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Company Formation

  When it comes to company formations, our service is both simple and quick to use.

For just £24.99 you can set-up a new UK company, complete in every respect and inclusive of all Companies House fees and registration documents.

Our company formation process is straightforward and with our easy to use five step system; you know exactly where you are at each stage of the incorporation process.

Dormant company formation solution

There are four attractively priced limited company set-up packages to choose from, so you can be confident of finding the service that matches your requirements.

They all of course include the high levels of support you would expect from a leading company registration agent.

You receive full memorandum and articles of association and a PDF certificate of incorporation. Priced at just £24.99, it represents the ideal dormant company formation solution.

Pre Trading Company Formations Solution

This package provides all the features of the Dormant company product plus a printed certificate of incorporation which banks will require when opening business accounts.  In addition we will provide you with a website address for your company name

The Melanie product is ideal for a company which wants to start trading in the near future and is happy to undertake the work after incorporation without any assistance for £34.99. 

Registered Office Pre Trading Company Formations Solution

The Plutarch company formations package raises the standard by more than just a few levels. It includes the benefits of both the Alodia and Melanie products with the addition that we will assist the company to open a bank account and offer a registered Office for the Company which can go on all the company letterheads

Complete Company Formations solution


With Complete Formations you can be sure that you will receive a full incorporation service with a compliment of documents and certifications.Accurate and up to date in every respect, we ensure that the electronic documents prepared by us comply with all of the current legal requirements which exist for new UK companies.

Every Company Formation package we provide includes all of these items:
1. Purchase Confirmation and Invoice  
2. Email confirmation when application is sent to Companies House  
3. Full Memorandum and Articles of Association  
4. Automated confirmation by email the minute your company is formed  
5. Certification of Incorporation with your company number  
6. Companies House Authentication Code (for added security and reassurance)  
7. Formal Completion Status Report  
8. Life Long access to our Online Company Administration System  
Our Delta, Sigma and Omega incorporations provide these and other features as detailed on the company formation packages page.  

Free Business Banking


Welcome to Complete Company Formations Business Banking

Complete Formations have strong relationships with the UK’s leading business banking institutions and as part of our range of business start-up products, we provide you with access to our long established contacts at absolutely no cost to you.

Getting Started


The 5 Step Formation Process

Complete Formations offer one of the simplest methods for forming a UK company online.

Our easy to follow 5 step procedure shows you your progress through the system, lets you know where you are now and tells you what is coming next.

1. Company Name Search

Step 1 begins with using our free company name search to see whether your choice is available.

Our search is connected to the Companies House database and provides accurate and up-to-date results on what names are already in existence and which are available to use.

2. Package Selection

Step2 of the process is to choose one of our attractive UK company formation packages.

All of our incorporation products offer exceptional value for money and we are able to provide you with even further discounts towards our top of the range award winning Delta, Sigma and Omega formations.

3. Accessories

The next stage presented is the Complete Formations accessories menu.

Here you will find some valuable additions to your package such as a company seal or the option to guarantee a same day registration.

You are under no obligation to purchase any accessories, but we hope that you will find something here which will be of use to you and your company.

4. Checkout

Provide us with some basic details about yourself or log on if you are a returning customer.

Enter your chosen payment details and submit your purchasing information.

Our payments system uses 128 bit industry standard encryption to make sure that your personal information is safe and secure.

5. Appointments

The final stage to our company formation process is to appoint your chosen directors, secretary and shareholders.

In addition you can nominate your registered office address (this is done automatically when purchasing the Omega incorporation package) and decide how many shares you wish to give your shareholders.

The appointments system is very straight-forward but a comprehensive pictorial guide is provided in our Company Administration section.

Once your information has been entered, click on the large orange “Submit” button to send your application to Companies House for approval.

Company Set-up


Welcome to The Company Set-up where you will find a variety of information, articles and resources relating starting a new commercial business.The purpose of this section is to ensure that our visitors have sufficient knowledge so that they are able to choose the type of company formationwhich is right for them.Topics covered include general information on the numbers of companies registered in the UK and on starting a new business as well as more specific details on how to guarantee that incorporation will be completed on the same day.The company set-upsection is an extension of our frequently asked questions but covers individual areas in greater detail than a simple one paragraph answer.Complete Formations welcomes ideas and comments from any of our visitors and would be delighted to receive suggestions concerning additional information which could be included within these pages.

