Company registration numbers

Company registration numbers

Company registration numbers are issued to every limited company incorporated by Companies House in the United Kingdom. Your company registration numbers are an unique number to your company. Your company registration numbers are also known as company incorporation numbers or company numbers. Your company registration numbers is an official identification number for your company.

Format of company registration numbers

Company with registered office inCompany incorporation numbers format
England and Wales 01234567
Scotland SC123456
Northern Ireland NI123456

Limited company with registered office address in England or Wales shall have 8 digits numbers starting with zero as its company incorporation number. For example, Fine Arts and Pictures Limited has a company registration number 08409295.

Limited company with registered office address in Scotland has slightly different company registration number format to that of companies registered in England and Wales. The company registration number shall start with SC followed by 6 digits numbers. SC is the abbreviation of Scotland. Scotland Company shall have company incorporation number read SC123456.

Limited company with registered office address in Belfast Northern Ireland shall have a company incorporation numbers starting with NI followed by 6 digits numbers. NI is the abbreviation of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Company shall have company incorporation number read NI123456.

Where to find my company registration numbers

Companies House website

Type in your company name in the company name search box of Companies House website as indicated and leave the company number search box blank and click Search.

Company incorporation certificate

Your company registration numbers is printed prominently on the certificate under your company names.

Company change of name certificate

If you have recently changed your company names, Companies House would have issued you with your company change of name certificate and your company registration numbers are printed clearly on the certificate. Take note that changing your company names would not change your original company registration numbers.

All letters from Companies House

All Companies House letters sent to your company’s registered office address would have your company registration numbers printed and used as reference.

The incorporation emails

Your company formation accountants may include your company registration numbers in the incorporation emails presenting you with the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the certificate of incorporation.

When do you require your company registration numbers

You would require to provide your company registration numbers in the following events.

  1. Opening a business bank account.
  2. Submit the form 64-8 authorizing your accountants
  3. Submit your CT41G form disclosing your trading status with HMRC.
  4. Register for value added tax (VAT)
  5. Registering for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) with HM Revenue and Customs when you start hiring staff or paying director.
  6. Submitting your company confirmation statement.
  7. Preparing your company accounts.
  8. Completing your corporation tax return.
  9. Making changes to your company details with Companies House through web filing services or printed paper forms.
  10. Display on your company website.
  11. Print on your company letterhead and stationery.

Sensitive words in a company or business name

Sensitive words in a company or business name

Sensitive words in your company or business name that may imply your company is pre-eminent in the field or has a particular status or a specific function is not allowed unless you were given approval in writing by the relevant authority.

If your company name contact the following sensitive words, please obtain a letter or email of non-objection from the relevant governing body before you submit your incorporation documents with Companies House.

No.Sensitive words Require approval from
1Accounts Commission for ScotlandAudit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port
Edinburgh
EH3 9DN
info@audit-scotland.gov.uk
2Accredit
Accreditation
Accredited
Accrediting
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Standards and Accreditation Team
Regulatory Delivery Directorate
1 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0ET
enquiries@beis.gov.uk
3Archwilydd Cyffredinol CymruArchwilydd Cyffredinol Cymru
Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru
24 Heol y Gadeirlan
Caerdydd
CF11 9LJ

Auditor General for Wales
Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
Cardiff
CF11 9LJ
info@wao.gov.uk
4Assurance
Assurer
Sensitive Business Names Team
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5HS
SensitiveBusinessN@fca.org.uk
5Auditor General
Audit Office
England
enquiries@nao.gsi.gov.uk
National Audit Office
157-197 Buckingham Palace Road
London
SW1W 9SP

Scotland
info@audit-scotland.gov.uk
Audit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port
Edinburgh
EH3 9DN

Northern Ireland
info@niauditoffice.gov.uk
Northern Ireland Audit Office
106 University Street
Belfast
BT7 1EU

