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A guide to registering with Companies House

3-minute read

Josh Hall

4 April 2018

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Registering your company or partnership with Companies House is one of the most important steps in setting up your new venture.

Registering with Companies House can be a daunting prospect, but provided that you have the right information gathered together, it’s relatively simple. Or, if you prefer, you can pay a registrar to do it for you.

Read on for a guide to registering with Companies House.

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Do I need to register with Companies House?

Whether or not you need to register with Companies House depends on the legal structure you've chosen for your business. Sole traders do not need to register with Companies House. Instead, they must simply register with HMRC and complete an annual Self Assessment tax return.

However, if you’re starting a limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP), you are legally required to register with Companies House.

How much does it cost to register with Companies House?

The cost for registering with Companies House depends on the way in which you send your application, and whether you do it yourself or pay a third party registrar.

  • If you choose to register yourself, it can cost as little as £12, provided you register online. The fee can be paid by debit or credit card, or Paypal, and the application normally takes 24 hours.
  • If you register by post the fee is £40, and you will be set up within eight to ten days.
  • If you need to be registered on the same day, you can pay a fee of £100, provided you complete your registration online by 3pm.

The fees charged by third party registrars vary, but it’s often possible to register a company this way for as little as £30.

Can I use a third party to register with Companies House?

Yes, there are many registrars that can complete the registration process for you with Companies House. They will handle all the paperwork, for which they charge a fee.

Many new companies choose to use registrars for several reasons. First, they can be confident that the application process will be handled correctly. Additionally, registrars often offer services including registered addresses (many of which are in prestigious London locations), directors’ service addresses (in order that directors’ residential addresses are not on the public record), and mail forwarding from HMRC and Companies House.

How to register with Companies House as a sole trader

If you’re operating as a sole trader, rather than a limited company, you don’t need to register with Companies House. However, you will need to register with HMRC, and complete an annual Self Assessment tax return. You may also need to register for VAT.

If you’re not sure which legal structure to choose, read more about the differences between sole traders and limited companies.

How to register a limited company with Companies House

If you choose to register a limited company with Companies House yourself, the process is simple. First, there are a few pieces of information you’ll need, including your company name (read more about choosing a name for your company), address, and details of company directors and secretary where relevant. You’ll also need memorandum and articles of association – you can download a memorandum and articles of association template.

Next, you’ll need to register with Companies House. You should make sure that you keep your registration details safe, as you’ll need them to file further documents, which you’ll be required to do at least annually.

Once you’re registered, just follow the step-by-step process. Provided that you’ve completed the form correctly and paid the fee, you should appear on the register within 24 hours.

Register a company with Companies House here.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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