How much does it cost to form a limited company?

It may surprise you to find out that you can form a limited company – direct via Companies House – for a mere £12. However, you may prefer to pay an intermediary to do this on your behalf – which will increase the cost.

What are your options?

There are 3 typical routes to forming a new company. In all cases, the formation itself will be registered at Companies House.

  1. Direct with Companies House
  2. Use a formations agent
  3. Use an accountant

Before you decide which route to take, read our set up a company guide to find out what is involved when you form a company, and what information you will need during the application process.

Form a company directly via Companies House

The most direct route, unsurprisingly, is to incorporate your new company directly with the registrar – Companies House.

You can either do this online, or submit paper forms (for an additional cost).

If you have all of the details you’ll need to incorporate to hand (personal information about the shareholders and office holders, plus proof of ID), you can start the online application here.

To apply online costs £12.

If you would prefer to register by post, you will need to fill in the physical version of application form IN01.

To apply by post costs £40, and may take 8-10 days.

Use a formations agent to form your company

If you would rather use a third party to help you with the application, there are numerous formations agents who will help walk you through the process (for a fee, of course).

You may prefer this option if you haven’t dealt with Companies House before, or simply for peace of mind.

The costs vary, of course, You can pay anything from a few pounds to several hundred, depending on the formations package you purchase.

Many formations agents provide a wide variety of add-ons, such as a registered office address, virtual office space, accountancy packages, business bank accounts, and so on.

This enables intermediaries to keep the price of formation very low in many cases.

Our formations partner, 1st Formations offers a variety of company formations packages – from a mere £12.99.

Use a limited company accountant

Almost all limited company businesses will hire an accountant to take care of the everyday accounting and tax tasks associated with running a company.

If you have already chosen an accountant prior to incorporating, it may make sense for them to handle to formations process too.

If your formation needs are complex – then seeking professional help (from an accountant) makes sense, for example if:

Again, the costs vary a great deal. Some accountants may provide the service for free assuming you are going to become a client. Others may charge a fixed one-off fee of £100 or so.

Things to bear in mind

If you apply online at Companies House, HMRC will automatically register your company for Corporation Tax at the same time. Otherwise you, or your accountant, will need to register separately. You may also want to register your company as an employer (for payroll purposes), and VAT if required.

Once your company has been successfully created, you will receive a certificate of incorporation, by post or email.

The cost of formation is fairly trivial compared to other costs you will have to bear whilst running a company.

You should choose the formation option which you feel most comfortable with – particularly when it comes to dealing with official paperwork.

Last updated: 4th September, 2021

Combine all of your old pensions into one simple online plan

Sign up in 5 minutes - over 600,000 users, including the Bytestart team!

Superscript no-ties business insurance - pay monthly

Tailored just for you + pay monthly. You could be covered in just 10 minutes.

Tide Business Bank Account - £40 welcome bonus!

Exclusive for Bytestart readers + 12 months' free transfers. Find out more.

FreeAgent Online Accounting - 55% off - ByteStart exclusive!

Brilliant software. Get 55% of your first 6 months, then 10% for life.

Related articles

  • set up a limited company

    How to set up a limited company – the basics

    Aside from the sole trader route, the limited liability company is the most popular business structure to trade under in the UK. Related guides: The Annual Return – Form AR01, what it is and how…

  • choose business structure

    Which is best? – sole trader, limited company, partnership or LLP?

    The type of structure you use will depend on a number of factors unique to the business you want to start. In this article, we look at the main structures – sole trader, limited company,…

  • limited liability director

    What does limited liability mean if you are a company director?

    One of the main benefits of trading via a limited company is that – if things go wrong – directors are not personally liable for the company’s debts, unless they have breached their statutory duties,…