Companies House lookup and search

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Introduction 

As a UK contracting professional, at one time or another, you may perform a UK Companies House search or Companies House lookup to find company info. Basically, one can visit Companies House (CH) online for a UK company lookup or UK company search at any time they choose. The UK Companies House register is a list of all UK companies. Indeed, within the online Companies House public register, there’s each company has a profile which contains Companies House data. All UK companies are required to keep their company details up to date. Therefore, when there’s an official change, such as director change of address, they’ll use the Companies House online filing service to update this. In summary, the Companies House list of companies is an online UK business register. Companies House maintain this limited companies register (UK) and this official body is one of the UK public authorities.

There are various reasons why someone may have to do a search and find company information (UK) for a particular business. Therefore, the Companies House Public Register of Companies service is very useful to search UK companies in this respect. What’s more, although only basic details are available, you can see who the directors are and who controls the company, along with other formal information.

Initial thoughts 

Companies House lookup -what to think about first

When you set up a new contracting company you may ask, do I need to register my company with Companies House.? Yes, is the answer and Companies House will perform this process for you when you set up a new company. What’s more, if you’re looking how to register my business name with Companies House, you’ll do this via their online service during the setup process. Thousands of people in the UK use the official UK Companies House to register companies each day.

Nowadays, you can register a company with Companies House online via their website. In fact, today, most new companies register with Companies House online. However, when you register a company in the UK, a new limited company can still be set up through the post, although this is more expensive. Indeed, when you use the online service for new Companies House registrations the turnaround time when you register a company (UK) is much quicker.

Companies House bodies & the official UK company register

As a UK contractor, when you set up your new contractor limited company, it’s registered office address must be in the same part of the country where it’s incorporated. In the UK, Companies House is also known as the Registrar of Companies. The Registrar administers both the registration of new companies and the striking-off of companies which close. What’s more, there’s different UK bodies with different official addresses for:

  • Companies House England and Wales.
  • Companies House Scotland.
  • Companies House Northern Ireland.

However, the main UK Companies House register contains company information from all these parts of the UK.

There are hundreds of thousands of companies on the Companies House list of companies. Indeed, this includes tens of thousands of UK contractors with their own company. Basically, if you need to find company info for a particular business, you can perform a Companies House check and view the public register of companies’ information index on the Companies House (ROC) official website.

Companies House filing 

All UK companies have basic data on the official website and they can use the Companies House online filing service to make any necessary changes. Indeed, you can use the official CH website to register a new company (UK) and to close a company too. Therefore, in terms of the CH website and the official filing and updates, company owners and officials generally use the service for:

  • UK public company filings.
  • UK private company filings. This includes any filings for limited company contractors.
  • UK LLP (limited liability partnerships) filings.

When official filings are made, the public business register (UK) is updated for each individual company. Therefore, the company register (UK) is always as up to date as possible. Members of the public can access this online at any time and perform a Companies House search (UK).

Common questions

Here are a few examples of common questions from business owners with regard to the Companies House website:

  • How do you register for Companies House?
  • How to register with Companies House (UK)?
  • What information can you see on Companies House?
  • How to search for a company?
  • Can people see my details on Companies House?
  • Can you see who has searched you on Companies House?

In this guide, we’ll look at the above and investigate how to view the public register of businesses online to view registered companies in the UK.

Use the Companies House search online service 

Companies House lookup -check company details

UK companies and individuals can use the advanced search service for a Companies House lookup. Indeed, there could be various reasons for a Companies House company search. When you do a Companies House company lookup (UK), the Companies House search by name is the main option. Below are examples of types of searches that one may perform as part of either a Companies House company check (UK) or a Companies House find a person check:

  • Perform a Companies House name check or Companies House name search. When you do a registered company check (UK), you can search for words to see if they exist in another company’s name. When you register a new company, a Companies House business name check is essential as you cannot have the same or similar name as another company.
  • Search company names (UK). Effectively, you can do a business lookup (UK) and search certain words when you do a Companies House check to see which names are already taken.
  • Perform a search to find a company (Companies House). Indeed, you may look up company details for a particular business for an array of reasons. The search facility is very handy for this.
  • Check Companies House for available company names. Again, when you search Companies House as part of a check company name (Companies House) search, you can check to see if a name is already taken.
  • Perform a Companies House person search. Basically, from this Companies House people search, you can search and view Companies House people when searching for a particular name.
  • Do a Companies House director search. You can search for a name for an existing director and view basic details.
  • Perform a UK company check (Companies House). When performing a company search (UK), you can check their latest updates and filings.

