Off the shelf companies used to be the normal means of forming new companies. An off the shelf company is simply one that is registered by a formation agent in their own name. Once a customer chooses to register that company name, the name is transferred to the company upon payment. Company formation agents would keep a list of these companies for customers to choose from which would then be quickly transferred when someone decided to open a business under that company name. This was done so that new business owners could quickly get their businesses up and running. Today, Companies House allows company formation agents to register companies online so many choose this form of beginning a new company. Many however, still have company names that are registered with Companies House and which can be quickly transferred to a customer who wants to open a new business.
Many company formation agents now refer to these off the shelf companies as vintage companies. These companies can still be purchased by those who want to begin a new business and many offer several company names from which to choose. Many of these companies have been registered with Companies House for many years and some have accounts and returns that have also been submitted.
These companies typically also include the certificate of incorporation as well as the memorandum and articles of association, the register of officers and shareholders, share certificates and application for shares letters. What is actually included with the purchase of an off the shelf company will vary depending on the company formation agent that one chooses to use for this purpose. VAT registration is typically applied for when the off the shelf company is transferred to the new owner. In some cases it is possible to make a retrospective application to back date the registration of VAT.
These types of companies began to be phased out when Companies House started allowing for company registration and formation to be done online. What used to take weeks can now be done in a matter of hours using the internet. Of course, some still choose to purchase an off the shelf company for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that a chosen company name is already registered and if that name happens to be an off the shelf company, that name can be purchased and used by the new owner.
When choosing to buy an off the shelf company, it is important to remember that the business name is very important. Choose a company that has a name that correlates to what your business is about. Off the shelf company names are already registered with Companies House so their names are approved. You simply have to find one that will relate to your new company and then purchase it from the company formation agent if this is the way that you prefer to start your new business. If you have questions about this type of company formation, a company formation agent that offers off the shelf companies can help you to better understand the process.
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