Companies House Guide

About Companies House

companies house logo

[box]The Companies House Phone Number is 0844 453 0195.[/box]

Companies House is the name of the registrar of companies in the United Kingdom. It is an executive agency as part of the Government and falls under the Department of Business. All forms of companies are registered with Companies House and all registered companies, including small and inactive ones, must file annual financial statements in addition to company returns- these are all public records. Only some unlimited companies are allowed to be exempt from this.

A system of registration has existed in the UK since 1844. The current legislation behind it is the Companies Act 2006.

When registering, England and Wales are treated separately, but you can apply for a unified register meaning that your company will be registered in both England and Wales. Your company must advise Companies House of where you are planning to house your registered office, otherwise known as the official address of the company- this could be in England, Scotland or Wales. Once you have done this, your company will be known as ‘registered in Scotland’ or ‘registered in England’.

The office for Companies House is based in Cardiff, Wales and it handles companies which are incorporated within England and Wales. There is also an office in London but this is used solely as a facility to file and view documents which will later be processed in Cardiff.

How to find out information about a company

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Using the Companies House service, you can get limited information about a company for free, including: it’s registered office address, directors details, previous names of the company, whether or not it has been dissolved, when the companies’ accounts were filed or due and a history of filed documents. You can also use this service to check whether the name of a company has already been taken.

For other filed documents, such as company accounts, returns and reports, there is a £1 charge. You must register with Companies House to order these and pay the charge via Paypal.

You can monitor any company to find out when it is due to file information for free. You just need to register with the Companies House WebCheck service- you can also use it to check on your own company.

Lastly, you can also join a subscription service if you wish to get access to: all historical company records, detailed mortgage information, document packages and online certified copies. To do this, you will need to get a Companies House Direct account which costs £4 per month and £1 per document.

 Filing your Companies House annual return

annual return

Every year, a company must file an annual return which will feature information such as who the directors are, where the registered office is and shareholders. You can also use the Companies House service to file your annual accounts, although it is possible that you may be able to do this in conjunction with your Tax Return. For a guide to processing your tax return, look here.

Your annual return must be sent to Companies House once a year if you are the director of a registered company. It is separate from your companies accounts and tax returns and will be done at a different time. You will receive an email alert or reminder letter and the due date is generally a year after your company was incorporated or the date that you filed your last return.

You have up until 28 days after your due date to file your return. After that, you may be fined up to £5,000 and your company could be struck off.

Your return must include details of the company’s directors and secretary, a description of what the company does (including industry classification codes), the type of company that it is e.g. private/public, its registered address and the address of where its records are kept.

How to file changes to a company

companies house online

If you make specific changes to your company, you must tell Companies House about them. This includes new appointments of directors and secretaries, name changes, registered office address changes, changes to your accounting reference date, changing where the company records are kept, changes to the structure of your shares and details of any new mortgages.

To file your changes, you will need to log on to the Companies House database using the email and password that you use to sign up for the online service. If you are having any trouble with this or for more information call Companies House now.