How to Set Up a Limited Company? – Setting Up a Limited Company Checklist

How to Set Up a Limited Company? - Setting Up a Limited Company Checklist

Setting up a Limited Company can be daunting, but it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do as an entrepreneur. A Limited Company allows you to separate your personal and business finances, protect your assets, and build credibility with your clients. In this blog, we will walk you through all the steps you need to follow to set up a successful Limited Company.

From understanding what a Limited Company is and why you should consider setting one up to choosing the right type of company, registering it with Companies House, and fulfilling all legal and compliance obligations. We have also compiled a checklist that you can refer to at any point in time during the process. So whether you are just starting or looking to expand your existing business, this guide has everything you need to know about setting up a Limited Company.

What is a Limited Company?

What is a Limited Company?

Limited companies are separate legal entities from their owners and protect shareholders in case of financial liabilities. Registering with the government and appointing directors and shareholders is required to set up a limited company. This involves creating articles of association and registering with Companies House.

As a separate legal entity, limited companies must comply with legal requirements such as filing annual accounts and complying with tax regulations. It is recommended to consult with a lawyer or accountant to ensure proper setup and compliance with regulations.

Why Should You Consider Setting Up a Limited Company?

Incorporating your business as a limited company offers many advantages that can benefit you and your business:

  • It provides limited liability protection, separating personal and business finances, which can safeguard your assets in case of financial liabilities
  • Setting up a limited company can give your business a more professional image, potentially attracting more customers or clients
  • Limited companies offer tax advantages and may be able to claim certain expenses as tax-deductible, providing cost savings for your small business.

How Much Does It Cost to Set Up a Limited Company?

Starting a limited company brings many benefits but comes with a cost. The expense of setting up a company can vary depending on your country and region. In addition to company registration fees, you must consider legal fees for creating documents such as the memorandum of association and articles of association. Other costs may include services like registered office addresses, accounting, and taxation.

Budgeting for ongoing maintenance costs, such as annual filing fees and tax returns, is important. Seeking professional advice from an accountant or business advisor can help you better understand the costs of setting up a limited company and avoid unpleasant surprises. Despite the initial expense, incorporating your business could be a smart move in the long run, especially if you want to expand your business or enjoy limited liability protection.

How Much is Corporation Tax for a Limited Company?

How Much is Corporation Tax for a Limited Company

Paying corporation tax is essential to running a limited company, but it cannot be easy to navigate. Corporation tax is calculated based on the profits of a limited company, and the current rate in the UK is 19%. Accurate record-keeping and timely filing of your corporation tax return are important to avoid penalties.

Seeking advice from an accountant or tax specialist can help ensure you meet all your obligations and take advantage of any available deductions or credits. It’s important to remember that even small businesses may be liable for corporation tax, so planning is essential.

How to Set Up a Limited Company?

Setting up a limited corporation may appear difficult, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a simple procedure. The first step is to choose a unique name for your company and ensure it’s available for registration. Then, once you have decided on the structure of your company and appointed directors and shareholders, you need to register with Companies House and HMRC.

Finally, it’s essential to create important legal documents such as articles of association, which outline how your company will be governed, and shareholder agreements that set out the rights and obligations of each shareholder.

Choosing the Type of Limited Company

When choosing the type of limited company you want to set up, it’s important to understand your options and how they may impact your business. A private limited company (Ltd) is the most common type of limited company. It offers a range of benefits, such as limited liability protection for shareholders and directors, a separate legal identity from its owners, and greater flexibility in ownership and management structure.

On the other hand, a public limited company (PLC) is more suitable for larger businesses looking to raise capital by offering shares to the public, but it comes with additional regulatory requirements. So consider your business needs carefully when choosing between these two limited companies.

Private vs Public Limited Company

When deciding to set up a limited company, one of the crucial decisions that need to be made is whether to go for a private limited company or a public limited company. A private limited company is owned by a small group of shareholders who are also directors, and its shares cannot be traded publicly.

In contrast, a public limited company can have unlimited shareholders, and its shares can be traded on the stock market. The decision between these two types of companies hinges on various factors, such as the size of your business, financial goals, and regulatory requirements.

What is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)?

What is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)?

A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is popular when exploring business structures. It combines the benefits of a traditional partnership with limited liability protection for its partners. Each partner’s assets are protected if the business faces financial difficulties or legal issues.

LLPs also allow partners to participate in business management while having a separate legal entity for tax purposes. These features make LLPs attractive to professional service providers, such as lawyers and accountants, who want to share profits while limiting liability.

Pros and Cons of Each Type

Several factors must be considered when choosing the right type of limited company. Private limited companies offer limited liability protection and easy transfer of ownership, making them a popular choice for small businesses. Public limited companies, on the other hand, have access to capital through the stock market but require more regulatory compliance.