We trusts that you will find the resources listed below useful and hope that you will visit us regularly as we continue to update the range and depth of our coverage.

Company Formation and Tax Savings provides an example of how trading as a limited company as opposed to as a sole trader can potentially reduce overall taxation liabilities

Company Formation Statistics lists the numbers of incorporations which have taken place in England, Wales and Scotland. It also provides calculations on the percentage changes from one month to another.

Directors and Secretary Requirements lists the numbers and type of personnel that are needed to comply with the latest company formation regulations. These will of course be updated for the Companies Act 2006 provisions due to take effect on 6th April 2008.

Directors Service Addresses discusses the Companies Act 2006 provision which enable company officers to protect their residential details. Introduced on 1 October 2009 the universal use of services addresses is one of many sweeping changes in recent company legislation.

Dormant Company Formation clarifies the position regarding the registration of a non-trading business entity. It also highlights how a company might change its status from or to dormant during its lifetime.

Formation Agents vs. Companies House evaluates the two different services which are available to the public. This articles attempts to provide a comprehensive analysis of the manual application option and that which is typically available from incorporation agents such as Complete Formations.

Issuing Shares is geared towards understanding the different between authorised and issued shares. It provides some useful advice and guidance on how many units should be issues upon the incorporation of a company.

Nominees cover some of the aspects of using third parties in the roles of director, secretary and shareholder. It looks at some of the advantages of using nominees and the actual role they might play within a company.

Ready Made Companies focuses on the alternative to a new formation, that of purchasing a pre-formed company. It explores some of the motivations and consequences of this particular course of action.

Register a Company Name investigates the guidelines for choosing a name for a proposed incorporation. It also provides information on situations where a name is rejected by Companies House.

Registered Office explains the distinction between a business and statutory or official address and details how a change in the latter van be effected. In addition, it examines the merits of using a home address as a registered office.

Registering a Branch or Place of Business describes the requirements for oversea businesses to notify Companies House in situations where a trade is carried on in the UK through established commercial premises.

Same Day Company Formation states the conditions by which a set-up will be guaranteed to be finished on the day it is submitted. Although this service is offered at a premium, it can be suited to those scenarios where piece of mind is judged as valuable or where time is of the essence.

Starting a New Business provides a rendition of an often encountered situation converts to self employment might find themselves in. It discusses the transition from employment through to business start-up.

Trading Standards and Descriptions for Goods and Services looks at the legal and ethical issues surrounding how products are marketed. It is meant as guidance only as what is acceptable must be judged on a case by case basis.

Types of UK Companies provides an introduction to the four main types which can be registered in England, Wales and Scotland. Further details relating to each one is reference on the page.

Users Guide for 1 October 2009 Provisions of the Companies Act 2006 provides both a useful synopsis and more detailed information on the new regulations as they effect the registration of UK companies and the information directors, secretaries and shareholders must provide in order to ensure a smooth incorporation through the  Companies House system.

UK Companies and Living Abroad answers the commonly asked question regarding non UK personnel acting as an officer of a UK business entity.

Why Incorporate a Dormant Company? extends the topic (as highlighted above) to look at the reasons why such formations might be executed. Although some of the commonly used reasons are listed, there might well be others which relate to the idiosyncrasies of the individual case.

Working From Home – Disadvantages turns to the drawbacks of living and conducting business from the same location. Although some of the benefits of this practice are obvious, there might also be adverse consequences which should be borne in mind.

Contact us – Complete Formations



You don’t need to be an expert in accounting and tax to start your own company.
Your highly developed skills, forward thinking enterprise and commitment to succeed, along with the accounting expertise & experience of 1st Contact Accounting – you have a winning formula!

Company is a clever way of starting up as a contractor or in business with minimal risk, affording you the advantages of ownership along with certain tax benefits.

