What is Incorporation of Company in the UK?

Paola Faben Oliveira

Thinking of starting a business? One of the first things you’ll need to know about is how to properly register it, especially if it’s a limited company.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials you need to know about UK company incorporation. This includes what it is, the steps to do it and what documents you’ll need to complete the process.

So, let’s get started.

What is incorporation of company?

Incorporation is the process of registering a new business as a limited company. This is a legal entity which has a separate identity from the business owner.

You can’t run a limited company in the UK unless you’ve incorporated it at Companies House. This is an executive agency of the British Government, which is responsible for maintaining the register of companies in the UK.

💡 Read more: How to start a business in the United Kingdom

UK company incorporation

In the UK, there are three different ways you can incorporate a company¹:

  • Submit an application through Electronic Software Filing
  • Use the UK.gov web service to set up a limited company and register for Corporation Tax online
  • Submit a paper application form through the post.

In all cases, you’ll need to complete an application form including all the required details about your business and its owners. You’ll also need to provide a number of supporting documents, which we’ll look at next.

Lastly, there’s a small fee to pay of between £10 and £40¹, depending which application method you use.

Incorporation documents

When you submit your application form (form IN01¹), you’ll also need to provide the following incorporation documents¹:

  • Memorandum of association - this is a document outlining your intention to form a company. If your new business will be limited by shares, it will also include the agreement between members to take a designated proportion of shares.
  • Articles of association - this is your company’s internal rulebook, a legally binding set of policies for how your business will be organised and run.

Companies examples

There are a few different types of limited company you can form with incorporation in the UK¹:

  • Public limited company - this is a company with a share capital, which may offer its shares for sale to the public on the stock exchange.
  • Private company limited by shares - another company with a share capital, this is where the liability of each member is limited to the amount unpaid on their shares. Shares are not offered for sale to the general public.
  • Private company limited by guarantee - this company type doesn’t have shares, so its members are guarantors rather than shareholders.
  • Private unlimited company - this business type may or may not have a share capital, and there’s no limit to members’ liability.

Read more about business incorporation:

If you want to explore more topics and contents related to starting a business in the UK, have a look into some other articles that can come in handy:

Wise Business - setting up a limited company in the UK

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It’ll be quick and simple to apply, for a fee of just £55. Your application will be handled by an approved company formation agent, who will securely send your application to Companies House.

So, you can focus on getting your new business off the ground.

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After reading this, you should have a better idea of what UK company incorporation is. We’ve looked at company types, how to apply, fees and the key documents you’ll need.

Sources used:

  1. Gov.uk - Incorporation

Sources last checked on date: 13-Feb-2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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