Companies House refers to the registry of the UK limited companies, which acts as an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Its main objective is to incorporate and dissolve limited companies (including limited liability partnerships) in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in compliance with the Companies Act 2006, which regulates the registration of all companies in the United Kingdom. Moreover, Companies House is also responsible for reviewing, storing and updating the information of the company, including annual filings of such annual accounts and confirmation statements. Companies House makes this information available to the public, removing non-compliant companies from the register, and prosecuting directors.
Jurisdictions and locations of Companies House
There are three separate legal systems in the UK England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Consequently, Companies House has three different branches of the registrar, each dealing with companies in their own jurisdictions. A fourth office is located in London, but this only acts as an information centre where records can be delivered or filed, and search services are conducted on the UK registered limited companies.
- Companies House Cardiff Office, Crown Way, Cardiff, CF14 3UZ, is responsible for companies registered in England and Wales under English Law.
- Companies House Edinburgh Office, 2 Edinburgh Quay, 4th Floor, 139 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 9FF is responsible for companies registered in Scotland under Scots Law.
- Companies House Belfast Office, 2nd Floor TheLinenhall, 32-38 Linenhall St, Belfast, BT2 8BG, is responsible for companies registered in Northern Ireland, under Northern Irish law.
What branch of Companies House should you use?
When you set up a UK limited company, the registered office address (i.e. official contact address) identifies which Companies House branch deals with the incorporation and subsequent storing of company records. It also indicates which UK legal system applies to the company during its entire existence:
- Companies House Cardiff may be incorporated by a company with a registered office in either England or Wales.
- Companies House Edinburgh will be incorporated by a company with a registered office in Scotland.
- Companies House Belfast will be incorporated by a company with a registered office in Northern Ireland.
Limited companies in the UK may base their activities in any or several UK jurisdictions. It is the registered office address that must remain in the country of incorporation throughout a company's existence.
What information can be stored at Companies House?
Companies House can store an incredible amount of corporate information. Companies House aims to maintain a culture of corporate transparency in the UK by ensuring that the information on this register is as accurate and reliable as possible. The available information and statistics are used widely by members of the public, industry, public bodies and government.
Once a company is registered, whether directly to Companies House or through an online company forming agent, the firm must provide the registry with a variety of information, update Companies House of any changes after company formation, and file certain documents every year. Companies House stores the following information:
- Company incorporation date.
- Name of the company and company registration number.
- Registered office address.
- UK jurisdiction of incorporation.
- Company types (limited by shares, limited by guarantee, or limited liability partnership).
- Details of directors, company secretaries, shareholders or guarantors, people with significant control (PSCs), and LLP members, including other past or present company appointments held by each individual.
- SIC codes i.e. what the business does.
- Any changes made to company details and appointments.
- Filed statutory documents, including annual accounts and confirmation statements.
- Notices of late or missed statutory document filings.
- Mortgage charge data.
- Disqualified directors.
- Insolvency information.
- Compulsory or voluntary strike-off action.
- Details of dissolved companies.
Services of Companies House
In addition to company formation services, Companies House provides a variety of digital facilities that make it easy to manage your company online. It also accesses data on the other UK registered limited companies and the people who own, manage and control them.
Company filing services
You can use Companies House WebFiling to file information and documents online for your business. This service is available to all UK limited companies, enabling secure delivery of accounts, confirmation statements, notices of changes to company details, and registration of charges. You can also use WebFiling to sign up for email reminders of your filing deadlines.
Companies House Service will provide comprehensive filing facilities and take over from WebFiling.
Centre for information
Companies House has four information centres. They are located in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast. The services available at these information centres include:
- A public search room for accessing digital services to find information on UK limited companies.
- Help and advice from Companies House staff.
- Checking your company record, including filing deadlines.
- Ordering copies of company documents, including certified copies and certificates.
- Document filing services, including company formation applications
- Making changes to your company record.
- Receiving company filings by post.
Improvements in the company register
Companies House introduced a new facility to make further improvements in the company register in July 2018.
Companies House introduced a new system to further strengthen the business registry in July 2018. A convenient extension to the Companies House service, the 'report it now' service allows customers to alert Companies House of any mistakes and issues related to the data held on the register, as well as suspicious business activity.
Companies House will have more authority to review and challenge records, conduct identity tests on people who set up and control firms or request for more evidence to support significant changes to a company.