1st Contact Accounting offers YOU a full range of accounting services so you are able to efficiently run and manage your Limited Company.

Let us guide you through the process of choosing a Company name that is suitable and process the formation with Companies House.

We will assist you with the following:

  Applying for your PAYE reference number

  Applying for your Corporation Tax number

  Applying for your VAT and Flat Rate VAT registration

  Opening a company bank account

Additionally, you will receive a consultation with an accountant, who will explain the statutory responsibilities that you would assume as director of a limited company, what records you would need to keep and how we would be able to assist in the efficient running of your limited company.

Call 1st Contact Accounting today to set up your Limited Company within one day



Limited liability companies

Limited companies exist in their own right. This means the company’s finances are separate from the personal finances of their owners.

Shareholders may be individuals or other companies. They are not responsible for the company’s debts unless they have given guarantees – for example, a bank loan. However, they may lose the money they have invested in the company if it fails.

The Companies Act 2006 makes a number of changes that will affect directors and shareholders of limited companies. You can read about the Companies Act 2006 on the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills website – Opens in a new window.

Main types

  • Private limited companies can have one or more members, eg shareholders. They cannot offer shares to the public.
  • Public limited companies (plcs) must have at least two shareholders and must have issued shares to the public to a value of at least £50,000 or the prescribed equivalent in euros before it can trade.
  • Private unlimited companies – these are rare and usually created for specific reasons. It is recommended you take legal advice before creating one.


  • Must be registered (incorporated) at Companies House.
  • Must have at least one director (two if it’s a plc) who may also be shareholders. Directors must be at least 16 years of age. At least one director must be an individual, rather than a company.
  • Private companies are not obliged to appoint a company secretary but if one is appointed this must be notified to Companies House. Plcs must have a qualified company secretary.

Management and raising finance

  • A director or board of directors make the management decisions.
  • Finance comes from shareholders, loans and retained profits.
  • Plcs can raise money by selling shares on the stock market, but private limited companies cannot.

Records and accounts

  • Accounts must be filed with Companies House before the time allowed for filing those accounts to avoid a late filing penalty.
  • Accounts must be audited each year unless the company is exempt.
  • When you file your annual return for the first time a letter will be issued to the Registered Office containing the company’s authentication code and instructions for use of Companies House web filing services. You should follow the instructions in the letter.

Directors are responsible for notifying Companies House of changes in the structure and management of the business.


  • Profits are usually distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends, apart from profits retained in the business as working capital.

Tax and National Insurance

  • If a company has any taxable income or profits, it must tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that it exists and is liable to corporation tax.
  • Companies liable to corporation tax must make an annual return to HMRC.
  • Company directors are an office holder of the company and therefore regarded as an employed earner for National Insurance. As such, company directors must pay both income tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions on their director’s earnings. However, while regular employees’ Class 1 NICs are calculated on their monthly or weekly earnings separately, directors’ NICs are calculated on an annual cumulative basis. For more information, see the page on Class 1 National Insurance contributions for directors in our guide on Class 1 and Class 1A National Insurance contributions.


