Sensitive words in 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. Sensitive words are also referred to as the reserved words in incorporation matter.

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

Reserved words in company names

If you are to use any of the reserved words in your company names, you must write to the relevant governing body for permission. Ideally, you must obtain the approval before you submit your incorporation.

Companies House would not process incomplete incorporation application. They will return your application and suggest to re-submit when you have everything or you change your company names.

Use of the word Audit and Auditor

No.Sensitive words Require approval from
1Accounts Commission for ScotlandAudit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Standards and Accreditation Team
Regulatory Delivery Directorate
1 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0ET
3Archwilydd Cyffredinol CymruArchwilydd Cyffredinol Cymru
Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru
24 Heol y Gadeirlan
CF11 9LJ

Auditor General for Wales
Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
CF11 9LJ
Sensitive Business Names Team
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 5HS
5Auditor General
Audit Office
National Audit Office
157-197 Buckingham Palace Road

Audit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Audit Office
106 University Street

Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
CF11 9LJ
6Auditor General for Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland Audit Office
106 University Street
7Auditor General for Scotland
Audit Scotland
Audit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port
8Auditor General for WalesAuditor General for Wales
Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
CF11 9LJ
9Chamber of Commerce/
Business/ Enterprise/ Industry / Trade / Training
England and Wales
British Chambers of Commerce
65 Petty France

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce
22 Great Victoria Street

Scottish Chambers of Commerce
30 George Square
G2 1EQ
10Chartered AccountantEngland and Wales
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Chartered Accountants’ Hall
Moorgate Place

Northern Ireland
Chartered Accountants Ireland
The Linenhall
32-38 Linenhall Street

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
CA House
21 Haymarket Yards
EH12 5BH
11Chartered SecretaryThe Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
Saffron House
6-10 Kirby Street
12Comptroller and Auditor GeneralNational Audit Office
Elizabeth 2
151 Buckingham Palace Road

Other Governing bodies in UK

No.Sensitive words Require approval from
Sensitive Business Names Team
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
25 the North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 5HS
Branding Manager
Communications Division
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ
Branding Manager
Communications Division
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ
4Chamber of Commerce/
Business/ Enterprise/ Industry / Trade / Training
England and Wales
British Chambers of Commerce
65 Petty France

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce
22 Great Victoria Street

Scottish Chambers of Commerce
30 George Square
G2 1EQ
5Chartered SecretaryThe Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
Saffron House
6-10 Kirby Street
6Chartered SurveyorRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
RICS Headquarters
Parliament Square
7Community Benefit SocietyFinancial Conduct Authority
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 5HS

Other sensitive words require approval prior incorporation

You may use sensitive words in your company name if you have been given permission to use it.

Sensitive words starting with the letter C.

Sensitive words
Comisiwn Cynulliad Cenedlaethol CymruCommissionComptroller and Auditor General for Northern IrelandCo-operative
Co-operative Society
CyngorCynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Sensitive words starting with the letter D, E F and G

Sensitive words
Dental Surgeon
Dental Practitioner
Ei Fawrhydi
Ei Mawrhydi
of England
FederationFinancial Conduct AuthorityFinancial Reporting Council
Financial Reporting Review Panel
FoundationFriendly SocietyFund
GovernmentThe Governor and Company of the Bank of EnglandGwasanaeth iechyd

Sensitive words starting with the letter H, I, J, K, L, M and N

Sensitive words
Health and Safety ExecutiveHealth and Social Care BoardHealth centre
Health service
Health visitorHis Majesty
Her Majesty
House of Commons
House of Lords
Judicial appointment
Law CommissionLicensingLlywodraeth
Medical centreMidwife
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

Sensitive words starting with the letter O, P and Q

Sensitive words
Office for Nuclear RegulationOifis sgrùdaidhOilthigh
Pensions Advisory ServicePolicePolytechnic
Post OfficePrifysgolPrince
Prudential Regulation AuthorityPrydain
Public Health Agency

Sensitive words starting with the letter R and S

Sensitive words
Regional Agency for Public Health and Social WellbeingRegional Health and Social Care Board
RegistrarRegistered SocietyRegulator
RiaghaltasRìgh Banrigh
Rìoghachd AonaichteRìoghail RìoghalachdRoyal
of Scotland
Scottish Law CommissionScottish Parliament
Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
SeneddSheffieldSiambr Fasnach
Social ServiceSocietySpecial School
StandardsStock exchangeSwyddfa Archwilio Cymru

