usually take profit from the company – instead the money is kept within the company or used for other purposes
Guarantee companies must have at least one director and member. One person may be both the Guarantor and Director. The Director will be responsible for managing the day to day activities of a company.
Limited by guarantee companies are non-trading entities and are not subject to corporation tax on profits. However, you will still need to register for Corporation Tax with HMRC.
However, they are subject to corporation tax on some earnings. For example:
- – investment income
- – any interest earned on investment income
10. Company Taxes
What is the rate of UK Corporation Tax
For the financial year starting 1 April 2019, the corporation tax rate is 19% and will be reduced to 17% from 1 April 2020.
How to register for UK Corporation Tax
Once your company has been successfully formed and admitted to the Register of UK Companies, HMRC will send a Unique Taxpayer Reference (also known as a UTR) to the company’s registered office within 10-14 working days.
This letter will explain how to set up an online account to submit and manage company tax returns and give the dates for the accounting period on their records.
You will need to follow the instructions on this letter to create your own online tax account. For security reasons we cannot do this for you. However you can choose to appoint an accountant to do this for you.
Need help finding an accountant? Let us know
Registering for Taxes
Once you register your new Limited Company in the UK. there are 3 main types of taxes which you need to ensure that the company is registered for:
- Corporation Tax
- VAT (only compulsory when you cross £85000 turnover in a 12 month period)
- PAYE (if you plan to employ people)
Self Assessment Tax – Company Directors may need to register for Self Assessment Tax as well.
Once your Company is incorporated HMRC will issue a CT41G notice which will contain your company UTR (unique tax reference number) This UTR number is required to complete your tax registration online. This will usually be issued within 14 days and will be delivered to your Registered Office Address.
It is important that you keep your UTR number safe, as you will need it to register for any other taxes (such as PAYE or VAT). It will also be required for submitting and paying any Corporation Tax due.
Corporation Tax is a tax paid on profits of a company for a specific period. In the UK the rate of corporation tax is currently 19%.
A company must submit a CT600 (Company Tax Return Form) to HMRC within 12 months of the period end to which it relates to. You will need to pay any outstanding Corporation Tax Liability within 9 months and 1 day of the end of the period to which it relates.
You must register for VAT when you sales turnover is going to exceed £85000 in any 12 month period. At this point, you are legally required to register for VAT
Before this, you can register voluntarily should you wish to. However, this does not exempt you from submitting VAT returns periodically.
Once you register for VAT (voluntarily/compulsory) you must start charging VAT on applicable services/products and you must submit VAT returns and pay any VAT due.
VAT registration is included in selected Company Packages (OAK, NON RESIDENT)
However, you can also purchase this as a stand-alone service or add it onto any package. – view packages
How long does VAT registration take?
It can take 3-4 weeks to get your VAT number issued and sent over to you by email
How to let us know you are ready to register for VAT
Once your company is formed and if your chosen package includes a VAT registration, we will send you a link to a form where you can let us know when you are ready for us to proceed with your VAT registration.
Vat is a tax levied on the sale of goods and/or services by UK businesses. It is compulsory for a business to register for VAT if the turnover is expected to, or does exceed £85000 in a 12 month period.
The standard VAT rate in the UK is currently 20%
If your company is VAT registered you will be required to
- – Charge VAT on each of your invoices
- – Submit quarterly VAT returns before the due date
- – Pay any VAT owed by the due date
- – Keep an account of VAT on an ongoing basis (ie. proper record keeping)
Check the latest VAT Updates on HMRC website
Making Tax Digital
Tax is changing. The UK Government’s new tax initiative is set to revolutionise the industry. Under this new system, the information will be filed electronically using government-approved software and paper submissions will no longer be accepted.
PAYE (Paye As You Earn)
If you intend to pay the director a salary or employ UK based staff – you will need to register for PAYE in advance.
What happens when an employee is paid:
- You will be required to deduct income tax and national insurance from their salary
- You will need to pay these deductions over to HMRC
- A declaration of this will need to be made using RTI rules every time you make a salary payment.
If you provide taxable benefits or make certain expense reimbursements to any individual in the business, these need to be reported to HMRC each year on a P11D form.
Form a Company in the UK
Form a Company with Seed Formations and be ready to trade within 24 hours.
from £12.49 + vat