  • Shareholders are not personally responsible for the company’s debts, but directors may be asked to give personal guarantees of loans to the company.
  • A limited company is a type of business entity.
  • In the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland it is a corporation with shareholders whose liability is limited by shares (Ltd), which is the most common form of privately held company. Setting up as a limited company is an attractive option for many people as, unlike sole proprietorships, personal assets are distinct from company finances.
  • The private company equivalent in Australia is the Proprietary Limited company (Pty Ltd). An Australian company with just Limited or Ltd at the end of its name is a public company, such as a company listed on the ASX (although public companies can be, and often are, unlisted). Australia does not have a direct equivalent to the plc.
  • Private company limited by guarantee 
  • A company that does not have share capital, but is guaranteed by its members who agree to pay a fixed amount in the event of the company’s liquidation. Charitable organizations often incorporate using this form of limited liability. Another example is the Financial Services Authority. In Australia, only an unlisted public company can be limited by guarantee.[1]
  • Private company limited by shares 
  • Has shareholders with limited liability and its shares may not be offered to the general public. Shareholders of private companies limited by shares are often bound to offer the shares to their fellow shareholders prior to selling them to a third party.
  • Public limited company (plc) 
  • Public limited companies can be publicly traded on a stock exchange — similar to the U.S. Corporation (Corp.) and the German Aktiengesellschaft (AG).
  • A shareholder in a limited company, in the event of its becoming insolvent (equivalent to bankruptcy in the U.S.) would be liable to contribute the amount remaining unpaid on the shares (usually zero, as most shares are issued fully paid). ‘Paid’ here relates to the amount paid to the company for the shares on first issue, and not to be confused with amounts paid by one shareholder to another to transfer ownership of shares between them. A shareholder is thus afforded limited liability.
  • A limited company can be registered in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, or Australia. The registration of companies in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) is done through Companies House. In Canada, a person wishing to register a limited company must file Articles of Incorporation with either their provincial government or the federal government [2]. Registration of companies in Australia is done through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)[3].
  • The registration of companies in Northern Ireland has been the responsibility of Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. From 1 October 2009 responsibility transfers to Companies House, under the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)[4].
  • Northern Ireland will retain a registry function and presence along similar lines to the Companies House Scotland model. This means that the office will remain in Belfast and we will retain the Registrar for Northern Ireland.
  • Equivalent constructs to limited companies can be found in most countries, although the detailed rules governing them vary widely. It is also common for a distinction to be made between the publicly tradable companies of plc type (for example, the German Aktiengesellschaft (AG), Czech a.s. and the Mexican, French and Polish S.A.), and the “private” types of company (such as the German GmbH, Polish Sp. z o.o., and the Czech s.r.o.).
  • In the United States the expression corporation is preferred to limited company (because corporations there have limited liability). A limited liability company (LLC) is a different entity. However, some states permit corporations to have the designation Ltd. (instead of the usual Inc.) to signify their corporate status.

What is a private limited company?

Many small businesses operate via private limited companies. There are around 1.15 million limited companies operating in the UK currently, compared to around 2.8m sole traders and 500,000 partnerships.

So, what is a private limited company?

  • Under the limited company business structure, your company and personal finances are kept separate, unlike the sole trader structure.
  • Limited companies are subjected to corporation tax on their profits, whereas sole traders are taxed under the self assessment system.
  • If your limited company is going to turnover £70,000 or more per year (from 1st April 2010. Previously it was £68,000), you must register for Value Added Tax.
  • Limited company directors have more legal, financial and administrative responsibilities, whereas sole traders have an easier life when it comes to paperwork.
  • A private limited company is owned by its shareholders
  • If things go wrong and a limited company fails, its directors and shareholders have ‘limited liability’ in that their personal assets cannot be touched. For sole traders, their personal liability is unlimited.
  • A private limited company cannot offer shares for sale on the stock market, whereas a Public Limited Company can.
  • All limited companies must be registered at Companies House.
  • All limited companies should submit an Annual Return to Companies House each year as well as their annual accounts.
  • In some industries, most businesses are limited companies for a number of reasons – it may look more ‘professional’, it may help if you need to raise external finance, and it may be more tax efficient than other business structures.
  • From April 2008, limited companies are no longer required by law to have a company secretary. They can now operate with just a sole director.
  • You can read more about the steps involved in the limited company incorporation process here, and also a good legal overview of all the main business structures.

Before you start

When making the choice of business structure, you should always consult a professional, as each business has different needs.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ business structure to use -it all depends on what you do, your financial situation, the industry you are in, and how large your operation is likely to become.

What is a dormant limited company?

What is a dormant limited company?

A dormant company is one that doesn’t trade and has no accounting transactions. Small companies may choose to buy a dormant company to protect the name, or for other reasons.

Trading companies may also elect to become dormant if they cease trading and may wish to trade again in the future.

Why would you need a dormant company?

There are several reasons why small business people may use a dormant company.

1. Protection – You may have a trademark or brand name you wish to protect. Securing a dormant company of “brand name limited” will prevent competitors from using the same brand name for unscrupulous reasons.

