← All jurisdictions

Company formation:
United Kingdom

The UK is a particularly exciting country for entrepreneurship. Let’s find out why setting up a company in the UK and how GR Morgan Formations can help you with the incorporation process.

United Kingdom

from 18 €

Company formation in the UK (United Kingdom)

Renowned for its economic and political stability, the United Kingdom has long embodied a reliable and prosperous hub for the international business world. Featuring a dynamic market and a fertile business ecosystem, it offers ample opportunities for companies seeking to expand and establish themselves on a global scale. Its strategic geographical position, coupled with a network of trade agreements and a positive investment climate, makes the nation a delectable locale for establishing new companies. Furthermore, the United Kingdom boasts a skilled workforce and solid infrastructure, factors that, combined with a stable tax regime and currency, render it an excellent and secure business environment for international investors.

Country United Kingdom
Language English (98%)
Polish (1%)
Punjabi (0.2%)
Urdu (0.2%)
Bengali (0.2%)
Time in United Kingdom Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone. However, it observes Daylight Saving Time, known as British Summer Time (BST, GMT+1), typically from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
Population 66 million (Source: 2021, World Bank)
Currency Pound Sterling (£, GBP).
Religion Christian (59.5%)
No Religion (25.7%)
Muslim (4.4%)
Hindu (1.5%)
Tax regime The United Kingdom has a progressive income tax system. The tax rates for the 2021-2022 tax year are: 20% (basic rate), 40% (higher rate), and 45% (additional rate). Corporate tax was set at 19%.
VAT The standard VAT rate in the United Kingdom is 20%. There are also reduced rates (5%) and zero rates (0%) for certain goods and services.
Overage salary As of 2021, the average salary in the United Kingdom was approximately £31,000 per year. (Source: Office for National Statistics, 2021)
Types of incorporations Public Limited Company (PLC)
Private Limited Company (Ltd)
Guarantee Company (Ltd or Limited by guarantee)
Unlimited Company (UC)
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
Community Interest Company (CIC)
Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

Why opening a company in United Kingdom?

Opening a company in the United Kingdom offers numerous advantages, making it an attractive choice for entrepreneurs. The UK’s business-friendly policies, access to a skilled workforce, and well-developed infrastructure create a conducive environment for various business types. It is particularly well-suited for those looking to establish an international presence or tap into the European market.


Here are some of the key advantages of incorporating a company in the United Kingdom:

Advantages Details
Strategic Location The UK serves as a gateway to the European market, providing access to over 500 million consumers.
Business-Friendly Regulations The UK has a straightforward registration process and a supportive regulatory framework for businesses.
Access to Talent With a highly skilled and diverse workforce, the UK offers a talent pool to meet your business needs.
Financial Hub London, the UK’s capital, is a global financial center, making it ideal for financial and fintech businesses.
Political Stability The UK boasts a stable political environment, reducing the risks associated with political instability.
Tax Incentives Various tax incentives and deductions are available for businesses, fostering growth and development.


While the UK offers numerous advantages, it’s essential to consider potential disadvantages, including:

Disadvantages Details
Brexit Uncertainty Post-Brexit changes may impact trade and regulations, requiring adaptation to new rules.
High Living Costs Living and operating costs in some UK cities, particularly London, can be relatively high.
Competitive Market The UK market is competitive, which may pose challenges for new entrants.
Complex Tax System The UK’s tax system can be complex, requiring careful planning and compliance.

Most popular sectors to set up a company in United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a diverse market, with opportunities across various sectors. Some of the most popular sectors for company formation include technology, finance, healthcare, and creative industries. The UK government actively supports innovation and entrepreneurship in these sectors, making them attractive choices for business expansion.

Fiscal system in United Kingdom

The fiscal system in the United Kingdom is well-established and transparent. It aims to promote economic growth and development while ensuring compliance with tax regulations.


The tax system in the United Kingdom is comprehensive, covering income tax, corporate tax, and value-added tax (VAT). Businesses are required to pay taxes based on their profits, and individuals pay income tax based on their earnings. The UK offers various tax incentives and deductions to encourage investment and entrepreneurship.

