The SIC code with Companies House is a code that represents the activities of your business. Therefore, how do I find my company’s SIC code? Today, there is the Standard Industrial Classification system in place and this is a long list which gives each type of trade / business an SIC code. There are hundreds of codes in each industrial category in the SIC code list. They also cover all types of business trades in all types of sectors.
This Standard Industrial Classification system is in use by Companies House, and it is there to identify the trade activity (s) of each company in the UK.
When you set up your own company, it will need to have at least one SIC code. Alternatively, if you have been running your company for some time, you should already have one or more codes. The code will be reported to Companies House as part of your public record.
We have many other guides that help you navigate Companies House and these show how to report and make certain changes. We have covered in our articles the UK Public Register, the duties of a company director, the Confirmation Statement, your official address as director (and how you can change this to protect your home address), how to change your company name and if you need a company secretary.
History gone by -SIC code -Companies House
The industrial codes came out back in 1948, and they are now in use by government bodies. These bodies include Companies House who look after the register for UK companies. The codes are there to classify all companies in all industry categories for the collection and analyses of data.
What’s more, over the years, the government has decided to amend these codes to reflect new business categories, as they appear over time.
The latest list of Companies House industrial classification SIC codes that are now in use came out in 2007. The government published these in early 2008 and they are available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
How do I find my Companies House SIC code?
If you have your own company, you will have an SIC code with Companies House. Your choice should be an accurate description of what your business does day to day. If you do not choose a code when you set up your company, Companies House will reject your application.
Therefore, when you set a company up in the UK and go through the company formation process, you need to choose a Companies House SIC code. If there are no codes that fit your exact description of work, you will need to find the closest fit and use this. Selecting a code will apply whether it is a) going to be trading straight away or b) if it is going to be a dormant company for some time.
In many cases, your accountant will organise the above process for you as part of the setting up of your new company. However, it is part of your director duties to make sure that you choose the correct code for your business.
Finally, a company may have more than one code if it has different trades.
There is also a maximum of four codes that can you can choose for your company.
How to change your SIC code at Companies House
What if I need to change my SIC code?
During your business’s lifetime, you may need to change SIC code for your company. Some of the reasons why you may need to change your code could be:
- Your business now has a different main activity. It may also now be in a different industry.
- When you first set up your company, you picked the wrong code. It is possible to do this if your business operates in different areas. Also, some of the codes on the list are not always very clear.
- Your business has started an additional trade, and you need to add in a new SIC code.
How do I make a change to my code?
If you would like to change SIC code or add a new one, you can do this via the annual Confirmation Statement, when you come round to filing this. The Confirmation Statement was previously called the Annual Return, however this changed its name several years ago. The form contains various company information including your SIC code and if you would like to change your SIC code straight away, you can file a Confirmation Statement early.
If you have already filed your Confirmation Statement and paid the £13 fee and then realise that your code needs updating, you can file another statement with Companies House. They will not charge the £13 fee again, if the statement is filed within the twelve-month period before the next Confirmation Statement is due.
Penalty for wrong SIC code
What if I have the wrong code?
Will I receive a penalty for wrong sic code even if I thought this was correct?
Please note, if it is the case that you have an incorrect code, there will not be a penalty for wrong SIC code, neither is this a bad offence. Therefore, Companies House will not come knocking on your door or send your business a penalty for the wrong SIC code.
To summarise, it is best practice to make sure that your code is correct or at least as accurate as it can be. Careless mistakes can potentially draw attention from the authorities, however you will not receive a penalty for wrong sic code.
If you need to change your code, you need to file a Confirmation Statement as mentioned above. If you also need some help here, please speak to your accountant.
Frequent choices of Companies House SIC code for contractors and consultants
IT consulting or Information Technology consulting SIC code
If you are an IT contractor or consultant the SIC code that you will need is:
62020 Information technology consultancy activities -this is used for most IT consultants
Examples of the common codes for contractors
Some examples of the common contractor SIC codes, from the standard SIC code list that could apply to your business activity are:
66190 -Independent financial advisor SIC code (not specialising in insurance or pensions advice)
69102 – Solicitors (legal consultants)
70221 -Financial management consultancy services (except Corporate Tax)
70229 Management consultancy activities other than financial management
71129 – Other engineering activities
74909 -Other professional, scientific and technical activities
82990 -Other business support services activities not elsewhere categorised
Further still, you can find the codes for other Engineering activities at:
71121 to 71129.
SIC code 6719 relates to establishments that are primarily engaged in holding or owning securities of companies other than banks, for the sole purpose of exercising some degree of control over the activities of the companies whose securities they hold.
Business categories list in the UK
When you set up your own company you will need to consider how do I find my company’s SIC code? The answer here is Companies House provide a standard industrial classification code list and this is a comprehensive online record of SIC codes for each industry and the trades within those.
If you now take steps to set up your own company, you need to check through the latest version of the codes from 2007. The link below from HMRC is a good place to get started. There is also a condensed list on this page which is much easier to look through rather than the full list:
You can find the full version of the code list on the ONS website:
As a final thought, Companies House should have your correct UK SIC code on record.
What’s more, you will inform them of this when you set up your company for the first time. If you are not sure which code to pick or you cannot find the code that fits your work, please ask your accountant. If you have an incorrect code, you should change SIC code so that it is right for the future. When you have the correct code on your record, you can then be happy that this is correct.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on