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How to Register a Business Name in UK?

Are you ready to turn your business dreams into reality? One of the essential steps to launching a successful venture is registering your business name. In the UK, this process may seem daunting at first, but fear not! We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide on how to register a business name in the UK.

Whether you’re planning to start as a sole trader, form a partnership, or establish yourself as a limited liability company, we’ll walk you through each registration process step by step. Plus, we’ll answer some common questions along the way and provide tips for choosing an effective business name.

So, let’s dive right in and unlock the secrets to officially registering your unique brand identity in the dynamic world of British entrepreneurship!

What is a Business Name and Why It is Important?

The name you choose for your business plays a crucial role in shaping the perception of your brand among customers. It serves as a symbolic representation of your company’s identity and values. A well-thought-out business name not only conveys a sense of professionalism and credibility but also establishes a connection with your target audience.

Furthermore, the business name significantly influences brand recognition. A memorable and distinctive name makes it easier for both existing and potential customers to identify and remember your brand. This recognition can lead to increased trust, loyalty, and repeat business.

In essence, your business name is a key component of your overall brand strategy. It is the initial point of contact between your company and the market, setting the tone for the customer experience and shaping their expectations. Therefore, choosing a meaningful and impactful business name is a strategic decision that can contribute significantly to the success and longevity of your brand in the competitive business landscape.

How to Register a Business Name in UK?

How to Register a Business Name in UK?

Registering a business name in the UK is a crucial step towards establishing your brand identity and protecting your intellectual property. There are different registration processes depending on the type of business structure you wish to operate under like LLP, Sole Trader, and Business Partnerships. We will explain those categories in the further content.

By following these guidelines and conducting thorough research into availability and possible restrictions surrounding proposed names, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a strong and memorable brand identity in the UK market.

Register as Limited Liability Partnerships

Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) offer a great option for individuals looking to start a business in the UK. Registering as an LLP provides the benefits of limited liability, similar to that of a corporation, while still allowing for flexibility and simplicity in running your business.

To register as an LLP, you will need to file the necessary documents with Companies House. This includes providing details about the partners involved, such as their names and addresses. You will also need to choose a unique name for your partnership that is not already registered by another company or individual.

Once you have gathered all the required information, you can submit your application online or by mail. The cost of registering as an LLP is £40 when filing online or £100 if sent by post.

It’s important to note that registering as an LLP does come with certain requirements and responsibilities. For example, all partners must comply with annual reporting and accounting obligations. Additionally, it’s advisable to draft a partnership agreement outlining each partner’s rights and responsibilities.

Registering as an LLP offers entrepreneurs many advantages when starting their business venture in the UK. It combines limited liability protection with operational flexibility – making it an attractive choice for those seeking both security and freedom in running their businesses.

Registering Your Sole Trader Business

Registering Your Sole Trader Business

As a sole trader in the UK, operating as a business entity on your own, you have certain legal obligations and restrictions. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

Registration: Unlike companies, sole traders are not required to register with Companies House. However, you must register your business with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) for tax purposes. This registration ensures that HMRC is aware that you will be using the self-assessment system to report and pay your taxes.

Business Name: When choosing a business name, you must adhere to rules regarding sensitive and offensive language. The name you select should not be inappropriate or misleading. Additionally, you cannot choose a business name already registered as a trademark. It is your responsibility to check for existing trademarks before finalising your business name.

Restricted Terms:

As a sole trader, you are not allowed to use certain terms in your business name, as they imply a legal business structure that you don’t have. These terms include:

  • ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’
  • ‘Limited Liability Partnership’ or ‘LLP’
  • ‘Public Limited Company’ or ‘plc’

These terms are reserved for specific legal structures, such as limited companies and LLPs. Using them without the corresponding legal structure would be misleading.

Business Correspondence: A key requirement for sole traders is to include their own name and the business name on all business correspondence. This includes invoices, letters, emails, and other communications related to your business. This helps in clearly identifying the individual behind the business.

Registering Your Business Partnership

A business partnership is subject to the same language and trademark regulations. Your application must designate a ‘nominated partner’ responsible for submitting tax returns.

The process of registering a company is more intricate than merely choosing a name, especially for limited companies. Naming is just one aspect of this comprehensive process.