Set up or close a company or make official changes

In respect of any actions or changes, you may find-and-update Companies House for:

  • Set up a new company and register a business name (UK). This process usually takes 24 hours or less and once complete, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Update the company or director’s details. This could include a change of address, name, or title.
  • Change the company name (UK) to a new business name.
  • Change the company year-end.
  • Issue new shares in the company.
  • Close the company if you no longer plan to use it.

The official website shows the Companies House list of companies and within each company there is various company information. As mentioned, this is also known as the Companies House public register or Companies House list. In addition, this index of public register information is updated throughout the year whenever each UK company makes an update. Furthermore, Companies House adds new companies to the UK company register and periodically removes those that no longer exist.

Company updates and the information which is held on public record

The information that’ll need updating

Every limited company needs to send ROC information about:

  • What it does in terms of trading activities.
  • Who controls the company -Persons with Significant Control (PSC).
  • Personal information about the directors in charge and who runs the company.

good accountant will take care of filing official documents for you as a limited company contractor, although this is officially part of a director’s duties.

What to consider with regard to the UK Companies House register

The first thing to consider before you set up a new company is which address you would like to use for your new business.

What’s more, when you incorporate a new business, company law, as stated in the Companies Act 2006, will require you to provide an address for each of these:

  • The registered office address. Basically, this is the formal registered address and is where the business will receive its official post.
  • A service address for company officers. This address is where company officers (directors and secretary) are officially contactable.
  • The usual residential address for the directors.
  • A service address for PSCs. This stands for Person with Significant Control. Once again, this address is where PSCs are officially contactable.
  • The usual residential address’ for PSCs.
  • The usual residential address of the initial subscribers (shareholders).

As mentioned above, the Companies Act requires a company officer and PSCs to provide their residential address. In most cases, this’ll be their home address. However, Companies House don’t show the residential address on the public register. 

Choose your registered office and service addresses   

When you set up your company, if you choose to use your home address as either:

  • Your service address; or
  • Registered office.

…then it’ll always show as a part of UK Companies House search on the Companies House register. Importantly, this is also the case, even if you change it later. To sum up, you should carefully think about this before setting up your new company.

Most company formation agents, solicitors, and accountants often offer an address hosting service for a small fee or no fee in the case of a lot of accountants.

UK companies also need to keep and maintain statutory records. In most cases, your contractor accountant will do this for you. 

Companies House lookup -further thoughts 

What is the Companies House public register? 

ROC’s public record is a Companies House list of company names in the UK. For the benefit of limited liability status, a company must be open and transparent regarding certain aspects of its affairs. As a result, various company, and officer details as well as the filing history are shown under each company profile.

Therefore, when you set up a new company, ROC will review and register specific information about the company. Consequently, this data is then made available to the public on Companies House records.

The collection of Companies House information is often known as the public record or public register (Companies House). Moreover, the Companies House details for each company are available online for the public and businesses to look up a company or do a Companies House person search. A person using this may need to do a quick Companies House check for some data or be looking to do some business with a company.

More details on the Companies House public register

During a company’s lifetime, Companies House expects you to keep these details up to date at all times. A company can make a change should this be required via the Companies House online filing service. Such a change could include a change of address or company official.

To sum up, a person who becomes a director or officer of a company must be ready to have some of their personal details show up on the public record.

Companies House retains all records of companies as long as they are active. The records of dissolved companies are also retained for 20 years before they are transferred to the Public Records Office at The National Archives (TNA). This includes all the information related to company directors or its officers. Therefore, once you’ve closed your company, Companies House will keep the details of your dissolved company for 20 years.

Why is a company not showing under Companies House? 

All UK companies are required to register on Companies House. This means each company will display on their official index. A company may not show up if it’s only just been set up therefore give it a few hours or even a day. In addition, UK sole traders aren’t required to register with Companies House therefore you’ll not find their details on there. 

