A private limited company is a legal entity in its own right. Therefore, compared to a sole trader or partnership there are different requirements when registering and setting up a limited company. The following steps will guide you through registering a limited company:

  1. Register with Companies House

For this you will need:

  • A suitable company name
  • An address for the company
    • Your company address can be your home or office address or alternatively, you can pay a small fee to use your accountant’s address or have a ‘virtual office’ address in a geographical location of your choice.
  • At least one director
  • Details of the company’s shares – you will need at least one shareholder
  • Your Standard Industry Classification (SIC) code which identifies what your company does. Check your SIC code here
  • An agreement from your shareholders to create the company and the written rules – memorandum and articles of association
  • Details of people with significant control (PSC) over your company

See also: Which business structure is right for me?


If you have all this information to hand, you can register online here. You can also register by post by completing form IN01.

Once your application is accepted, you will receive a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’ which confirms the company legally exists and also identifies the company number and date of formation.

  1. Register for Corporation Tax

You must register the business for Corporation Tax within three months of starting to do business. Register for corporation tax here. https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/registration/newbusiness/introduction

For this, you will need your companies 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) which will be sent to you shortly after registering with the Companies House.


See also: How to set-up a business partnership


When registering for Corporation Tax you will need the following details:

  • Your company registration number
  • The date you started to do business
  • The date the annual accounts are submitted

Once you have registered, HMRC will tell you the deadline for paying Corporation Tax, and you will need to ensure you file a company tax return. https://www.gov.uk/company-tax-returns

  1. Register for VAT

Despite registering as a limited company, you will not automatically be registered for Value Added Tax (VAT).


See also: How to register your business for VAT


You will have to register for VAT if your turnover reaches, or is expected to reach the current VAT registration threshold of £85,000 (from 1st April 2017), during any 12-month period.

When you register for VAT you will need to charge VAT to all your customers, and you will also be able to claim back the VAT you have paid for work-related costs.

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