Wales
info@wao.gov.uk
Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
Cardiff
CF11 9LJ
6Auditor General for Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland Audit Office
106 University Street
Belfast
BT7 1EU
info@niauditoffice.gov.uk
7Auditor General for Scotland
Audit Scotland
Audit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port
Edinburgh
EH3 9DN
info@audit-scotland.gov.uk
8Auditor General for WalesAuditor General for Wales
Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
Cardiff
CF11 9LJ
info@wao.gov.uk
9Banc
Bank
Banking
Sensitive Business Names Team
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
25 the North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5HS
SensitiveBusinessN@fca.org.uk
10Brenin
Brenhines
Branding Manager
Communications Division
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ
brandingqueries@wales.gsi.gov.uk
11Brenhinol
Brenhiniaeth
Branding Manager
Communications Division
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ
brandingqueries@wales.gsi.gov.uk
12Chamber of Commerce/
Business/ Enterprise/ Industry / Trade / Training
England and Wales
enquiries@britishchambers.org.uk
British Chambers of Commerce
65 Petty France
London
SW1H 9EU

Northern Ireland
mail@northernirelandchamber.com
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce
22 Great Victoria Street
Belfast
BT2 7BJ

Scotland
admin@scottishchambers.org.uk
Scottish Chambers of Commerce
30 George Square
Glasgow
G2 1EQ
13Chartered AccountantEngland and Wales
generalenquiries@icaew.com
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Chartered Accountants’ Hall
Moorgate Place
London
EC2R 6EA

Northern Ireland
hello@accountancyireland.ie
Chartered Accountants Ireland
The Linenhall
32-38 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BG

Scotland
enquiries@icas.org.uk
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
CA House
21 Haymarket Yards
Edinburgh
EH12 5BH
14Chartered SecretaryThe Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
Saffron House
6-10 Kirby Street
London
EC1N 8TS
memberssupport@icsa.org
15Chartered SurveyorRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
RICS Headquarters
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3AD
contactrics@rics.org
16Community Benefit SocietyFinancial Conduct Authority
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5HS
consumer.queries@fca.org.uk
17Comptroller and Auditor GeneralNational Audit Office
Elizabeth 2
151 Buckingham Palace Road
London
SW1W 9SS
enquiries@nao.gsi.gov.uk

Other sensitive words require approval before incorporation are

Sensitive wordsSensitive wordsSensitive words
ComhairleCoimiseanComisiwn
Comisiwn Cynulliad Cenedlaethol CymruCommissionComptroller and Auditor General for Northern IrelandCo-operative
Co-operative Society
Council
Cymru
Cymreig
Cymraeg
CyngorCynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
Dental
Dentistry
Dentist
Dental Surgeon
Dental Practitioner
Diùc
Ban-diùc
Dug
Duges
Duke
Duchess
Ei Fawrhydi
Ei Mawrhydi
England
of England
English
FederationFinancial Conduct AuthorityFinancial Reporting Council
Financial Reporting Review Panel
FoundationFriendly SocietyFund
GovernmentThe Governor and Company of the Bank of EnglandGwasanaeth iechyd
Health and Safety ExecutiveHealth and Social Care BoardHealth centre
Health service
Health visitorHis Majesty
Her Majesty
House of Commons
House of Lords
HPSS
HSC
InspectorateInstitute
Institution
Insurance
Insurer
Judicial appointment
King
Law CommissionLicensingLlywodraeth
Medical centreMidwife
Midwifery
Mòrachd
Mutual
National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales Commission
National Audit OfficeNHS
Northern Ireland
Northern Irish
Northern Ireland Assembly
Northern Ireland Assembly Commission
Northern Ireland Executive
Northern Ireland Audit Office
Nurse
Nursing
Office for Nuclear RegulationOifis sgrùdaidhOilthigh
Ombudsman
Ombwdsmon
ParlamaidParliament
Parliamentarian
Parliamentary
Patent
Patentee
The Pensions Advisory ServicePolicePolytechnic
Post OfficePrifysgolPrince
Princess
Prionnsa
Bana-phrionnsa
Prudential Regulation AuthorityPrydain
Prydeinig
Public Health Agency
Queen
Reassurance
Reassurer
Regional Agency for Public Health and Social WellbeingRegional Health and Social Care Board
RegistrarRegistered SocietyRegulator
Reinsurance
Reinsurer
RiaghaltasRìgh Banrigh
Rìoghachd AonaichteRìoghail RìoghalachdRoyal
Royalty
Scotland
of Scotland
Scottish
Scottish Law CommissionScottish Parliament
Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
SeneddSheffieldSiambr Fasnach
Social ServiceSocietySpecial School
StandardsStock exchangeSwyddfa Archwilio Cymru
Teyrnas Gyfunol
Teyrnas Unedig
Trade UnionTribunal
TrustCharitable TrustFamily Trust
Investment TrustPension TrustSchool Trust
Trust companyTrust corporationUnit Trust
Tywysog
Tywysoges
Underwrite
Underwriting
University
Wales
Welsh
Wales Audit OfficeWelsh Government
Welsh Assembly Government
Windsor
Procedure to change company name

