What is Companies House?

Companies House is the UK's official registrar of companies (including limited partnerships and LLPs). Operating as an executive government agency, Companies House is responsible for incorporating and dissolving UK limited companies, registering and updating company information, making this data publicly available, and ensuring that companies fulfil their legal reporting and filing obligations.

What is a limited company?

A limited company is a type of business entity that has been incorporated (registered) with Companies House, either as limited by shares or limited by guarantee. The company is legally distinct from its members (shareholders or guarantors), meaning their financial liability to the company is limited to what they invest in shares or provide by guarantee.

What is a company limited by shares?

A company limited by shares is the most common type of company for commercial (profit-making) businesses. This kind of company is owned by shareholders, who each hold at least one share. Their financial liability to the company's creditors is limited to what they've paid (or agreed to pay) for their shares.

What is a company limited by guarantee?

A company limited by guarantee is a type of company designed for non-profit and charitable organisations. Instead of shareholders and shares, limited by guarantee companies have guarantors, who subscribe to the company and promise (guarantee) an agreed sum of money to the company if it's unable to pay its debts.

What is an LLP?

An LLP is the abbreviation for limited liability partnership. It is similar to a traditional partnership, with the key difference being that LLP members (partners) have limited liability for the LLP's debts. Like limited companies, LLPs must also incorporate with Companies House and meet certain statutory reporting and filing obligations.

What types of company can be set up on our website?

Rapid Formations specialises in the online formation (incorporation) of companies limited by shares, companies limited by guarantee, and LLPs. We are an authorised Companies House agent, offering professional, expert company formation help, advice, and services in the UK.

What is the Certificate of Incorporation?

The certificate of incorporation is an official document that Companies House issues to a company or LLP as soon as it's registered, proving that it legally exists and is duly incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 or the LLP Act 2000.

The certificate includes the company name and number, date of incorporation, limited status, and where the registered office is situated (England & Wales, Wales only, Scotland, or Northern Ireland).

This document is usually required by banks when opening a business bank account. If you form a company online through Rapid Formations, you will receive a digital copy of your Certificate of Incorporation by email as soon as your company formation application has been approved by Companies House.

What company names are acceptable?

Most company name are acceptable to Companies House, but there are a few rules to be aware of:

  • The name cannot be identical or too similar to an existing company's name
  • It must not be offensive
  • Some words are considered 'sensitive' and their use requires prior approval
  • Unless exempt, a limited company must add 'Limited' or 'Ltd' to the end of its name

It's easy to find out if a company name is available - and if it contains any sensitive words - by using the free online name checker on our homepage.

Should I add 'Limited' or 'LTD' to the end of my company name?

The terms 'Limited' and 'LTD' mean exactly the same thing, so you can choose to add either version to the end of your company name. The decision will simply dictate how the name appears on the company register and certificate of incorporation, but you may display either version on company stationery and signage.

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