Companies House is the United Kingdom’s registrar of companies.
This means that you can’t form a limited company or dissolve a limited company without their approval.
When a company is formed, it is immediately placed on a public register maintained by Companies House – where certain company information is made freely available. As of December 2021, this register has over 4.8 million companies on it.
Do I have to form a limited company directly with Companies House?
No. Company formation agents, such as us, can submit electronic incorporations on your behalf. This is a popular route for business owners-to-be because formation agents can offer various extras that Companies House simply can’t.
How our system works with Companies House
To avoid confusion and potential fraud, Companies House does not allow duplicate names on the Companies House register, they don’t even allow names that are too similar to other company names. As well as this, there are certain words and expressions that are not allowed without particular permission (for example, ‘Queen’ or ‘King’).
Because of this, our name search tool syncs with Companies House. This is why we can immediately tell you if your company name is available or not.
Once our customer has chosen an available company name, selected their company formation package, and made the payment, the next step is to provide the information that Companies House needs to form a company.
We collect all of this via our online company formation process. This includes the registered office, standard industrial classification code(s), director details, shareholder details, share details, and the person with significant control details.
Everything that must be supplied to form a UK limited company is entered into the system (this can take as little as 5 minutes).
Then the application is sent digitally to Companies House for approval. As soon as the application is processed (this normally takes 3-6 working hours) we email our customer notifying them that their company has been formed. In the rare instance of an application being rejected, we’ll notify the customer and work with them to fix the issue – we’ll then resend the request.
But it doesn’t stop here. When the company has been formed it is placed on our free online company manager. From here you can make certain changes to your limited company, all of which sync up directly with the Companies House system. This includes the following changes to your company:
- Update to the company’s registered office address
- Director appointments, resignations, and updates (for example, a change to the director’s service address)
- Person with significant control appointments, resignations, and updates
- Secretary appointments, resignations, and updates
- Change of company name (fee required)
- Change the company’s accounting reference date
Do Companies House have to be made aware of changes to my company?
Yes. They must be immediately notified of certain changes to a company, such as updates to the registered office, officers (directors and people with significant control appointments and resignations), and officer information (such as address changes).
These changes can be made directly with Companies House, via the dedicated paper forms, or with the WebFiling online system.
Alternatively, you can use our free online company manager which allows you to make online changes to your company, whether your company was formed by us or not.
When it comes to changes in your company’s shareholding situation (for example, you have transferred shares between shareholders), Companies House does not need to be notified until your confirmation statement.
Can I see the register?
Yes, the ‘Search the register’ tool allows you to search via a company name, company number or company officer. This service is free to use.
Once you have found the right company, you will be presented with the following information:
- Registered office address
- Company status (e.g. Active)
- Company type (e.g. Private limited company)
- Incorporation date
- Account dates
- Confirmation statement dates
- Standard Industrial Classification codes (SICs)
- Filing history
- Current and previous officers
If you complete a search on a person, rather than a company, you will find:
- The number of current appointments held
- Month and year of birth
- Country of residence
- Correspondence address
- List of companies that they’re associated with
- Appointment date
- Resignation date (if applicable)
We recommend that you try the search tool out for yourself as it will give you a good idea of how your own information will be presented if you do proceed to form your own limited company.
Where is Companies House based?
Their headquarters are located at:
Typically, they also have offices in London, Edinburgh and Belfast – however, these offices are all closed until further notice.
How do I get in contact with Companies House?
Services they don’t provide
Company formation agents can offer numerous services that Companies House can’t. For example:
Registered office and service address
As we mentioned, when a limited company is formed – information is placed on the public register. This includes address information. Understandably, some people don’t want their personal address published.
It’s common for company formation agents to allow customers to use their address as the registered office and service address. To confirm, this is permitted by Companies House.
Confirmation statement assistance
All limited companies need to prepare and file a confirmation statement with Companies House on an annual basis.
Company formation agents will often take this burden off the business owner via a confirmation statement filing service.
Dormant company accounts assistance
If a company has never conducted any trading activity, or it didn’t trade in its last accounting period, the directors can file an abbreviated set of accounts known as dormant company accounts.
Company formations agents can provide help in filing these dormant company accounts.
Many limited companies will need to register for VAT at the same time as forming their company. Again, this is a service that company formation agents can typically provide.
This is just a taste of the services that can be provided. See here for an extensive list of our company formation packages and extras.
We hope this post has been helpful. Please leave a comment if you have any questions regarding Companies House or the company formation process.