Finally, limited liability partnerships (LLPs) provide flexibility in management and tax benefits and are suited for professional service firms. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of each type before making a decision that aligns with your business needs and goals.

Getting Prepared for a Limited Company

Setting up a limited company requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a smooth process. First, it’s essential to choose a suitable name for your business and check its availability. The structure of the company and the number of shareholders should also be decided upon. Once these decisions have been made, registering your company with Companies House is the next step.

Obtaining a unique registration number, setting up a business bank account, and registering for taxation are crucial aspects that must be taken care of before starting your business. Finally, a shareholder agreement outlining how the company will operate and allocate profits must also be created. By following this checklist, you can ensure you’re well-prepared for setting up your limited company.

Choosing a Name

When choosing a name for your limited company, choosing one that reflects your business’s values and purpose is important. Remember to research the availability of your chosen name beforehand to ensure it isn’t already in use by another company or too similar to existing trademarks.

Additionally, you should ensure that your chosen name complies with legal requirements in your state or country. Finally, a unique and memorable name can help distinguish your business from competitors and attract potential customers.

Registering a Business Address

When registering a limited company, it is essential to provide a business address. This address will be publicly available on the Companies House register, so choosing a suitable location is important. You can use your home address or rent a virtual office, but remember that your home address may compromise your privacy. If you move premises, update your business address with Companies House promptly. Failure to do so could have legal repercussions.

Appointing Directors and Shareholders

Appointing Directors and Shareholders

Selecting the right individuals for the roles of directors and shareholders is crucial to the success of your limited company. The directors are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the organization, while shareholders have a say in major decisions such as appointing directors.

Ensure you choose individuals with the necessary skills and experience to perform their roles effectively. Consider the number of directors and shareholders needed, their responsibilities and voting rights. Properly appointing your directors and shareholders can help ensure your limited company is set up for long-term success.

Creating Articles of Association

When setting up a limited company, creating Articles of Association is a crucial step to consider. This legal document outlines the rules and regulations governing the company’s internal affairs, including the company’s purpose, directors’ powers, and how meetings are conducted.

It’s important to ensure that your Articles of Association are tailored to meet your business needs and comply with all relevant legal requirements. Seeking professional advice can ensure that your Articles of Association are legally sound, ultimately ensuring the success of your limited company.

Other Legal Requirements

When setting up a limited company, several legal requirements must be met. This includes registering with Companies House, appointing directors and shareholders, creating articles of association, and maintaining accurate financial planning and records.

In addition to these basic requirements, you may need licenses or permits for certain business activities. Ensuring that all legal requirements are met is crucial for the smooth operation of your limited company. Seeking professional advice can help you stay on top of your obligations and avoid potential legal issues.

Registering Your Limited Company

Once you have prepared all the necessary documents, it’s time to register your limited company with Companies House. The first step is to choose a suitable name for your company and ensure it’s available. Next, decide on the number of directors and shareholders for your company.

Once you have all this information, you can submit the required documentation and the registration fee to Companies House. You will then be issued a unique registration number for your limited company. Finally, set up a business bank account and register for taxes such as VAT and corporation tax to ensure your limited company is fully operational.

How to Register With Companies House?

Registering your limited company with Companies House is a straightforward process that requires submitting basic information about your business, such as its name, address, and directors. Then, you can register online or by mail using the appropriate form. Once registered, you’ll receive a certificate of incorporation confirming your company’s legal formation.

Maintaining accurate records and filing annual accounts and tax returns with Companies House is essential to keep your company compliant with legal requirements. Failure to do so may result in penalties or sanctions that could negatively impact your business. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with filing deadlines and ensure that all documentation and fees are submitted on time.

Required Documentation and Fees

When registering your limited company with Companies House, it’s essential to ensure that you have all the required documentation and fees. The documentation includes a memorandum of association, articles of association, and a completed IN01 form. You will also need to pay the registration fee, which varies depending on your chosen method and type of company.

Accurate completion of all documents is crucial, as errors can cause delays or even rejection of your application. Seeking guidance from a professional accountant or a company formation agent can help simplify the process and ensure legal compliance.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Setting up a limited company is exciting, but the registration process can seem daunting. One of the most significant questions on business owners’ minds is how long it takes to complete the registration process and start trading. This timeline varies depending on several factors, such as the type of company being registered, the complexity of your company structure, and any legal requirements that must be met before registration can be completed.

In some cases, registering a limited company can take only a few hours. In contrast, other situations may require several weeks for your company to be registered and ready for business. This process’s duration can also depend on factors such as the availability of company names and whether all necessary documents are completed correctly.

Therefore, doing your research and planning to ensure you have enough time to complete the registration process before beginning operations is critical.