Sensitive words starting with the letter T, U and W

Sensitive words
Teyrnas Gyfunol
Teyrnas Unedig
Trade UnionTribunal
TrustCharitable TrustFamily Trust
Investment TrustPension TrustSchool Trust
Trust companyTrust corporationUnit Trust
Wales Audit OfficeWelsh Government
Welsh Assembly Government

Company registration number

Companies House issue company registration numbers to every limited company incorporated in the United Kingdom. Your company registration numbers are an unique to your company. It is also known as company incorporation number or company number. Your company registration numbers is an official identification number for your company. In other words, it is your company’s ID.

It is 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

The table below show company registration number format correspond with the company’s country of registration in the United Kingdom at a glance.

Co. with registered office inCo. incorporation numbers format
England and Wales 01234567
Scotland SC123456
Northern Ireland NI123456

First of all, 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.

Secondly, 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. For instance, Scotland Company shall have company incorporation number read SC123456.

Lastly, 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. For instance, Northern Ireland Company shall have company incorporation number read NI123456.

Where to find your company registration number

Companies House website

You can search the Companies House register. Just type in your company name in the search box as indicated. Then click the Search button. Your company name and number and other details should display.

Company incorporation certificate

Your company registration numbers is also printed prominently on your certificate of incorporation.

Company change of name certificate

Similarly, If you have recently changed your company names, Companies House would have issued you with your company change of name certificate. You would find your company registration numbers are printed on the certificate. For one thing changing your company names would not affect your original company registration numbers.

All letters from Companies House

In addition, all Companies House letters sent to your company’s registered office address would have your company registration numbers printed on it. Ordinarily, it was used as their reference.

When you correspond with Companies House and HMRC, you must also use your company name and numbers as reference.

The incorporation emails

Usually, your company formation accountants would include your company registration numbers in the incorporation emails. Normally, the emails would include the Memorandum and Articles of Association and your certificate of incorporation. Also, your company authentication code.

When do you require your company registration numbers

Generally, you would require your company registration numbers in the following circumstances.

  • Opening a business bank account.
  • Submit the form 64-8 authorizing your accountants.
  • Submit your CT41G form disclosing your trading status with HMRC.
  • Register for value added tax (VAT) with HMRC.
  • Register for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) with HMRC when you start hiring staff or paying your director.
  • Submit your company confirmation statement with Companies House.
  • Prepare your company accounts. Otherwise, Companies House would reject your accounts if your company number is missing.
  • Complete your corporation tax return.
  • Notify Companies House of changes in your company details. For example, when you file the form AD01 to change your company registered office address you would require your company number.

Basically, any filing with Companies House you would require your company number. Whereas you would require your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number in addition to your company name and number for filing with HMRC.

Besides, you must also display your company registration number on your business website, company letterhead and other official stationery.

Company director duties

Generally, company director is bound by the terms of the company’s charter set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Associations. In other words, your company director can exercise all the powers permitted by the memorandum and articles which are not reserved to be exercised by the shareholders in general meeting.

Director legal duties

In the event that your director is the majority shareholder and also the sole director, the rule may be despotic. However, your company director must act in accordance with the Companies Act and the general law. Your director’s duties include the following.

  1. A fiduciary duty to your company to act honestly and in good faith in the best interests of your company as a whole.
  2. A duty to exercise such a degree of skill and care in carrying out his duties as might reasonably be expected from someone of his ability and experience.
  3. A duty to fulfill your company’s statutory obligations imposed by the Companies Acts and other legislation at all times.

Director in a position of trust

Concurrently, your director has the duty to act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of your company which imposes a trustee’s responsibility. This includes to take proper care of your company assets and to ensure payments are properly made and supported by adequate documentation.

In other words, your director must keep property accounting records. For instance, to have a system for cash management for staff and booking of all transactions in the company’s records.

Similarly, not to misappropriate company’s cash for personal use. For example, use your company to fund a luxury lifestyle. Or bought a car solely for personal use but put through the transaction in the company’s books.

Conflict of interests

On the other hand, your director must not make a personal profit at your company’s expense. He/she must disclose to the other directors at the board meetings any interests in your company transactions.

