The United Kingdom is one of the world’s most popular domiciles for establishing private companies limited by shares (often called “Limited Companies” or Ltd).
Starting in 2009, Companies House in Cardiff administering company registration for England and Wales, set up a much improved-upon online filing systems allowing for company registrations to complete within just a few hours. Many established companies registration agents both in the U. K. and in other countries have implemented that service and set up procedures using Companies House’s internet-based XML access for submitting company data and swiftly retrieving responses.
With the introduction of the internet-based service, it is not just processing time but also cost that has been decreased significantly. Both improvements are passed on by reputable company formation services to their clients and allow for a U. K. company to be operational within one business day (sometimes as little as three hours) and at a cost from around £40 or £50, with discount providers charging as little as £18 in fees (net). Varying degrees of added services might be useful to add to these basic execution-only services, at extra cost, depending on individual service providers. Offerings with higher-level “packaged” services may range from around £70 to multiple hundred pounds for many all-in-one solutions or for particular, more in-depth consultations included. It may or may not be worthwhile to buy “larger package” solutions, depending on what level of support is needed by a small business, but a basic package for less than one hundred pounds is often sufficient.
Other countries have been responding to these developments by improving their own national regulations and company formation procedures. Norway has lowered both its minimum capital requirements for private limited companies called A/S (or Aksieselskab) in 2012 and also gradually decreased corporation tax for small companies to a 28% rate — still higher than in the U. K. — and has also improved numerous collateral regulations for smaller companies.
Some little-known countries like Georgia have joined the list of most favourable small business and company domiciles. Sweeping reforms in that country, including a 10% flat tax, have created a very business-friendly climate often compared with that of Singapore or Hong Kong but much closer to home and situated in a more convenient time zone.
Most recently, Chile has announced a total revamp of their companies law including improved incorporation services (expected to be available online from June 2013). Chile has also slashed incorporation cost to make incorporation in the South-American country more appealing and attract foreign businesses into the country.
Whether or not these will work out in practice remains to be seen, but it is likely that alternative domiciles may soon be as attractive as the U. K., the most reputable and established one, has been for quite some time now.
A web-based availability check for U. K. company names is available below, simply fill in your desired company name or use this tool to “play” with different names for a free online check (may take up to 15 seconds to process).
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