Yes, you can set up a limited company in the UK with one person. The application form requires you to list a minimum of one director and one member (shareholder or guarantor). However, it is not uncommon for the same individual to be listed in both of these positions. This means that a sole person can set up a UK limited company at Companies House.
This is incredibly useful 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 be brought in 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 an 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 focuses on private limited companies, as opposed to public limited companies (PLCs). The latter type of company has additional requirements, namely the need to appoint at least two directors and a company secretary.
The requirements of setting up a limited company
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 that Companies House, HMRC, and other government agencies send to your company will be delivered to your registered office address, so it must be a real, physical address (i.e., not a PO Box number) 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 (you need to provide 1-4 SIC codes for this part)
- Details of directors, including service addresses
- Details of members, including service addresses
- 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 through your new company from the moment that it is incorporated and you receive your certificate of incorporation.
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 offers a range of affordable company formation packages from £11.99 and includes various additional services, such as a registered office address and VAT registration.