Companies House is a UK government agency that is responsible for the registration and dissolution of limited companies. The government body maintains on-going records of registered companies and makes the information available to the public.
As a company owner, you will interact with Companies House when registering your company in the UK. In this blog post, we will inform you about the scope of services and responsibilities of this government agency.
Companies House: An Overview
Companies House is a government branch responsible for oversight of limited companies in the UK. It is an agency of the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform that has been registering companies since 1844.
Each year Companies House registers over 500,000 new companies. Limited companies have to follow the rules and regulations set by the government agency. All company registrations are legislative through the Companies Act 1985, 1989, and 2006.
Responsibilities of Companies House
Companies House in the UK has three main responsibilities. These include incorporation of companies, making company data available to the public, and dissolution of companies.
Incorporation of Companies
Companies House as mentioned before is responsible for the incorporation of companies. It is estimated that the public body has registered over 4 million companies in the UK.
Businesses registered with the Companies House are able to operate as limited companies in the UK. Incorporating a company as a limited company provides various advantages. Here are some of the characteristics of limited companies in the UK.
- Limited companies registered with the Companies House have a separate legal existence. This means that a third party contracts with the limited company and not the owners or directors of the company.
- Registered companies can raise capital by issuing new shares. Individuals who buy the shares of the company are known as shareholders. They are part owners of the company and receive dividend payments based on the investment amount.
- The liability of shareholders is limited to the investment amount. The personal assets of the shareholders will not be used to pay the debts of the company.
Availability of Company Data
Another responsibility of the government agency is making company information available to the general public. The information about the registered company can be used by the shareholders to make informed investing decisions.
Companies House keeps a record of all registered company data that can be accessed by for free by the public, including:
- Company type and registered office
- Nature of business
- Company status
- Previous company names
- Current and previous officers
- Insolvency information
- Date of last statement filed
- Disqualified directors
- Confirmation statement
- Mortgage charge data
Individuals can access the above information from the Companies House website. Moreover, the information can be accessed through the application programming interface (API). This allows business service providers to offer real-time information about registered companies to their customers.
In addition, Follow that is a part of the Companies House System (CHS) and provides free email alerts about any given company. Individuals who subscribe to the service will receive a notification when a company submits a new document.
Dissolution of Companies
Companies House is also responsible for the dissolution of companies. Dissolution involves removing the company name from the register. The process involves completing a DS01 form and sending it to the Companies House.
Companies House keeps records of all dissolved companies for 20 years after the date of dissolution. The records are kept as part of the commitment to enhancing trust. However, the information is not free and you have to pay a fee to view the records of dissolved companies.
How to Register a Company with Companies House?
Business owners who want to protect personal assets from creditors form a limited company. There are many other benefits of registering a company including improved credibility and access to shares.
Businesses must register a company with the Registrar of Companies for incorporation in the UK. The Registrar of Companies for England and Wales is in Cardiff. Companies in Scotland register with the Registrar in Edinburgh, while companies in Northern Ireland register in Belfast.
Companies House allow different types of limited companies, including Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Public Limited Companies (PLC), and Private Limited Companies (Ltd).
To register a company, business owners must file documents required under the Companies Act 2006. The documents can be submitted online using the Companies House WebFiling service. Owners can also deliver the documents by post or in-person to the respective offices in Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast.
Information at the Time of Registration
Upon first registration, a company will have to submit Form IN01 containing Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association.
Articles of Association contains information about share types, share allotments, and share transfers. The document also outlines the rules and restrictions regarding the way the company will be governed and operated. Other information in the document includes:
- Administration Arrangements – company seals, communication, employee provision, etc.
- Details of directors and secretary,
- Dividend policy
- Voting policy
In contrast, the Memorandum of Articles contains information about the company name, registered office, and statement of limited liability.
Documents After Registration
After the registration, companies registered with the Companies House are required to submit a Confirmation Statement and Annual Accounts.
Confirmation Statement (Form CS01) is a document that must be submitted annually. It details the capital and number of shares made available by the company. The document also contains the nominal value of shares and the unpaid amount on shares. You also have to pay a small fee when submitting the confirmation statement.
Annual Accounts must also be submitted each year to the Companies House. Large companies have to file detailed accounts including a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, director’s report, and auditor’s report. Small and medium-sized firms can submit a modified account that contains fewer details.
Companies House is responsible for registering and dissolution of companies. Business owners have to meet the requirements and submit documents to the Registrar to incorporate the company. Moreover, it is also essential to update any changes in the details with regards to the business.
You can contact a business registration consultation if you want to learn more about Companies House. An experienced consultant will help you through the process of incorporating your company in the UK.