Procedure to change company name

Procedure to change company name with Companies House slightly different and it is dependent on your company’s circumstances.

Limited company registered with Companies House in the United Kingdom may change their company name for whatever reasons to suit their business needs. It may be that the existing company name were not appropriate given the new business activities to undertake.

The benefits of keeping the existing company is that the trading history and the length of years the company has been established provide advantage to the business compared to newly set up limited company.

The procedure to change your company name are:

  • By Special resolution
  • By special resolution conditional upon some event
  • By means provided for by the company’s articles
  • By resolution of directors
  • By the Company Names Tribunal or the High Court

Your company name is officially changed to you new desired name after Companies House issued the certificate of incorporation on change of name for your company.

The correct Companies House forms for company change of name and the resolutions or court orders together with the statutory fee payable must be delivered to Companies House for your application of company change of name.

Procedure for change company name by special resolution

Your company may change its names by passing a special resolution in a general meeting or pass a written resolution if 75% of the shareholders agreement is achieved.

To make your company name change official, your company must send the notice of change of name; form NM01, with the appropriate statutory fee and a copy of the resolution to Companies House.

Procedure for change of name by special resolution conditional upon some event

If your company is changing its name upon satisfaction of a condition, the procedure is slightly different to unconditional company name change.

In this situation, the Companies House form NM02 must be used and your company must indicate on the form whether the condition has been satisfied. The form must be sent to Companies House together with the special or written resolution. If the condition has not yet been met then no statutory fee is required at this time.

Your company must send the Companies House form NM03 when the condition has been satisfied together with the copy of the resolution accompanied by the statutory fee payable.

Companies House will only issue the certificate of incorporation on change of name when all the important documents and forms are received plus the correct fee.

Procedure for change of name by means provided for by the company’s articles

You must first check your company’s articles of association have a provision specifying the way your company can change its name by this method.

If no such provision found in your company’s articles of association, amendment to the articles to include such provision is required before applying to change your company name.

The Companies House form NM04 must be completed and send to Companies House together with the statutory fee.

Procedure for change of name by resolution of directors

If your company is legally required by the Secretary of State to reinstate ‘limited’ or ‘cyfyngedig’ in your company name because your company is no longer exempted, your company must deliver the notice of change of name by resolution of directors using form NM05 and no statutory fee is payable.

In situation where your company is restored to the register under the same registration number and your company name where its previously had is no longer available, then your company must change its name within 14 days by sending the form NM05 plus the appropriate statutory fee to Companies House.

Procedure for change of name by the Company Names Tribunal or the High Court

If your company would like to complaint about opportunistic registration where a company has a name which is the same as a name associated with your company in which you have goodwill or is so similar that it would likely to mislead by suggesting a connection between your company and the other company, in such situation, your complaint must be brought to the attention of the Company Names Tribunal at the UK Intellectual Property Office (www.ipo.gov.uk/cna). The tribunal is also known as the Adjudicator.

How long does it take to register a change of name?

Companies House’s standard company change of name service will take 5 working days upon receiving all required documents and forms from your company.

Companies House also offers same day company change of name service with higher statutory fee payable.

Can I register a change of name and re-registration together?

Your company can combine the application for change of name and re-registration. For example, changing your company names from BEST IN TOWN LTD to WORLD BEST PLC.

Difference between a Public limited company (PLC) and private limited company

Difference between a public limited company (PLC) and private limited company in of respect of compliance requirements under the Companies Act is that for PLC is subject to stricter rules.

Some businesses prefer trade as limited company and others prefer to set up a public limited company for businesses. The type of incorporated entity used for your businesses must achieve your company ultimate goals.