Throughout this process, you will also need to:

  • Register for corporation tax
  • Provide a publicly accessible UK company address
  • Ensure accurate details for directors, company secretary, and shareholders
  • Attach a memorandum and articles of association
  • Assign a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code

You can find detailed explanations of these steps in our ‘How to Set Up a Limited Company’ guide.

There’s a considerable amount to consider! It’s advisable to carefully plan and organise everything before initiating the online application form.

Registering as an Overseas Company in the UK

Registering as an Overseas Company in the UK

To register as an overseas company in the UK, you will need to provide certain information and documentation. This includes details about your existing company, such as its name, registration number, and registered office address. You will also need to appoint a local agent who can act on behalf of your company in any legal matters.

It’s worth noting that there may be some additional requirements depending on the specific regulations of your home country. For example, if you are based in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you may need to follow different procedures under EU law.

Once all necessary documents have been submitted and verified by Companies House, your overseas company will be registered with a unique registration number. This allows you to carry out business activities legally within the UK

Other Ways to Registering Business name in the UK?

You can register your business name in the UK through different methods, including:

  • Online: Via the official Companies House website
  • By Post: Submitting the required documents and forms through mail
  • Using an Agent: Employing a professional agent or service to handle the registration process
  • Third-Party Software: Utilising specialised software for business registration

Corporation Tax Registration:

  • It is mandatory to register for Corporation Tax within 3 months of commencing business activities
  • Corporation Tax registration is a separate process from business name registration and involves declaring taxable profits and managing associated tax liabilities

These steps ensure legal compliance and facilitate the smooth establishment and operation of your business in the UK.

How Much Does It Cost to Register My Business Name in the UK?

The registration costs vary based on the method chosen. Many business owners opt for the online registration, incurring a £12 fee with Companies House. Online applications are typically processed within 24 hours. For those applying by post, the process takes 8-10 days and costs £40.

For expedited, same-day registrations, there’s an option available at a cost of £100. However, this is contingent on completing the online registration by 3 pm on the same day. Consider whether an immediate response is crucial to your needs before incurring the additional expense.

Payment of these fees can be made through PayPal, credit card, or debit card. If you opt to use a company formation agent for assistance, be aware that their fee is a separate consideration and should be factored into your overall cost.

What Problems Might There Be With My Suggested Name?

What Problems Might There Be With My Suggested Name?

  1. Similar Names: When proposing a company name, the government’s name check tool may identify it as ‘similar to’ an existing one. This encompasses not only identical names but also those with slight variations, like special characters, punctuation, or words resembling each other. To use a ‘similar’ name, consent from the related limited company or LLP is necessary, unless your business is part of that entity.
  1. Names Resembling Others: Names considered ‘too similar’ to those of registered companies, exemplified by instances like ‘Easy Electrics For You Ltd’ and ‘EZ Electrix 4U Ltd,’ will be disallowed. If a complaint is upheld by Companies House regarding the likeness of your name to another, there may be a requirement to alter it.
  1. Offensive Language: The registration of names containing offensive language, including profanity or discriminatory terms, is prohibited. While humor in business names can be effective, those verging on ‘adult humor’ are likely to face rejection by Companies House.
  1. Words Requiring Permission: Certain words and expressions, termed “sensitive words and expressions,” necessitate permission for use. The 2014 Company, Limited Liability Partnership, and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations outline restricted words. For instance, approval from the Financial Conduct Authority is essential for incorporating words like ‘insurer’ or ‘insurance’ in a company name. Distinct professional bodies grant permission based on your UK location for specific words.
  1. Regulated Expressions: Specific words such as Olympic, Olympian, Olympiad, Paralympic, Paralympian, and Paralympiad require authorisation from designated bodies like the British Olympic Association. Without written consent, the inclusion of these words in your company name will result in rejection by Companies House. The application process for permission depends on the professional body associated with the word and your location within the UK.


Registering a business name in the UK may seem like a daunting task, but with these steps and tips, you can easily navigate through the process. Remember to choose a unique and memorable name that accurately represents your brand, and consider trademarking it for added protection.

The registration process may vary depending on the type of business structure you have chosen, so make sure to research and follow all necessary guidelines. With your business name officially registered, you are one step closer to building your dream company in the thriving market of the UK. Good luck!


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