VAT in United Kingdom

VAT in the United Kingdom is set at a standard rate of 20% for most goods and services. Some items, such as essential food and children’s clothing, may be subject to a reduced rate of 5% or are exempt from VAT. VAT returns are typically filed on a quarterly basis.

Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) Rules

The United Kingdom has CFC rules in place to prevent profit shifting to low-tax jurisdictions. These rules apply to companies with foreign subsidiaries and aim to ensure that profits are appropriately taxed in the UK.

Local Director

Companies in the United Kingdom are not required to appoint a local director. However, having a local director can be beneficial for business operations and compliance with UK regulations.

Local Secretary

Similarly, there is no strict requirement to appoint a local secretary for companies in the United Kingdom. However, some businesses may choose to have a secretary to assist with administrative tasks.

Annual Return

Companies in the United Kingdom are required to file an annual return with Companies House. This document provides information about the company’s officers, shareholders, and registered office address. It helps maintain transparency and accountability in the business environment.

Audited Accounts

While small companies may be exempt from mandatory audit requirements, larger companies in the United Kingdom are typically required to have their accounts audited by a qualified auditor. This ensures accuracy and transparency in financial reporting.

Company types in the United Kingdom

Limited Company (Ltd)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Limited Company (Ltd) Ltd £1 Corporation Tax

In the vast corporate landscape of the United Kingdom, the Limited Company (Ltd) remains a preferred choice for many entrepreneurs. Fundamentally, this form of incorporation ensures that the financial liability of shareholders or guarantors is restricted to their individual investments.

This foundational characteristic bestows upon its owners a measure of financial insulation against the company’s potential debts or losses. The advantage of such a structure resides in its ability to encourage investments and risk-taking, knowing that personal assets stand protected from corporate adversities. While the minimum share capital is symbolically set at £1, it’s pivotal to understand that operational costs can far exceed this amount, necessitating prudent financial planning and management.

The fiscal obligations for an Ltd encompass the remittance of Corporation Tax. Additionally, compliance with periodic reporting and statutory documentation is essential to maintain the company’s good standing and to ensure adherence to the regulatory framework prescribed by the Companies House.


Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Holding N/A Varies Corporation Tax on dividends and capital gains

The concept of a holding company in the United Kingdom primarily revolves around its function of owning assets or shares in other companies, rather than indulging in business operations, products, or services itself.

The strategic advantage of a holding company lies in its capacity to control multiple businesses and their assets without being directly embroiled in their day-to-day operations. This provides a conduit for risk diversification, allowing the holding entity to remain insulated from financial tribulations faced by its subsidiaries.

While there’s no explicit minimum share capital for holding companies, the nature of their operations necessitates substantial capital for acquiring significant stakes in other entities. Furthermore, holding companies in the UK are liable to pay Corporation Tax, particularly on dividends and capital gains accruing from their investments.

Branch company

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Branch Company N/A N/A Corporation Tax, VAT

A branch company signifies the extension of a foreign entity keen on establishing its presence within the United Kingdom. Unlike a subsidiary, a branch does not constitute a separate legal entity but operates as an arm of its parent company.

While establishing a branch fortifies a brand’s visibility within the UK market, it is imperative to understand that all legal and financial obligations arising from the activities of the branch fall squarely on the parent company. This convergence of responsibilities mandates a rigorous compliance mechanism, ensuring adherence to local taxation, including Corporation Tax and VAT, and other regulatory obligations.

The allure of a branch company rests in its ability to tap into the UK market without establishing a completely new entity. Yet, this comes with the intricate task of balancing the operational demands of the branch while ensuring the overarching objectives of the parent company remain unhindered.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Limited Liability Partnership LLP None Income Tax, Corporation Tax

The United Kingdom presents an invigorating environment for various business structures, among which the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) garners significant attention for its distinct blend of corporate and partnership traits.