Furthermore, your director must disclose the transactions at the general meetings and include it in the minutes.

Another key point, your director must disclose the transactions in your company accounts. This type of transaction is classified as related party transaction.

Personal benefits

Furthermore, your director’s personal interests must not conflict with those of your company. For instance, they must not use your company assets for personal benefit. This includes knowledge acquired through the company.

Board of directors

Usually, The board of directors control the management of a limited company as a whole and not individual director.

Commonly, formal meetings often dispensed with and the board of directors can delegate its powers to one or more board members and appoint a managing director.

Generally, they are different types of directors.

Part time directors

You may appoint a part time director, also known as non-executive director. Normally, non-executive director is with financial, legal or technical expertise that of huge contribution to the company growth.

Alternate directors

You may appoint an alternate director who speak and act on behalf of board of members in your temporary absence. However, you can only do this if you have an appropriate provision in the Articles.

Nominee directors

You may appoint Nominee directors to represent substantial shareholders. Your nominee directors must not act solely in their principal’s interests. But like any other director, in the interests of the company as a whole.

Shadow directors

Shadow directors are persons in accordance with instructions the directors are accustomed to act. Consequently, they have the same duties and obligations as any other directors.

Register of directors

As a rule, you must keep and maintain all your directors appointments in the Register of directors.

For a person director, you must keep the following information.

  1. Full name and any former name.
  2. A service address. For this purpose, this can either the company’s registered office address or the director’s home address.
  3. The usual country residence whether in the UK or any other state or country.
  4. Nationality.
  5. Occupation.
  6. Full date of birth.

Whereas for a corporate director, you must keep the following information.

  1. The corporate name or firm name.
  2. It’s principal registered office.
  3. In the case of an EEA company, where it is registered and its registration number. Otherwise, the legal form of the company or firm and the law by which it is governed. if applicable, where registered and its registration number.

On the other hand, you must also keep and maintain the register of directors’ usual residential addresses separately.

Besides, you must also fulfill the request to inspect your company registers. The law allows this.

Generally, all directors appointments and resignations must enter into your company registers. Subsequently, if there is any changes you must update the registers. At the same time you also must notify Companies House. You submit the relevant Companies House forms within 14 days.

Likewise, you must include your directors details in your confirmation statement. Typically, you are required to to confirm whether your directors details as at the your confirmation statement filing due date is still valid.

Register a company

Register a company with Companies House in the United Kingdom usually it is done through an accountant or a company formation agent.

Desire company name

You can use the company name availability checker to check if your desire company name is available for registration. Companies House has strict rules on company names, for example, your company names must not be misleading or contain inappropriate wording that is offensive. Similarly, your company names may not be too similar to existing company names already on their register.

However, you may do it yourself too. If this is the case, ensure your incorporation application include the following documents.

Companies House form IN01

Use the form IN01 to register your limited company with Companies House with effect from 1 October 2009.

Formerly, the forms to use were form 10 and form 12 for company incorporation under Companies Act 1985.

Incorporation details required

You must complete the form IN01 and provide the following information.

  • Directors’ name, date of birth, nationality, occupation and home address.
  • Company secretary. This is optional for a private limited company unless you are forming a public limited company.
  • Shareholders’ personal details and number of shares to hold and the voting right attached to each share.
  • Share capital.
  • Registered office address. This must not be a PO Box address.

The form IN01 is 18 pages long.

Director service address

Under the Companies Act 2006, your director is required to provide a service address. The service address is for public record. The service address can be your registered office address or your home address. However, your director’s residential address can still be obtained via credit agency that providing credit check services to public.

Registration Fees

There is a standard fee payable to Companies House for registering a limited company. Please contact Companies House directly for the fee information.

Other Incorporation Documents required

In addition, you must also include your memorandum of association and Articles of association with your incorporation form IN01.

1) Memorandum of Association

This should state your company name, the intended location of the registered office and the objects of your company.

2) Articles of Association

This should have the detailed rules about internal management of your company. If you don’t draw up your own articles, you may adopt the standard article (Table A) set out in the Companies Act 2006.

Certificate of incorporation

You cannot start trading until you obtained your certificate of incorporation for your limited company. Companies House will issue the certificate once incorporation is successful.