The director’s details which show up on the Companies House public register

If you do a director check (Companies House), the five pieces of information that show up on the public record for all UK directors are:

  • The name of the director.
  • Their service address.
  • One’s nationality.
  • Their occupation.
  • The month and year of their date of birth.

The details above are also shown online for PSCs, except for their nationality and occupation.

The director’s address and what you need to bear in mind 

As we mentioned earlier, a director needs to provide two addresses, a service address and a residential address.

A service address is one that a director will receive official mail for the business. Moreover, this address can be the same as the registered office address or elsewhere.

The residential address is a director’s usual home address, and a director will need to inform ROC of this. However, this’ll not appear on the public record for all to see, as Companies House keeps this on a private register. However, ROC may provide home address details to credit reference agencies and certain public bodies if there’s a requirement to do so.

Therefore, if a director or PSC use their home address as their service address or the registered office address, it’ll appear on the UK company register.

To sum up, if you don’t want your home address to show on the public record, you should use a different address from the outset. Indeed, your chosen address will then show as your registered office and director’s service address. The address you select could be that of your accountant, a service provider, or perhaps somewhere else. 

Companies House list -a summary of the details on the UK public record 

The main data which is shown

The types of Companies House data that the official ROC website displays online within each UK limited company on the Companies House list are:

  • The date of incorporation.
  • The address of the registered office.
  • Names of the directors.
  • Service address (s) of the directors.
  • The month and year of birth of the directors.
  • The nationality of the directors.
  • Line of work of the directors.

All the above Companies House data is available for members of the public and business people to view at any time they choose.

Companies House lookup -further data 

Some further information that’s also shown online is:

  • The name of the secretary.
  • Service address of the secretary.
  • The name of PSCs.
  • Service address (s) of PSCs.
  • The month and year of birth of the PSCs.
  • The details of how the PSC controls the company.
  • The nature of the business, i.e., the trading activity (s) (the SIC code signifies this).
  • The details of any official documents filed. The Companies House records will include any annual accounts and Confirmation Statements. It’ll also include any changes to the company’s details. These details include the changes in directors, secretary, registered office, year-end, issue of new share capital, etc.

How can you change the details on the Companies House register?

The methods available to change or update the Companies House data 

When a change needs filing with Companies House you can either:

  • Submit a paper form.
  • Make the change via the Companies House online filing service (this is by far the most popular option). This is also known as `WebFiling’. To access this, you’ll need to visit the Companies House website and complete the WebFiling registration.

What’ll you need to make the change?

If you use the Companies House online filing service you’ll need:

  • An account with Companies House. When you register and create a new account with them, they’ll send you a code through the post to activate this.
  • The company number and Companies House authentication code. When you first set up a new company, Companies House will post the authentication code to the company’s registered office.

How can you make the change?

When you need to find and update company information (UK) via the Companies House online filing service, such as your company registered office address or director or PSC address, or indeed any other changes, you can do so by these two methods:

  • File a change via the Companies House online service.
  • Update the change when you or your accountant file the annual Confirmation Statement. You can file most changes via this service, however there’s certain changes which need filing separately.

What if you have a question that you cannot resolve

It could be the case that you need to make a change that you can’t find how to update on the official website. If this is so or you need Companies House advice for any other reason you can contact them. Therefore, the Companies House contact details are:

  • WebFiling Service Desk: Companies House contact number 0303 1234 500 or from outside the UK +44 (0)303 1234 500.

Final thoughts 

It’s good to know that the UK Companies House Public Register is open and at hand for anyone to who wants to do a Companies House search (UK). UK company owners will use the Companies House online filing service to keep their business details up to date. This is an official requirement and an update should be made when a change occurs.

The official register and list of limited companies (UK) is available for you to do a quick Companies House lookup, whenever the need arises. Basically, ROC can’t prevent any third parties from being able to find specific details on the UK company register. What’s more, the online website is also available for you register a company at Companies House online and this is a quick and fairly straightforward process. However, as we explain earlier, certain information for all UK companies is part of the public record. Therefore, if you want to hide your home address, please consider our advice above.

Finally, ROC doesn’t actively index information from its search services. Furthermore, it’s also good to know that they don’t have any features that make it easier for search engines to collect or save the Companies House data.

Link to Contractor Advice UK group on

LinkedIn    https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4660081/

Published On: January 4th, 2024 / Categories: First timer guide /

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