All limited companies are obliged to communicate with Companies House in a number of ways each year – via the submission of their Confirmation Statements and Annual Accounts, and to notify the registrar of any company personnel or share structure changes.
In this article, we provide a brief overview of Companies House, what services it provides, and what obligations you have as a company director
What does Companies House do?
Companies House is the official central register of UK companies. All new companies are registered via Companies House, and data on existing (and past) companies is maintained there. It is an executive agency of the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
Although there has been a registration system since 1844, these days company registrations are covered by various releases of the Companies Act – 1985, 1989 and most recently changes contained in the 2006 Act.
The main functions of Companies House are to: incorporate and dissolve UK limited companies, examine and maintain company information as required under the Companies Act, and to make this information available to the public.
How many limited companies are there in the UK?
Around 300,000 new companies are formed each year, adding to the total of just under 2 million actively trading limited companies active in the UK today (March 2017). This number has increased significantly over the past 5 years. In 2012, according to Government estimates, there were just 1.3m active limited companies.
The majority are private limited companies (such as those used by contractors), public limited companies (PLCs) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs).
Your dealings with Companies House
As a company director, you have certain obligations to keep Companies House updated with changes you make to your company.
Your first dealings with the agency will be when you set up a limited company. Typically your accountant or a company formation specialist will take care of this step for you. You can find out more in dedicated guide to the company incorporation process.
Although your accountant will most likely deal with most of the ongoing administrative tasks, you are ultimately responsible to ensure that your duties as company director are met and that they are done so within the prescribed time limits.
Each year, you must submit your company Confirmation Statement which contains ‘snapshot’ information about your company at that moment in time. You must also submit a copy of your Annual Accounts within 9 months of your company’s year end.
If you make any changes to your company name, registered address, director details, company secretary details, or shareholder details, you must update Companies House via a series of official forms.