On the other hands, for registration of a public limited company, you must obtain a trading certificate before starts trading. This is in addition to your certificate of incorporation.

Company seal

Limited company uses an company seal to endorse and officialese formal contracts, lease agreements and share certificates. The seal is also known as corporate seal or common seal.

Your director must authorize the use of your corporate seal, if your company must have it as spell out in your Articles of Associations

Generally, your director and/or company secretary must witness and sign the document whenever a seal is affixed.

In other words, use of the corporate seal is not compulsory unless your Articles of Association required it.

For this reason, a signature of your company director or your company secretary, either or both, on behalf of your company has the same effect as if the document had been executed under seal.

On the other hand, you may require a seal for conducting business abroad or entering into contracts with overseas customers or suppliers. Their legal representatives may require that your company affixes an official seal to the commercial contracts.

Traditionally, many companies still use either a a seal to execute official documents in the United Kingdom. This is because its use is perceived as a strong authority in signifying a genuine document.

When to order

Normally, you would order your seal after your limited company have been successfully incorporated. This is because you must provide your company name and registration number. You may find this information in your certificate of incorporation.

Plier and Embossers to officialise documents

There are many types of seal you could buy in the United Kingdom. The HPI Plier range and LWI embossers. Both products range produce high quality imprints on paper up to 120gsm.

Each of this embosser and plier comes with a standard circle layout with your company name and registration number. You may also add your own logo to your plier or embosser for an extra cost.

How to keep same company name and avoid late filing penalty

How to keep same company name and avoid paying late filing penalty? Basically, you dissolve the company already incurred the late filing penalty then setup new one with the same company name. Thus, you do not have to pay late filing penalty. Is this legal? yes.

Conventionally, the Companies Act does not stop company director to dissolve a limited company and setup a new one with the same company name to avoid paying late filing penalty.

Automatic late filing penalty

Commonly, company dissolve their limited company and setup a new one with the same company because firstly, they want to keep the same company name and secondly they do not want to pay the expensive late filing penalty.

Typically, their company incur late filing penalty because they did not file their dormant account thinking it is a dormant company and it has nothing to show anyway.

Unfortunately, Companies Act said otherwise. You will get automatic late filing penalty unless you can show your circumstance is exceptional. In that case, Companies House may waive the penalty.

Universally, the maximum late filing penalty for late filing of company accounts is £1500 for a private limited company and £7500 for a public limited company.

For that reason, sometime it is cheaper to setup a new company with the same name and avoid the late filing penalty altogether. Before, you could setup the new company with the same name, you must dissolve the existing company with the late filing penalty first.

This is only possible for a dormant company that has never traded before. And, it has no bank accounts. This is because your new company would have a different registration number to that of your existing dormant company. Legally, the new company is a completely new entity with no trading history.

Once you have legally dissolved your dormant company, you do not have to pay the late filing penalty. Also, no further filings for that dissolved company.

Step by step to dissolve company with late filing penalty and setup new one with the same name

Generally, this is how to keep same company name and avoid late filing penalty. First of all, you must initiate the company dissolution process with companies House.

Actions to takeCompanies House applications
Step 1 Submit your application to strike off your limited company with Companies House. Your director must sign the form DS01.

Step 2
Once your limited company is dissolved by Companies House, you may then incorporate a new limited company with the same name by submitting your new company incorporation form, the IN01 with Companies House.

The dissolution process will take about two months to complete provided no third party objection. Your application will be published in the Gazette.

Your company registration process should take about one business day. Usually, it is done online.

Companies House will reject your company incorporation form if your existing dormant company dissolution is still in progress as your company name is considered not available or already taken.

It is possible to carry out your dormant company dissolution and new company incorporation yourself if you have time to monitor and check with Companies House of the dissolution progress. the timing is crucial here to avoid your company name being registered by someone else after it was dissolved.

Seek accountants advice if you are not familiar with company dissolution and incorporation.

Ready made company

Ready made company is company incorporated for sale. This is the fastest way to incorporation. This type of company is also called off the shelf company.

With Ready made company you can start trading as soon as the ownership is changed over to you. This can usually be done within one business day.

Incorporation documents

Generally, a ready made company has all the incorporation documents taken care of and this includes:

  • Memorandum and Articles,
  • Articles of Association,
  • A statement of first directors and secretary and intended address of registered office and declaration of compliance with under section 9 of Companies Act 2006.