2. Future Proofing – You may not yet be ready to push ahead with a new project. By securing a dormant company, you can help prepare in advance for the future.

How long can a company remain dormant?

There is no time limit for keeping a company in a dormant status. However, the directors of dormant companies must still perform some administrative duties each year, as explained below:

Administration of a dormant company

  • Even though your company may be dormant, you are still liable to complete an Annual Return to Companies House (costs £15 if you file online, or £30 if you file a paper return).
  • All dormant companies, even those who have not traded, must file annual accounts at Companies House. This will mean a balance sheet and relevant notes for dormant companies.
  • For Companies which have never traded, they can file their annual accounts via Form AA02 (PDF). Companies who traded in the past, but have become dormant may be able to use Form AA02 (DCA), but only if no transactions have been recorded in the current financial year and no residual balances exist.
  • During this time, the company must not generate any transactions at all, otherwise you will have to submit full accounts to Companies House, and meet any liabilities these transactions may create.
  • If you decide to appoint a Company Secretary, Director, or any of their details change which the company is dormant, you must notify Companies House via the correct Form .
  • Even a dormant limited company must have a registered address. Any change of registered address must be sent to Companies House via Form AD01. (PDF)

Limited company advantages – an overview

Although the sole trader route is the most popular way of running a business in the UK, there are significant advantages of working via a limited company.

Setting up as a sole trader is without doubt the simplest way to get going in business. All you need to do is inform HMRC that you are working as ‘self employed’, and account for your business activities via the annual self assessment process.

Starting up in business via a limited company involves a more complex formation process, and the financial and administrative responsibilities of running a limited company are certainly greater than those of a sole trader. However, there are many advantages to working via a limited company, which we cover in this article.

Limited Company Advantages

1. Tax – The main advantage of working via a private limited company is that you are likely to pay less personal tax than a sole trader. Company profits are subject to Corporation Tax at 21%. If you are the director and shareholder of a limited company, you may elect to take a small salary (and pay little or no PAYE or National Insurance Contributions) and take most of your income in the form of dividends. Dividends are taxed separately, and are not subject to NICs. As a sole trader, your entire income is subject to standard PAYE and NIC rules.

2. Distinct Entity – A limited company is a completely separate entity from its members, whereas a sole trader and his/her business is treated as a single entity for tax and administrative purposes. Everything from the company bank account, to ownership of assets and involvement in tenders and contracts is purely company business and separate from the interests of the company’s members.

3. Limited Liability – As the name suggests, if you run a limited company, you are protected in case things go wrong. Assuming no fraud has taken place, you will not be personally liable financially for any losses made by your limited company. This is not the case for sole traders, who are not protected from financial claims in the event that things go wrong with their businesses.

4. Professional – In some businesses and industries, working via a limited company can provide a professional image (in some industries it is a mandatory requirement if you want to seek business). If you are doing business with larger companies, you may find that they prefer to deal only with limited companies rather than sole traders or partnerships.

5. Funding – Limited Companies may find it relatively easier to secure business funding (although acquiring capital for all types of business structure has become progressively more difficult since the credit crunch).

6. Naming – Once you register your company with Companies House, your company name is protected by law. No-one else can use the same name as you, or anything deemed to be too similar.

7. Shareholders – A limited company can issue various classes of shares. This means you can easily sell stakes in the company, or transfer ownership of shares.

8. Costs – Many people prefer to operate as sole traders rather than limited companies as the start-up and running costs are perceived to be significantly lower. However, with company formation costing less than £100 (in some cases, much less), it has never been cheaper or easier to register a new company. You can register a company online via our formations portal here

9. Pensions – Rather than paying for a pension out of tax-free income, your company can fund its employees’ executive pensions as a legitimate business expense.

10. Succession – If a shareholder wishes to retire, sell his shareholding, or dies, it is far easier to transfer ownership of a limited company than a non-registered business structure.

There are many things to consider when deciding upon a business structure. You should always seek professional advice before starting up in business, as your choice of a business structure will depend very much on your own individual circumstances.