If you are interested in registering your own company, you have probably come across the words “Companies House” but who exactly are they and what do they do?
Companies House is the registrar of UK companies
- The primary function of Companies House is to be the registrar of UK Limited companies
- Unlike sole traders, which are people, Limited companies are created as entities in their own right
- You can think of Companies House as the Births, Deaths and Marriages for companies. If a company is created, renamed, restructured or closed…this is where the action happens
There are 3 main branches of Companies House
- Companies House Cardiff is responsible for the register of companies formed in England and Wales
- Companies House Edinburgh is responsible for the register of companies formed in Scotland
- Companies House Belfast is responsible for the register of companies formed in Northern Ireland
Companies House holds company information
- The registered office address of companies determines which branch of Companies House will record that company
- Companies House allocates a unique sequential company number to each new company registered
- Cardiff allocates 8 digit numbers, Edinburgh companies start with “SC” and Belfast with “NI”
- Companies may change names but never company numbers
How to keep up to date at Companies House
- Each year companies must submit a confirmation statement to Companies House
- This keeps the register up to date with shareholders, directors, registered address and SIC codes
- Companies may make individual record updates at Companies House any time
What’s the difference between the national archives and the Companies House search register?
On the other hand, Companies House is a separate entity responsible for facilitating the registration and maintenance of UK companies. Its focus is to oversee the legal requirements surrounding company registration and dissolution. Through the Companies House search register, one can access essential information about registered companies, as mandated by the registrar of companies.
While the national archives encompass a broader scope that includes government records and historical materials, Companies House primarily focuses on company-related information. The national archives offer a comprehensive archive of various documents, while Companies House provides a specific register solely dedicated to company records.
National Archives vs. Companies House Register: What’s the Difference?
The National Archives is the UK’s official historical memory bank, storing old government documents, maps and photos. Their primary role is to preserve and safeguard these valuable resources, as well as provide public access to them.
Companies House is a separate entity all about LTD companies. It’s where every UK LTD company must sign up and keep its details updated, like who’s in charge, how to get in touch and financial details.
Finding Sole Trader Details at Companies House: Is It Possible?
No, you won’t find sole traders on the Companies House website. Sole traders, who operate individually and are personally liable for their business, are not required to register with Companies House as they are not limited companies. They do not appear on any public register. However, they must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax purposes.
Can I Hide My Info from the Companies House Website?
Yes, you can hide your personal info on Companies House if you’re worried about privacy. When you register a company with Companies House you and the other company members provide personal details such as an address which is publicly available. Once your address details have been published, they are on the company records and it’s difficult to remove them.
You can pay for a service, known as a directors service address, that uses a different address on the public record. Company formation agencies like Duport provide these services and they can be selected during the formation process. Companies House does not provide these services directly.
Can Anyone Look Up Companies House Details?
Yes, anyone can view the Companies House register for free. If you want to monitor a company and get updates, you can sign up for an account on their website.
How Do Businesses Use Companies House Info?
Businesses can use Companies House to research their competitors. It’s a handy tool for doing homework on companies you might want to do business with. It’s used to check if a company is legit or to review its financial health and filing records to reduce the risks in forming potential partnerships, providing, or using their services.
It’s also used to research happening in their market.
What’s Companies House WebCheck and How Do I Use It?
Companies House WebCheck is a tool, found on the Companies House website, that lets you look up UK businesses information online. Just head over to https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house On the homepage, you will find the option to “Find and update company information.” Pop in a company’s name or number, and you’ll see all sorts of info about them. Lots of information is free, but some documents you’ll just need to pay £1. You will need to create an account on the Companies House website. The Company members will not be informed who has requested information.
Are Any Companies Not on the Companies House Register?
Yes, some companies do not appear on the register. This includes certain cooperative societies (IP & SP), Registered Society (RS) e.g. building societies, are not included in the register. investment funds (ICVC), and companies set up by royal charter (RC, SR, NR). They have their own rules and are registered elsewhere.
What Happens to Companies That Don’t Keep Their Info Up to Date?
Companies that don’t file their accounts and confirmation statements on time will receive fines, which vary depending on the level of non-compliance. They can even be shut down (dissolved) if they don’t rectify the issues.
As all information is visible on the Companies House register it’s not great for your company’s reputation to file late.
Companies are reminded to file by Companies House. Duport also sends filing notices to make sure you don’t miss those deadlines. We can even file for you if you don’t have the time.