An LLP interweaves facets of traditional partnerships with the advantage of limited liability. Unlike standard partnerships, members of an LLP are not personally responsible for business debts, safeguarding personal assets from the firm’s financial obligations. Consequently, LLPs amalgamate the flexibility of partnerships with the security of limited liability, making them especially alluring for professionals and joint ventures alike.

Fiscally, LLPs in the UK navigate through a unique landscape. While not subject to Corporation Tax, each member is liable for Income Tax on their respective shares of the partnership’s profits, thereby decentralizing the tax liability and placing it squarely on individual members.

Public Limited Company (PLC)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Public Limited Company PLC £50,000 Corporation Tax

The Public Limited Company (PLC) represents a corporate entity whose shares are available for public purchase and trading, typically through a stock exchange. Synonymous with transparency and public engagement, PLCs in the United Kingdom must adhere to stringent regulatory protocols and reporting standards, underscoring a commitment to shareholder transparency and governance.

The peculiarity of a PLC, while offering palpable opportunities in capital acquisition through public shareholding, necessitates an intricate understanding of financial management and a scrupulous approach towards corporate governance, investor relations, and statutory compliance, ensuring a cohesive balance amongst various stakeholders amidst a complex regulatory milieu.

With a minimum share capital requirement of £50,000, a PLC necessitates a robust financial framework, adept at not only managing substantial capital but also ensuring adherence to the extensive reporting and regulatory obligations.

Private Unlimited Company

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Private Unlimited Company N/A None Corporation Tax

In the multifarious corporate domain of the United Kingdom, the Private Unlimited Company surfaces as a somewhat unusual, yet intriguing, entity. By forgoing the conventional limitation on liability, members of an unlimited company bear full, personal responsibility for the business’s debts, effectively tethering their personal fortunes to the company’s financial wellbeing.

Despite the apparent financial exposure, this model affords companies an enhanced degree of financial privacy, exempting them from numerous disclosure requirements that their limited counterparts must adhere to. This nuanced model might be particularly relevant for businesses where owners wish to align their personal financial fate with the entity, providing an implicit assurance to creditors, whilst maintaining a veil of financial confidentiality.

Though the tax implications remain broadly analogous to other corporate forms, it is the intricate dance of risk and reward that defines the Private Unlimited Company, demanding a keen awareness of financial health and a strategic approach to manage potential liabilities.

Community Interest Company (CIC)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Community Interest Company CIC £1 Corporation Tax

The Community Interest Company (CIC) occupies a distinctive niche within the United Kingdom’s corporate sphere, uniquely intertwining profit-making with purposeful social impact. Conceptualized to facilitate businesses that intend to utilize their profits and assets for public good, the CIC aims to meld entrepreneurial spirit with social value creation.

This model mandates a commitment to community benefits. Therefore, establishing a CIC requires submission of a community interest statement, and adherence to the “asset lock” – a provision designed to ensure that assets are used for the benefit of the community. While CICs are subject to Corporation Tax, their distinct positioning often qualifies them for specific grants and social investment opportunities, thereby nurturing their social objectives alongside economic functionality.

Despite a modest minimum share capital requirement of £1, steering a CIC demands a careful equilibrium of profitability and social obligations, ensuring that financial prudence and community impact coalesce into a sustainable enterprise.

Investment Company with Variable Capital (ICVC)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Investment Company with Variable Capital ICVC Variable Corporation Tax, VAT

The Investment Company with Variable Capital (ICVC) in the United Kingdom provides a flexible platform for collective investment, inherently designed to amalgamate and manage investors’ capital in a diversified portfolio of securities and assets. Unlike other corporate structures, the ICVC is characterized by its variable share capital, which fluctuates in direct correlation to the investment portfolio’s value and the issuance/redemption of shares by investors.

Strategically, the ICVC provides a conduit for investors to partake in a diversified portfolio, potentially diluting risk through varied investments whilst entrusting the management to professionals. Navigating through the fiscal waters, ICVCs are subject to Corporation Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT), thereby necessitating prudent financial management and compliance adherence to navigate through its nuanced tax landscape.

