Can I register a limited company after I have started trading?


I’ve got a new business idea in the works that I would like to capitalise upon now. I mean, like, now. I’ve got clients lined up who really want me to fill orders as soon as possible. The problem is that I’m not actually incorporated as a limited company yet. Can I go ahead and start trading as a company now and register later?



You cannot start trading as a company until you have officially incorporated a limited company with Companies House. This will only take a few hours if you set up your company online through a formation agent, so it’s nothing to be concerned about.

There is nothing to stop you from taking orders and providing services to any clients you have at the moment, but you must not pretend that you are operating as a company until you have actually registered your company. Until you do this, you will be classed as a sole trader - i.e. a self-employed individual.

Any business income you receive before your company is incorporated should not be entered into your company accounts because the dates will not align - these earnings should be treated as self-employed income and reported through Self-Assessment.

Ideally, just hold off for a few hours until your company is registered and then take payments for your orders. This will make everything a lot simpler.

2 years ago

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