Companies House register

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Companies House look up -introduction 

The Companies House register is a listing of all UK companies, and within each company’s profile, there is various information available. The Companies House list of companies is available online on the UK Public Register of Companies. This is maintained by Companies House and this body is one of the UK public authorities. 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. Therefore, in terms of filing and company updates, the service is used for:

  • UK public company filings.
  • UK private company filings.

The Companies House website shows various company information and as mentioned is also known as the 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 register and periodically removes those that no longer exist.

Initial thoughts

When you set up a new company you may ask, do I need to register my company with Companies House.? Yes, is answer as Companies House perform this process for you. In addition, if you are looking to register my business name with Companies House you will need to this via their service. The official Companies House service is used by hundreds if not thousands 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, a new company can still be set up through the post, although this is more expensive. Notably when you use the online service for new Companies House registrations the turnaround time is much quicker.

When you set up a company, its registered office address must be in the same part of the country where it is incorporated. Therefore, 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 Companies House register contains company information from all these parts of the UK.

There are hundreds of thousands of companies on the Companies House information index. Please note that you can view the public register of companies on the Companies House (ROC) website.

The information that will or may 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).

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

Companies House register -what to think about

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. Important to note that this is the formal registered address 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 will be their home address. Please note they do not show the residential address on the public register. 

Choosing your registered office and service addresses

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

  • Your service address; or
  • Registered office.

…then it will always show as a part of 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.

Please note that 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 look up -further thoughts 

What is the Companies House public register?

ROC’s public record is a list of all UK companies. For the benefit of limited liability status, a company must be open and transparent regarding certain aspects of its affairs. As a result, various details appear as part of the Companies House list of company names and the details are shown within 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 look up 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 always keep these details up to date. 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). Notably, this includes all the information related to company directors or its officers. Therefore, once you have 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 they will display on their official index. A company may not show up if it has only just been set up therefore give it a few hours or even a day. In addition, sole traders are not required to register with Companies House therefore you will not find their details on there. 

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

The five pieces of information that show up on the public record for all UK directors are:

  • Your name.
  • Your service address.
  • One’s nationality.
  • Your occupation.
  • The month and year of your 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. Please note that this will 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 is 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 will appear on the public register.

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

An overall summary of the details on the UK public record 

Companies House look up -the main data which is shown

The types of detail that ROC displays online within each UK limited company on the Companies House list are as follows:

  • 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.

Further data

Some further data that is shown 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 will 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 online service (this is by far the most popular option). This is also known as `WebFiling’. To access this, you will need to visit the Companies House website and complete the WebFiling registration.

What will you need to make the change?

If you use the online service you will need:

  • An account with Companies House. When you register and create a new account with them, they will 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 via their online 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 are certain changes which may need filing separately.

What if you have a question that you cannot find the answer to

It could be the case that you need to make a change that you cannot 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 on:

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

Final thoughts 

It is good to know that the Companies House Public Register is open and at hand for anyone to see. It is available for you to do a quick Companies House look up, whenever the need arises. Notably, ROC cannot prevent any third parties from being able to find specific details here. However, as we explain above, 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 does not actively index information from its search services. Furthermore, it is also good to know that they do not 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: August 1st, 2022 / Categories: First timer guide /

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