Funding Your Limited Company

Funding Your Limited Company

When setting up a limited company, funding is a crucial aspect to consider. Before investing in your business, evaluating the initial costs, such as registration and legal fees, is important. Once you know the expenses clearly, explore different funding options like loans, grants, or crowdfunding.

Remember that your financial situation should be considered while determining how much you can invest in the company. Additionally, bringing on investors or partners can provide support to fund the growth of your business.

Business Bank Accounts

A separate business bank account is crucial for legal and tax purposes when setting up a limited company. To minimize confusion between personal and business accounts, it’s essential to have separate accounts for the two entities.

Consider low fees, easy online access, and good customer support when choosing a business bank account. It’s important to keep accurate records of all transactions in your business bank account to comply with accounting and tax regulations. Additionally, exploring the interest rates offered on business savings accounts can help you make the most of your company’s finances.

Loans and Other Financing Options

When starting a limited company, finding financing options is crucial. Loans and other financing options can be an excellent way to fund your business. Traditional bank loans may require collateral or a strong credit score but often offer lower interest rates. Alternative financing options such as crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending may have higher interest rates but can be easier to obtain.

It’s essential to carefully consider the terms and requirements of any loan or financing option before committing. Other funding options, such as grants or investments from angel investors, may also be available depending on your business and industry.

Legal and Compliance Obligations

Complying with legal and compliance obligations is crucial for any limited company. Registration with Companies House, obtaining a unique registration number, and appointing directors and shareholders are the first steps. Creating a memorandum of association and articles of association outlines the company’s structure and governance details while setting up a separate business bank account ensures financial records are properly managed.

In addition, it’s important to ensure compliance with tax requirements, including registering for VAT if necessary and filing annual returns. Keeping accurate records is also essential for maintaining legal and regulatory compliance.

Corporation Tax

Corporation Tax

You must pay corporation tax on your profits as a limited company. This tax is levied on the profits earned by the company after deducting allowable expenses and reliefs. Most companies’ current corporation tax rate in the UK is 19%.

However, it’s important to note that this rate may be subject to change in the future, so it’s worth keeping an eye on any updates from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). In addition, registering for corporation tax is a legal obligation; failure to do so can result in fines and penalties.

VAT Registration

If your limited company’s annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold, you must register for VAT. Although it comes with additional compliance obligations, such as submitting regular VAT returns, it can offer benefits like reclaiming VAT on business expenses and presenting a more professional image to clients.

However, before registering, ensure you fully understand your company’s VAT obligations to avoid potential penalties. In addition, remember that accurate record-keeping is crucial when dealing with taxes, and always seek professional advice if you need clarification on any aspect of the process.

PAYE and National Insurance

As a limited company owner, it’s important to understand your obligations regarding PAYE and National Insurance. Employers use PAYE to collect income tax and National Insurance from their employees’ pay. As a limited company, you must register for PAYE and deduct the correct amount of tax and NI from your employees’ salaries.

Additionally, you’ll need to make employer’s National Insurance contributions on behalf of your employees. Failure to comply with these obligations can result in penalties, so consider hiring a professional accountant or payroll service to help manage them effectively.

Annual Accounts and Confirmation Statements

As a limited company, filing annual accounts and confirmation statements is a critical legal requirement. Annual accounts provide a snapshot of your company’s financial position, including details of assets, liabilities, profits, and losses. They must be filed with Companies House within nine months of the end of your accounting period.

Confirmation statements confirm essential information about your company, such as registered office address and directors. They must be filed at least once every 12 months to ensure accuracy and transparency. Maintaining these obligations is crucial to maintaining your company’s legal compliance.

Keeping Records

Maintaining accurate financial records is crucial for any limited company. Good record-keeping practices help ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations, saving you time and money in the long run. It’s important to keep detailed records of financial transactions, such as invoices, receipts, bank statements, and other relevant documents.

These records should be kept for at least six years and may be subject to inspection by HMRC. Consider using accounting software or outsourcing bookkeeping to make record-keeping easier and more efficient.

Running Your Limited Company

Running a limited company involves legal and financial responsibilities that must be taken seriously. Maintaining accurate records, complying with tax laws, and communicating effectively with shareholders, employees, and stakeholders is essential to running a successful limited company.

It’s also important to continually evaluate and adapt your business strategy to ensure long-term success. However, with the right knowledge, skills, and resources in place, running a successful limited company can be a rewarding experience.

Shareholders’ Meetings and Resolutions

Shareholders' Meetings and Resolutions

Shareholder meetings are an integral part of running a limited company. They provide a forum for shareholders to communicate and make decisions that affect the company’s future. At these meetings, resolutions are passed, which formalize the decisions made by the shareholders. Resolutions can range from company structure changes or policies to financial decisions such as dividend payments.

Following legal requirements and regulations is essential when conducting shareholders’ meetings and passing resolutions. Shareholders must be given proper notice of meetings and informed beforehand about the agenda. The minutes of the meeting should be recorded and kept for future reference. By following these practices, companies ensure transparent decision-making processes and communicate well with their stakeholders.