A public company is a company limited by shares with its memorandum states that the company is to be a public limited company and to which the provisions of the Companies Act as to the registration or re-registration of the company as a public limited company have been complied with.

Any company which is not a public limited company is classified a private limited company.

Company Name

The name of a public limited company must end with the words Public Limited Company or PLC and, for Welsh companies, Cwmni Cyfyngedig Cyhoeddus or CCC. The company will be a Welsh company if its registered office is to be in Wales.

Company’s memorandum of Association

The memorandum which your company register with the Companies’ Registry must be in the form specified by the Companies Act 2006.

The main difference between the forms of memorandum specified for public limited company and for private limited company is that the form for a public limited company requires its memorandum to include an additional clause stating that the company is to be a public limited company.

The nominal value of the share capital

The nominal value of the public limited company’s allotted share capital must not be less than the ‘authorised minimum’ which is currently £50,000.

When a public limited company allots shares, it is under an obligation to ensure that at least 25% of the nominal value of the shares (plus the whole amount of any premium on the shares) is paid on allotment.

For a private company, it can issue shares without requiring any immediate payment for them. In other words, the share capital can be unpaid.

Number of members and officers

Public limited company, unlike private limited company, must have at least two members (in the past they needed seven members. They must also have at least two directors, whereas private limited company need have only one. The company secretary of a public limited company must be the person with relevant knowledge and qualifications as required by law.

The issue of shares or debentures

The principal advantage which a public limited company had over a private limited company used to be that public limited company could offer shares or debentures to the public for cash or other consideration and to allot those shares or debentures with a view to them being offered for sale to the public.

Offers of shares to the public are governed by Part VI of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Public Offers of Securities Regulations 1995 (SI 1995 No. 1537). These require the issue of a prospectus in any case where shares are to be ‘offered to the public’ within the terms of the legislation. In other words, your public limited company’s shares are publicly traded on the Stock Exchange.

Registration requirements

The procedure to follow and documents required to register a public limited company are the same as for a private limited company. Once the Registrar of Companies is satisfied that the documents comply with the registration requirements, a certificate of incorporation will be issued.

However, before the public limited company can do business or borrow money, the company must obtain from the Registrar a further certificate called “trading certificate” which will only be issued if the Registrar is satisfied that the company’s share capital is adequate (Section 761 of Companies Act 2006).

The procedure which the company must go through to get this additional certificate involves a director or the company secretary filing a statutory declaration with the Registrar. The declaration will state that the nominal value of the company’s allotted share capital is at least equal to the authorized minimum of £50,000. The company must also supply details of:

(a) The amount paid up on the allotted share capital which must exceed the minimum of £50,000.

(c) Any amount or benefit paid to the company’s promoters,

(b) The amount of the preliminary expenses and details of who will meet them; and

A company which does not obtain this additional certificate before it commences business can face some severe consequences, If the company fails to meet its obligations in connection with a transaction entered in to at a time when it does not have the additional certificate, the directors will be jointly and severally liable to indemnify the other parties to the transaction for any loss, Furthermore, both the company and its offices will be liable to a fine and if the company fails to obtain this certificate within one year of its registration, the court can wind the company up (S-122 Insolvency Act 1986.

Change company name

Change company name

Limited company wants to change company name must apply with Companies House. The most common ways to change a limited company name is by passing a special resolution with majority of the shareholders vote for the change.

A copy of the signed special resolution and a copy of the amended memorandum and articles must be sent to Companies House together with the correct change company name form.

If your change company name is urgent; you may opt for the same day company name change service with Companies House. You must deliver your documents to Companies House before 3pm on the day.

There are restrictions on use of certain words and expression in limited company name. The uses of specific words require prior consent of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. For example, if you would like to use the word, Accredited, in your company name. Then your company must obtain a formal approval from the relevant governing body prior to application to change your company name. This is because use of the word “accredited” in your company name imply your company is pre-eminent in the field or has a particular status or specific function.

The Registrar of Companies will process your application and if your desired company name meet the Companies Act requirement and it is available for registration, Companies House will issue your certificate on change of name for your company on the same day.

Appoint company secretary for a PLC

Appoint company secretary for a PLC

Appoint company secretary for a public limited company is compulsory and it is optional for a private limited company.