The inherent fluidity of the ICVC’s capital, while offering flexibility, demands adept financial and investment management to ensure investor confidence, regulatory compliance, and strategic investment growth.

General Partnership

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
General Partnership N/A None Income Tax

In a General Partnership within the United Kingdom, individual partners come together in a collective entrepreneurial endeavour without the formation of a distinct legal entity. This traditional business format shares profits, liabilities, and responsibilities among the partners, thereby binding them in a mutual business journey.

The absence of a separate legal entity implies that partners bear unlimited liability, wherein personal assets can potentially be utilized to cover business debts. Each partner, in essence, acts as an agent for the partnership and each other, intricately tying their financial and legal activities. Regarding tax implications, each partner is individually subjected to Income Tax on their respective share of profits, and must navigate through their personal tax responsibilities within this collective business arrangement.

The vitality of a General Partnership springs from its simplicity and directness in management and profit-sharing, yet demands a harmonious alignment of partners’ objectives, and a meticulous handling of shared responsibilities and liabilities.

Sole Trader

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Sole Trader N/A None Income Tax, National Insurance

The entity of a Sole Trader in the United Kingdom epitomizes an individual who independently engages in entrepreneurial activities without constituting a separate legal entity. Engaging in an array of businesses, Sole Traders manifest as freelancers, consultants, or shop owners, interfacing directly with their customers and clientele.

The simplicity and direct control associated with operating as a Sole Trader present evident allure. Every aspect of the business, from daily operations to financial management, falls under the purview of the Sole Trader. However, this autonomy comes tethered to an intrinsic, unlimited liability, binding personal assets to the fortune of the business.

Taxation is straightforward, with income from the business being subjected to Income Tax and National Insurance. Managing the balance between operational freedom and the inherent financial risk proves pivotal for Sole Traders in crafting a sustainable and lucrative entrepreneurial journey.

Right To Manage Company (RTM)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Right To Manage Company RTM None Corporation Tax

The Right To Manage Company (RTM) emerges as a specialized form of incorporation within the United Kingdom, primarily orchestrated to facilitate leaseholders in acquiring the management rights of their property. The quintessence of the RTM lies in its empowerment of leaseholders, granting them the autonomy to manage communal areas and services, typically under the aegis of the landlord or a management agency.

The RTM structure fundamentally shifts the management control towards the leaseholders without necessitating the ownership transfer of the property. It allows them to forge a collective entity, which then assumes the responsibilities pertaining to services, repairs, maintenance, and insurance. While the RTM does not mandate a minimum share capital, its operations are subjected to Corporation Tax.

The holistic management of properties through an RTM requires a synergistic alignment among leaseholders and meticulous management of communal services and finances to ensure the smooth functionality and sustainability of the living environment.

Societas Europaea (SE)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Societas Europaea SE €120,000 Corporation Tax

The Societas Europaea (SE) unfolds as a pan-European corporate entity, enabling businesses to operate seamlessly across European Union member states under a unified legal structure. The SE stands as a testament to the collective economic and legal integration within the EU, aiming to mitigate the legal and administrative barriers that typically manifest when navigating through varied national legal systems.

With a minimum share capital of €120,000, the SE is formulated to facilitate cross-border activities, mergers, and relocations within the Single Market. While it operates under a common European framework, the SE is also subject to national legislation and is obliged to comply with the corporate laws of the member state where it is registered.

Fiscally, the SE is subjected to Corporation Tax and must navigate through the tax landscape of the relevant jurisdiction, thereby entwining a unified European framework with nuanced national legal and fiscal obligations. Strategizing operations within and across borders, SE entities need to harmonize their pan-European objectives with national legal and fiscal nuances to ensure compliant and effective operations.

Common Questions

How to register a company in the UK

Starting a company in the United Kingdom involves several steps. First, you need to choose a suitable business structure, such as a Limited Company (Ltd) or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Next, you must register your business with Companies House, providing essential details about the company, its directors, and its registered office address. Additionally, you’ll need to create Articles of Association, outlining the company’s internal rules.

