UK Business Registration
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Generally speaking a private and public limited company formation follows a similar pattern: Initial requests for application forms are sent to Companies house, in the UK the address is: 

You will be sent two forms through the post form 10, and form 12. 

On form 10 you will have to give the details of the first director(s), the company secretary and the intended address of the business. Details required on this form include date of birth, occupation and whether the directors are involved/have been in any other businesses for the past 5 years. 

You cannot be both a director and company secretary if you are in a one director business, you need to have two different people as the bare minimum. 

On form 12, a declaration that the business has completed all it's statutory requirements must be completed. This form must be signed by the solicitor forming the company, or one of the directors of the business. It must be signed in the presence of either commissioner for oaths, a notary of the public, a justice of the peace or a solicitor.

In simplistic terms a business director could sign, with a solicitor being the witness. 

In addition to these forms you will have to provide a 'Memorandum of Association' and 'Article of Association' which must be completed, both these forms have to be obtained from HMSO bookshops.

'Memorandum of Association' this will have to be completed in addition to forms 10 & 12. The memorandum of association is simply a document that states the company name, where it's registered office is, and what the object of the business is. For a web based business you could state you could say it the object of the business is to operate as a general commercial company over the internet. 

'Articles of Association' this document states how the internal affairs of the business run, these can be based on The Companies (tables A to F) Regulations 1985 SI 1985 No 805 - This is available from HMSO bookshops. 

The forms would then be sent to the Registrar for Companies, who would then process the data. Bear in mind that whilst they process the data they will be checking the name of the business against existing businesses, you will not be allowed to use the same trading name as another business. You will also not be allowed to use the certain words, including those that cause offence. In some instances if you choose a name which is similar to another business they have the right to object 12 months from your business being incorporated and you may then be asked to change your business name by the Secretary of State. 

You will not be allowed to become a company director if you either have been declared bankrupt; are an un-discharged bankrupt; disqualified by a court from holding a directorship; or in the instance of Plc are over 70 years of age. 

A simple way of forming a business could be through company formation agents who will be able to offer you ready made companies but at a cost. The cost of collating the forms and sending them to companies house is £20 whilst agent will charge you £100 upwards for the same service. 

Companies house does offer a premium service if you wish to have registration completed inside a day there is a price to pay for this £100. Companies house actually defines there being more than one type of private/public limited company. 

Once you are a registered business you must have your accounts audited annually by an external accounted and presented to companies house and available for anyone to see.

Setting up any type of business will require many obligations to be met, it will prove worthwhile discussing your financial and legal requirements with your own accountant and solicitor, to ensure your business is incorporated to the correct status. 

Please bear in mind that a environmental expert may be used to ensure that the business meets all your health and safety/environmental issues. 

Once a business has been registered, under the Companies Act 1985, certain requirements must be met, these are: 

  • The business name must be displayed outside the business address this can be either a painted sign or plaque. So if you intend to run the business from home be aware that you must display your business name outside your home! 
  • Also be aware that the business name must be displayed outside any location where the business operates. 
  • The business name must appear on all the companies business letters, all publications produced by the business such as notices. It must appear on all documents of the business such as cheques, invoices, despatch notes, etc. 
  • It is up to the business whether it decides to show the names of itís directors, it cannot it be selective. Either you show your name and the names of other directors or else you don't show them at all. 
  • You will also need to show where the business was registered on all documentation and the business registration number. 
  • Specific details of where the company is registered are detailed in the documentation sent to you by Companies House. 

So it should become apparent that from your initial business concept there is quite a lot of work still to be done, you need to get your financial considerations in place. Then you need to register the business if you are to trade as a limited company, have your trading name verified by Companies House, get all the stationary in place but that is not all!. 

You still have to register your business name as a domain name on the world wide web.

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(c)  Est 08/00 - Last Updated 28/05//2001