Additionally, the company has a certificate of incorporation.

Ready made company filings history

Of the shelf company is basically a dormant company. Ordinarily, this type of company would have a filing history with Companies House. For examples, annual return, confirmation statement and dormant accounts filings with Companies House depending how old the company is.

On one hand, you would find that all the filings confirm the off the shelf company is a dormant company. For instance, you would see a dormant account filed, the principal business activity on the annual return and confirmation statement stated with the SIC code 9999 and 99999 respectively.

Transfer of ownership

The transfer of ownership documentations including appointment of new director, change of shareholders details and change of your company registered office would be delivered to Companies House to effect the new ownership of the company.

At the same time, you may appoint a company secretary for your ready made company. The appointment is optional under the Companies Act 2006 for a private limited company.

Express company name change

You may also change your ready made company name if you wish. Companies House provide express company name change service that guaranteed done in one business day. Consequently, you will receive certificate of change of name from Companies House. But, your company registration number would not change. The same goes with your filings history. In other words, just your company name changed everything else remained the same.

List of ready made companies with prestigious names

All the filings with Companies House for the ready made companies listed below is up to date.

Ready made companyIncorporation dateHow old
Everything for runners Ltd20.05.20109 years old
Fine Arts and pictures Limited19.02.20136 years old
Colorful Unicorn Ltd19.02.20136 years old
Cute gifts and flowers Limited18.02.20136 years old

Lastly, contact us if you have any questions about ready made companies.

Restore or setup new company

Restore or setup new company options are available if you would like to keep the name of your company that has been struck off by Companies House.

Companies House actively removes company with long overdue Confirmation Statement and company accounts. It is your company director’s responsibility to make sure your company’s filings are up to date with Companies House.

Company’s registered office

Companies House would have sent multiple reminders to your company’s registered office address when your company’s confirmation statement or company accounts are overdue. The proposal to strike off would be published in the Gazette if there is still no response from you and your company be struck off eventually after couple of months.

Therefore it is very important that you keep your company’s registered office up to date and make sure mails sent to that address able to reach you.

Difference between restore or setup new company

The main differences to restore or setup new company are tabulated below:

CompanyRestoreSetup new
Company namesame nameCan be same name
Company registration numberExistingNew
Company’s filing historyContinuedStart new

Which option is suitable for you is dependent on your business objectives.

Setup new company with the same name

Generally speaking, setup new company is often more affordable than restoring your dissolved company. If your aim is just to keep the company name and the company holds no assets and never traded before then setup new company may be the best option for you if cost is your main consideration.

Restore dissolved company

On the other hand, restore your company would be your only option if your dissolved company have been actively trading, holds assets or have contracts under its name. The reasons your company was dissolved was due to overdue company accounts or confirmation statement.

For example, if you have legally binding contracts under your dissolved company name, you must restore your dissolved company because if there is any disputes in court, new company with the same name is not exactly the same contracting party because the company registration number has changed and the company is technical a new entity and separate to your dissolved company.

Voluntary strike off

Take note that if you have voluntarily applied to strike off your company previously, you would not be able to restore your company through administrative restoration. You must apply to court.

Re-register company

Re-register company to change your legal status to suit your existing business requirements with Companies House can be done.

For example, 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 (LTD) where the PLC status no longer benefit the business. For example, where the PLC meet the audit exemption threshold and the only reason it was subject to audit was because of it’s PLC status. Thus the re-registration would save auditing costs.

Generally, maintenance of a PLC is more expensive compared to a private limited company. A PLC must have their company accounts audited every year and Auditing fee can be expensive. Whereas a private limited company may claim audit exemption. In this circumstance, you only pay accountancy fee and no audit fee to pay.
In addition, there is also less compliance work for non audit company accounts. This is more affordable in comparison.

All in all, Companies House provide five types of company re-registration services. You may re-register from:

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

Consequently, Companies House will issue amended certificate of incorporation once your company re-registration is successful. The certificate will present your company changed of name like from PLC to LTD, status and the date of re-registration.

Accounts due date after re-register your company

Public limited company accounts due date is 6 months after their accounting year ended. Whereas for a private limited company, the due date is 9 months after the year end.

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