Yes, a limited company can be registered in the UK with Companies House by a single person. The application form requires you to list a minimum of one director and one member (shareholder or guarantor), but it is not uncommon for the same individual to be listed in both of these positions. This means you can set up a limited company with just one person.
This is very helpful for many small business owners who like to work alone or have no need for a business partner. Furthermore, the limited company structure is very flexible, so additional members and directors can join the business at any time after the initial company formation.
Almost anyone is able to set up a limited company in the United Kingdom, as long as they are a minimum of 16 years old and not a disqualified director or undischarged bankrupt. You don’t even need to be a resident of the UK to form a limited company here.
It is also worth mentioning a company’s articles may specifically demand a higher minimum number of directors. If this is the case, the company must adhere to that greater minimum requirement.
Please note: This blog is focused on private limited companies as distinct from public limited companies which have additional requirements, namely at least two directors.
Requirements of company formation
In addition to naming at least one director and one member, it is a requirement that all limited companies supply a registered office address at the point of incorporation. This will become the official address of your new company, and it must be located in the same jurisdiction in which you are choosing to incorporate.
All correspondence from Companies House, HMRC and other government agencies – addressed to the company, will be sent to your registered office address, so it must be a real address, i.e. not a PO Box, where mail can be received.
The details of this address will be published on the Companies House website as a matter of public record, and all your statutory company records must be made available at this location for public inspection.
The simplest way to register a limited company is to use an authorised company formation agent, but you can apply independently as well. Your application will require you to supply the following details:
- Company name
- Registered office address
- The nature of business activities/operations (in the form of 1-4 SIC codes)
- Details of directors, including service addresses
- Details of members, including service addresses
- Memorandum and articles of association
- Details of the company’s people with significant control
When you set up a company through an agent, approval from Companies House can take as little as 3 to 6 working hours, but it may take a little longer if you apply independently. You can begin trading under your company as soon as it is registered and a certificate of incorporation is ordered.
Sole trader or limited company?
You should consider the pros and cons of registering as a limited company as opposed to operating as a sole trader. The key advantages of trading as a limited company are limited liability and tax planning; however, there are various advantages and disadvantages of both options.
It may be prudent to speak to a company formation agent or an accountant to get professional advice before making a choice.
If you do decide to set up a limited company, Quality Company Formations offer a range of affordable company formation packages from £14.99 and include various additional services, such as a registered office address and VAT registration.