Cover letter to Companies House to form a limited company

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What's a cover letter to Companies House to form a limited company, and when do you need it?

If you’re setting up a new private limited company, this is (the first ever and) the right cover letter for requesting Companies House to set up the company for you. It contains the references you need to all the correct enclosures (you'll need to complete and file a number of forms with this letter, for example). You can produce these forms in hard copy. Some of them can be filed directly and online through the Companies House WebFiling service instead. You can find out which ones here. (

If you decide to make your application is made in paper form, then you will need to submit a form IN01. The link here will also take you to the online application if you’d prefer to use that method. (If you use the online approach, you won’t need this cover letter.)

You’ll also need an appropriate template memorandum of association, which you can find here. We don’t include a version of this on our platform since unlike the articles of association, the memorandum of association must be in exactly the format prescribed by Companies House for Companies House to accept it as valid and suitable for incorporation. By using the above link to the Companies House version, you can be confident that you are using the most up-to-date and fully acceptable version.

Next come your articles of association. You can submit a bespoke set of articles of association with your application if you are submitting the application in paper form. Our template articles of association can be used for that purpose and they are designed to provide you with greater flexibility, including in your decision-making processes and rights, than the default model articles provided by Companies House. There is no option to submit bespoke articles of association when making an application online (although bespoke articles could be adopted and submitted to Companies House after incorporation).

If no bespoke articles are adopted, the Companies House model articles of association will apply by default. These can be found here. They are fine as a starting point, but may not provide you with many of the decision-making freedoms and flexibility that most business owners require when starting out. So – somewhat perversely for a digital business! – we actually recommend that you use our bespoke template instead and file paper copies, to avoid the hassle of having to amend things later – potentially when shareholder permission is needed and getting changes is a more lengthy process. But if you’re in a hurry and want to get up and running fast, without waiting a few days for the paper application to be processed, then you may prefer to adopt the model articles and amend them later on.

Finally, you’ll need to send a cheque – it’s not an expensive process at all. You can check up to date fee information here. Online applications are currently cheaper than paper copies.

What else might you need?

For more information about filing forms at Companies House take a look at our guide to company registers and recordkeeping, our guide to a company secretary's checklist of duties (including filing time-frames) and our guide to registered offices.

If you are starting out with your business, you’ll probably find our guide to setting up a limited company helpful too. This will take you through the key legal and business actions that you’ll need to be prepared for, and to ensure you’ve covered, so that your new company starts out on a strong footing.

Our separate standard template letter to Companies House covers the majority of filings that a company will need to make once it is all set up. You'll want to use this where, for example, you're changing the company's registered address (Form AD01), issuing shares (Form SH01), appointing new statutory directors(AP01) or to change that director's details (CH01), or you're giving notice of a 'personal with significant control' (PSC) over your business (PSC01).

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