Once registered, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation, indicating your company’s legal existence. Finally, you must fulfill tax obligations, including registering for Corporation Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) if applicable.

What are the requirements for company formation in the UK?

To form a company in the UK, you’ll need:

1. A registered office address in the UK.
2. At least one director who is at least 16 years old.
3. A company name that is unique and doesn’t infringe on trademarks.
4. Details of shareholders and their shares.
5. Articles of Association outlining the company’s rules.
6. Appoint a company secretary (optional but recommended).

Additionally, you should comply with anti-money laundering regulations and provide proof of identity and address for directors and shareholders.

How much does it cost to set up a company in the UK?

The cost of setting up a company in the UK depends on several factors, including the type of company and the services you choose. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the basic costs include:

1. Company registration fee with Companies House: Approximately £12.
2. Optional same-day registration: Around £30.
3. Registered office address service (if needed): Prices vary.
4. Company formation services (if using a formation agent): Prices vary.
5. Additional costs for legal and financial advice if required.

It’s essential to budget for ongoing annual expenses, including filing annual accounts and complying with tax regulations.

What is the process of incorporating a business in the United Kingdom?

Incorporating a business in the UK involves these key steps:

1. Choose a suitable business structure (e.g., Ltd, LLP).
2. Register your company with Companies House online or by post.
3. Provide required information, including company name, directors, shareholders, and registered office address.
4. Create Articles of Association or adopt model articles.
5. Receive a Certificate of Incorporation from Companies House, confirming your company’s legal existence.
6. Register for Corporation Tax with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
7. Consider registering for VAT if your turnover exceeds the threshold.
8. Open a business bank account.
9. Comply with ongoing filing and reporting requirements.

Do I need a physical address to register a company in the UK?

Yes, you need a registered office address in the UK to register a company. This address will be publicly accessible and will serve as the official contact point for your company. It doesn’t have to be your trading address, but it must be a valid physical location where official documents can be delivered and where the company’s statutory records are kept.

Can foreigners open a company in the UK?

Absolutely, foreigners can open a company in the UK. There are no restrictions on nationality or residency for company directors or shareholders. You can operate a UK company from anywhere in the world. However, it’s essential to understand UK tax regulations and comply with reporting requirements, especially if you’re not a UK resident.

Are there any tax incentives for startups in the UK?

Yes, the UK offers tax incentives and reliefs for startups and small businesses. These include:

1. Startup Loans: Government-backed loans for new businesses.
2. Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS): Provides tax relief for investors in eligible startups.
3. Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS): Offers tax benefits to investors in very early-stage startups.
4. Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief: Reduces tax liability for companies investing in innovation.
5. Business Rates Relief: Discounts on business property taxes for small businesses.

These incentives aim to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the UK.

What are the responsibilities of company directors in the UK?

Company directors in the UK have various responsibilities, including:

1. Acting in the company’s best interests.
2. Complying with the Companies Act and other laws.
3. Filing annual accounts and reports with Companies House.
4. Maintaining accurate company records.
5. Not using company information for personal gain.
6. Avoiding conflicts of interest.
7. Ensuring health and safety compliance.
8. Paying taxes and National Insurance contributions.

Directors play a crucial role in managing and guiding the company’s affairs.

Are there any restrictions on foreign ownership of UK companies?

No, there are generally no restrictions on foreign ownership of UK companies. Foreign nationals and entities can fully own and operate businesses in the UK. The country welcomes international investment and entrepreneurship. However, foreign-owned companies must adhere to UK laws and regulations, including tax and reporting requirements.

Solutions and prices

LTD incorporation

from 18 €

Holding company incorporation

from 150 €

Branch establishment

from 250 €

LLP incorporation

from 450 €

PLC incorporation

from 670 €

Already established companies

from 1200 €

Ask for consulting

Request a consultation today.

You will be contacted by our team as soon as possible.

    I consent to the processing of my personal data in accordance with Legislative Decree 196/2003. *