A public limited company (PLC) must appoint a company secretary as required by the company law. It is the duty of your company directors to take all reasonable steps to secure that your company secretary has the requisite knowledge, experience and qualifications.

Skills and qualifications

Skills and qualifications required of a company secretary for a PLC is detailed below.

  • The secretary has held office of secretary of a public limited company for at least three of the five years immediately proceeding his appointment as your company secretary.
  • He/she is a barrister, advocate or solicitor called or admitted in any part of the United Kingdom.
  • He/she is capable of discharging the functions of a company secretary.
  • He/she is a member of any of the professional bodies.

Professional qualification

Professional qualification required of a company secretary: The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS)
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy

As mentioned earlier, appointment of a company secretary of a private limited company is optional and if you wish to appoint a company secretary, the person does not have to have a professional qualification to that of a company secretary for a PLC.

Company re-registration forms

Company re-registration forms

Companies House forms for company re-registration purposes. Ensure you download the correct form reference from Companies House website for the type of company re-registration you would like to execute.

Contact our accountants if you are not familiar with company re-registration law. They would be able to assist you.

Form referencePurpose
RR01Re-register your private limited company (LTD) to a public limited company (PLC)
RR02Re-register your public limited company (PLC) as a private limited company (LTD)
RR03Notice by the COMPANY of application to the court for cancellation of resolution for re-registration
RR04Notice by the APPLICANTS of application to the court for cancellation of resolution of re-registration
RR04 continuation pageThere is a signature continuation page for form RR04
RR05Re-register your private limited company (LTD) as unlimited company
RR05 continuation pageThere is a signature continuation page for form RR05
RR06Re-register an unlimited company as a private limited company (LTD)
RR07Re-register a public limited company (PLC) as a private unlimited company
RR07 continuation pageThere is a RR07 signature continuation page
RR08Re-register a public limited company (PLC) as a private limited company (LTD) following a court order reducing capital
RR09Re-register a public limited company (PLC) as a private limited company (LTD) following a cancellation of shares

Limited company re-registration

Limited company re-registration

Companies House provides re-registration service for limited company that wish to change their legal status to suit their business requirements.

For examples, a private limited company may wish to become a public limited company and raise capital through selling shares to the public.

On the other hand, a public limited company (PLC) may re-register to a private limited company to save auditing costs where a PLC status no longer provides the business with the benefits. The maintenance of a PLC is far more expensive than a private limited company.

A PLC must have their company accounts audited every year and Auditor’s fee can be expensive whereas for a private limited company may claim audit exemption and there is only accountancy costs to pay and no audit fee to pay. This is more affordable.

Companies House provide five types of company re-registration services and they are listed below.

  • From a private limited company (LTD) to a public limited company (PLC).
  • From a public limited company (PLC) to a private company limited (LTD) by shares or guarantee.
  • From a private limited company (LTD) to an unlimited company.
  • From an unlimited private company to a limited company (LTD).
  • From a public limited company (PLC) to an unlimited private company.

The amended certificate of incorporation will be issued by Companies House once your company re-registration is successful. The certificate will present your company changed of name, status and the date of re-registration.

Certificate of incorporation

Certificate of incorporation

Certificate of incorporation is issued to your limited company once your company registration application has been approved by Companies House and been successfully incorporated.

The certificate is a conclusive evidence of that your limited company has been registered in accordance with the United Kingdom Companies Act.

Your certificate of incorporation will have the following information printed on it:

  • Your company name.
  • Your company registration number (eight digits number only).
  • The type of company whether your company is a limited or unlimited company and if it is limited whether it is limited by shares or limited by guarantee.
  • Whether your company is a private or public limited company.
  • Where is your company’s registered office situated in England and Wales, Wales, Scotland or in Northern Ireland.
  • The date of incorporation of your limited company. The date is the date Companies House issued your certificate on incorporation.

Your certificate of incorporation is stamped with the official seal of the Registrar of Companies.

Your certificate of incorporation is important when come to opening of your company bank account. Your bank would ask for this certificate and other incorporation documents.

You may now start your business straight away. Remember to include your company number and registered office address in your company’s letterhead and website.

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