How to set up a Ltd company as a freelancer
You may have made the decision to bill your freelance clients as a Ltd company. If so, you’ll need to register your freelance Ltd company with Companies House.
Once your Ltd company has been registered, you will get a Certificate of Incorporation that shows your company number and date it was formed. This is proof that your company legally exists.
What do you need to register a freelance Ltd company?
To register your Ltd company with Companies House you’ll need:
- Your company’s name and registered address.
- At least one director.
- At least one shareholder.
- Details of your company’s shares (this is called the ‘memorandum of association’).
- Rules about how the company is run (the ‘articles of association’).
How do you register a freelance Ltd company?
You can register your Ltd company with Companies House:
- Online (as long as your company is limited by shares and uses articles of association).
- By post using form IN01.
- Using an accountant.
- Using an agent.
How much does it cost and how long does it take?
You can register your Ltd company yourself online. It will take 48 hours and cost you £15, and you can pay by debit card, credit card or Paypal. You can also register your application by post. This will cost £40 and take 8-10 days. You’ll need to pay by cheque, made out to ‘Companies House’.
If you wish, you can get a same day service by post, as long as your application is received by Companies House by 3pm. This will cost you £100.
Setting up a freelance Ltd company through an accountant or formation agent
The easiest way to set up a freelance Ltd company is through an accountant or agent. They will fill out all your forms and submit them to Companies House for you. How much this costs will depend on your accountant or agent, but as an example, Your Company Formations Ltd offers Company Registration Packages from £12.48.
Some accountants charge their fee upfront, while others will include them in a monthly fee programme.
Need to know more about running a freelance business?
Not sure whether to stay self-employed? Confused about VAT? You’ll find lots of helpful advice in these articles:
- A quick guide to VAT.
- What is flat rate VAT?
- Are you eligible for flat rate VAT?
- How does flat rate VAT work for freelancers?
- When you need to register for VAT.
- How to register for VAT.
- Read our financial checklist for starting a freelance business.
- Learn about deducting and paying National Insurance.
- How to choose a name for your Ltd company.
- Find out if you need to complete a tax return.
- Should you start a Ltd company or be self-employed?
- How HMRC have made it easier to claim self-employed expenses.
- Are you really self-employed? Take the IR35 test!