Congratulations, you’ve decided to start a business! Now you’re asking yourself, “how do I register my business name”? No worries, we’ve got your back with a quick guide to doing exactly that!
If you’d like to set up a limited company or LLP, you’ll need to register with Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies. Before you get started you should check that:
your proposed company name is available - it’s easy to find out with the Companies House name availability checker
the business name doesn’t contain any of the sensitive words or expressions outlined in government guidance documents
you’ve kept your business name consistent in your application and supporting documentation
you’ve registered your business name as a trademark to prevent others from trading under your name
Once you’ve checked off the above list, you’ll be in a good position to register your business name with Companies House.
The cost of registering a business name depends on which method you choose to send your application:
Are you a sole trader? If that’s the case, then you don’t need to register with Companies House. Instead you should register with HMRC to let them know they should expect an annual Self Assessment tax return from you.
It’s possible to trade under your own name or to choose an alternative name for your sole trader business; however, sole trader names must not:
include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership’, ‘LLP’, ‘public limited company’ or ‘plc’
contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression or suggest a connection with government or local authorities, unless permitted to do so
be the same as an existing trademark
If you’re registering a business partnership name, then you and your partner (or partners) must share responsibility for the business. With a business partnership you need to:
name your partnership according to government rules e.g. not including a ‘sensitive word
assign a ‘nominated partner’ (responsible for managing the partnership’s tax returns)
share profits between partners
If you’re the nominated partner then you’re responsible for sending the partnership’s tax return and you must register the partnership for Self Assessment with HMRC. All partners need to send their own tax returns as individuals.
When filling out official paperwork for a partnership, it’s important to include all the partners’ names.
Expanding your business to the UK? Any company that wants to conduct business from a UK address needs to register with Companies House.
Once you’ve registered your business name, why not sign up for a 30-day free trial with FreeAgent? Our award-winning accounting software has everything you’ll need to help you keep your business finances on the right track.
Whether you have an established business or you're just starting your journey, you could access FreeAgent's award-winning accounting software completely free of charge.
If you have a business current account from NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland or Ulster Bank NI, you can access the full version of FreeAgent for free for as long as you retain your account.
Disclaimer:The content included in this guide is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this guide. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.
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