The key legal documents for setting up your own limited liability company are: Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association and form IN01. You can even do most the work online via the Companies House website. We provide the necessary documents here if you want to incorporate using paper forms.
We also offer a range of other agreements and forms that you may need during the life of your ltd company.
The main types of limited company used by small businesses in the UK are:
- Company Limited by Shares: A company limited by shares is the conventional and most well known type of limited company. This type of company is commonly used for a small business. The company issues shares and the profits can be distributed to shareholders as dividends.
- Company Limited by Guarantee: A company limited by guarantee is the conventional type of company for a "not for profit" organisation such as a club or an association. This type of company does not issue shares and profits are not distributed to the members.
You can set up either type of limited company by:
- submitting paper forms (IN01 and supporting documents) to Companies House, or
- by using a company formation agent.
If you are incorporating a private company limited by shares then you also have the option to use the Companies House online service - no paper forms required. The online option is not available for incorporating companies limited by guarantee.
It's relatively straightforward to set up a private limited liability company in the UK. The Companies House website provides a wealth of information and their electronic service (for companies limited by shares) means you can have your company up and running in as little as 24 hours for the cost of £12. You can only register using the internet service if your company adopts the statutory 'model' Articles of Association and the company name doesn't contain a word you need permission to use.
If you want or need to submit your own Articles of Association then you can still incorporate yourself by post: you will just need to fill out a paper IN01 and provide paper copies of your Memorandum of Association and bespoke Articles of Association. The charge for paper filing is £40.