Register your business now to avoid paying 4x more

Starting a business in the UK? Company registration fees are set to quadruple, and stricter ID checks are coming into place to combat fraud from May 1st.

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Entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, take note: registering your company is about to get significantly more expensive. 

From May 1st, 2024, the fees associated with incorporating a new business will see a dramatic rise – the first significant increase since 2016.

Currently, setting up a limited liability partnership (LLP) or a business comes at a modest cost of just £12. However, this price tag is about to jump to a much steeper £50 for online registration of a new company or LLP. For those seeking same-day service, the fee can climb even higher, reaching £78.

Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies, emphasises that these one-off registration fee hikes are not intended to generate profit. They maintain that the new charges are simply designed to “cover the cost of the services we deliver.”

The changes aren’t limited to just incorporation fees, however. Annual confirmation statements, a yearly requirement for businesses, will also see a significant rise. Submitting this document digitally will now cost £34, compared to the previous £13.

Overseas businesses looking to incorporate in the UK will also face a steeper price tag. The cost has jumped from £20 to £71, a move that some argue may not be enough to deter potential fraudsters. Similarly, the fee to register annual accounts has tripled, going from £20 to a hefty £62.

While the cost increase may seem substantial, industry experts believe it’s a necessary step. Alex John, product director at IRIS Software stated his belief that inaccurate and misleading information within Companies House records were creating a serious threat to the UK economy by undermining the integrity of financial systems. 

John believes that the increased filing fees will ultimately empower Companies House to deliver a better service, and ensure accountants have access to accurate information on the company register.

Supporters of the fee increase also see it as a potential deterrent to fraudulent activity.  Dame Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, stated on X (formerly Twitter) that the previous £12 fee essentially “incentivised the creation of phony companies.”  

She views the new £50 fee as a welcome step towards deterring mass fraud, promoting legitimate businesses, and empowering Companies House to combat economic crime.  However, some remain sceptical about the effectiveness of this approach, citing recent cases like the impersonation of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, where the potential gains for scammers might still outweigh the new registration cost.

The new changes will also extend beyond just fees: Companies House is also set to implement stricter online identification verification policies when individuals register new companies. 

For more information, you can check out the full list of Companies House price increases on the website.

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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