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Companies House Lookup: Search UK Limited Companies 2024

Companies House lookup and search

Companies House lookup and search

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. 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, each company has a profile containing Companies House data within the online Companies House public register. All UK companies are required to keep their company details up to date. Therefore, when there’s an official change, such as a 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 maintains the limited companies register (UK), and this official body is one of the UK public authorities.

There are various reasons why someone may want to search for and find company information (UK) for a particular business. Therefore, the Companies House Public Register of Companies service is helpful search UK companies. Moreover, although only basic details are available, you can see who the directors are, who controls the company, and other formal information.

Initial thoughts 

Companies House lookup -first thoughts

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

You can register a company with Companies House online via their website. 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 for registering 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, its registered office address must be in the same part of the country where it’s incorporated. Companies House is also known as the Registrar of Companies in the UK. The Registrar administers the registration of new companies and the striking-off of companies which close. What’s more, there are 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.

The Companies House list includes hundreds of thousands of UK companies and thousands of UK contractors with their own companies. Suppose you want to find company information for a particular business. In that case, 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 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, each company’s profile is updated on the public business register (UK). Therefore, the company register (UK) is always as current 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 about the Companies House website:

  • How do you register for Companies House?
  • How do you 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 for 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 Companies House search online service 

Companies House lookup -how can you 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 primary option. Below are examples of types of searches 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 can’t have the same or similar name as another company.
  • Search company names (UK). You can effectively do a business lookup (UK) and search for certain words when you perform a Companies House check to see which names have already been taken.
  • Perform a search to find a company (Companies House). Indeed, you may look up company details for a particular business for various reasons. Therefore, the search facility is convenient 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 has already been taken.
  • Perform a Companies House person search. 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 the name of an existing director and view basic details.
  • Perform a UK company check (Companies House). You can check their latest updates and filings when performing a company search (UK).

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 completed, 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 there is various company information within each company. As mentioned, this is 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 ones that no longer exist.

Company data & information held on public record

Which information do you need to update?

Every limited company must send ROC information and details about the following:

  • What the company does in terms of its 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 file official documents for you as a limited company contractor, although this is officially part of a director’s duties.

What should you consider regarding the UK Companies House register?

The first thing to consider before you set up a new company is which address you’d 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. This is the formal registered address where the business will receive its official post.
  • A service address for company officers. This is where company officers (directors and secretaries) are officially contactable.
  • The usual residential address for the directors.
  • A service address for PSCs. This stands for a 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 company officers and PSCs to provide their residential addresses. In most cases, this will be their home address. However, Companies House doesn’t show the residential address on the public register. 

How should you choose your registered office & service addresses?

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

  • Your service address; or
  • Registered office.

…then it’ll always show up in a UK Companies House search on the Companies House register. Importantly, this is 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 for many accountants.

UK companies must keep and maintain statutory records. In most cases, your contractor accountant will look after this for you. 

Companies House lookup -further thoughts 

What’s 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 about certain aspects of its affairs. As a result, various company and officer details and 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 it. This data is then available to the public on the 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 may use this to do a quick Companies House check for data or want to do business with a company.

More details on the Companies House public register

Companies House expects you to keep these details updated throughout a company’s lifetime. Should this be required, a company can make a change 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 for basic personal details to appear on the public record.

Companies House retains all company records if they’re active. The records of dissolved companies are 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 yet show up if it’s just been registered; therefore, give it a few hours or even a day. In addition, UK sole traders aren’t required to register with Companies House; thus, you’ll not find their details there. 

Which director’s details are shown on the Companies House public register?

If you do a director check (Companies House), the five pieces of information which 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.

Director’s address & what to consider?

As mentioned earlier, a director must provide two addresses:

  • A service address; and
  • A residential address.

A service address is where a director will receive official mail for the business. It can be the same as the registered office address or elsewhere.

The residential address is a director’s usual home address, and a director must inform ROC of this. However, this won’t 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 uses their home address as their service or registered office address, it will 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 -summary of details on UK public record 

The main data which is shown

The types of Companies House data 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 owners to view at any time.

Companies House lookup -further data 

Some further information 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. They’ll also include any changes to the company’s details, such as changes in directors, secretary, registered office, year-end, and issue of new share capital.

How do you change details on the Companies House register?

Which methods are available to change or update the Companies House data? 

When a change or update requires 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 service is known as `WebFiling’. You can visit the Companies House website and complete the WebFiling registration form to access this.

What do you need to make the change?

If you use the Companies House online filing service, you require:

  • 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’re due 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, certain changes require filing separately.

What if you have a question you can’t resolve?

It could be that you should make a change, but you can’t find how to update it on the official website. If this is so, or you require 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.
  • Email: enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk. 

Final thoughts 

It’s good to know the UK Companies House Public Register is open and available for anyone 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) allow you to do a quick Companies House lookup whenever needed. 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 available for you to register a company at Companies House online, and this is a quick and straightforward process. However, as we explained earlier, specific 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 good to know they don’t have any features which make it easier for search engines to collect or save the Companies House data.

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