Directors’ Duties and Liabilities

Directors have a crucial role to play in the success of their limited company. They are responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs and ensuring that the business complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements. Failure to fulfil these duties can lead to serious consequences, including financial penalties or criminal charges.

Therefore, directors must stay informed about their roles and responsibilities and seek professional advice when necessary. By doing so, they can avoid potential liabilities and help their company thrive in a competitive business environment.

Changes to Your Company Details

Keeping your company details up-to-date is crucial to ensure smooth operations and compliance with legal requirements. Any company details changes, such as registered address or directorship, must be reported to the Companies House promptly.

This can be done online, and you may need to provide supporting documents like proof of address or ID for new directors. Failure to update your company’s details can result in penalties and legal consequences. Reviewing and updating your company’s details helps avoid potential issues and ensure continued compliance with regulations.

Business Insurance

Business Insurance

Protecting your business from unexpected events that could lead to financial loss or even bankruptcy is essential as a limited company owner. This is where business insurance comes in. Business insurance can risks, including property damage, legal claims, and employee injuries.

However, insurance coverage can give you peace of mind and protect your company’s assets. It’s important to speak with an insurance professional to determine the types of coverage you need based on the nature of your business and its operations.

Setting Up a Limited Company Checklist

Here’s a handy checklist to keep in mind while setting up a limited company:

  1. Decide on the structure of your company, such as sole trader or partnership
  2. Choose a unique name that complies with Companies House rules
  3. Register your company with Companies House and obtain a Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Set up a business bank account and properly manage your finances
  5. Appoint directors and register them with the Companies House
  6. Determine whether you need any licenses or permits to operate legally
  7. Register for taxes, including Corporation Tax, VAT, and PAYE
  8. Review and update your company’s details regularly to ensure compliance with regulations
  9. Consider getting business insurance to protect your company from unexpected events
  10. Seek professional advice from a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor if needed

By following this checklist and staying organized throughout the process, you can set up your limited company with ease and ensure its success in the long term. Remember that setting up a company requires attention to detail, adherence to regulations, and careful planning, but the rewards of running a successful business are well worth it. All the best for your new venture!


In conclusion, setting up a limited company can be daunting, but it can be streamlined with the right guidance and checklist. Before you start the process, it’s important to understand what type of limited company would best suit your business needs.

It would help if you also considered factors such as funding options, legal obligations, and compliance requirements. Once you have registered your limited company with Companies House, you must meet all legal and compliance obligations and regularly monitor your business accounts.

FAQ – How to Set Up a Limited Company?

FAQ - How to Set Up a Limited Company?

Can I set up a limited company on my own?

Yes, setting up a limited company on your own is possible. However, seeking advice from a professional accountant or lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you decide on the right structure for your business is recommended.

They can also ensure that all legal requirements are met, including registering with Companies House and following their guidelines. Getting the right support is important to ensure your limited company is set up properly and meets all legal obligations.

Do you need money to set up a limited company?

Yes, you will need money to set up a limited company. This includes paying for registration fees and initial capital. The amount of money required may vary depending on the regulations in your country or state. Understanding these costs before starting the process is important to avoid any surprises or delays in setting up your company.

How do I pay myself if I own a limited company?

If you own a limited company, there are two ways to pay yourself: a salary or dividends. You must register for PAYE and deduct taxes and National Insurance contributions to pay a salary. If you choose to take dividends, your company must have enough profits to distribute among shareholders.

It’s essential to consult with an accountant or financial advisor to determine the best payment method for your specific situation. They can help ensure that you pay yourself in the most tax-efficient way possible while complying with all legal requirements.

What are the benefits of a limited company?

Limited companies offer several benefits, including limited liability protection for owners, which safeguards personal assets from business debts. They also have a separate legal entity status, enabling them to enter contracts and conduct business in their name. In addition, this structure can improve credibility and professionalism, attracting potential customers or investors.

In addition, limited companies may have tax advantages, such as lower corporate tax rates and the ability to claim certain expenses as deductions. Finally, a limited company structure can benefit business owners who want to protect their assets and establish a professional reputation.

Is Ltd private or public?

A limited company (Ltd) can be either private or public. Private limited companies have limits on the number of shareholders. They cannot offer shares to the public, while public limited companies can offer shares and have no limits on the number of shareholders.

Most small businesses opt for a private limited company as it provides more control over the business and limits liability.

Who can start a limited company?

Regardless of nationality or residency status, anyone can start a limited company. Entrepreneurs or small business owners often start these types of companies. To start a limited company, you must have at least one director and shareholder.

Consultation with a business advisor or accountant may be helpful when starting a limited company to ensure that you understand the legal requirements and tax implications.