Companies House forms facilitate many of the tasks involved in operating a company in compliance with the law.
When certain changes are made within a company, it is the secretary who bears the responsibility for effecting the event, completing the required forms and obtaining approval from Companies House.
Companies House forms contain a variety of different documents each serving a specific function.
There are those which every company must submit regardless of its circumstances, for example the Form 363s (replaced as Form AR01 after 1 October 2009) which is the annual return, and there are documents which should be completed only at the time of a specific event.
Such an example of the latter might be the Form 288a (superseded by Form AP01 post 1 October 2009), which is only applicable in situations where a new director or secretary is appointed.
All Companies House forms are available to the public free of charge. Most documents are security enabled PDF documents which require Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader or an equivalent program to read them.
Adobe Acrobat is itself a free program and is available to download from www.adobe.com.
Electronic Filing of Companies House Forms
Some Companies House forms are also available electronically and can be completed and submitted over the internet. There are two methods of carrying this out.
The first is to use the system of a UK company formation agent who might provide the ability to not only register companies online, but also to make certain changes and other amendments to the company once it has been incorporated.
The second method is to use Companies House own electronic filing mechanisms. When a company formation application is approved, the registrants are issued with an online authentication code in additional to the certificate of incorporation.
The authentication code can then be used in conjunction with the Companies House Proof Scheme to set-up a security code, which will then in-turn provide the registrants with the means to submit forms directly to Companies House via their website.
Company House Forms Post 1 October 2009
The sections Companies Act 2006 which were enacted on 1 October 2009 provided for the introduction of a new set of Companies House forms which replace those which were in existence prior to this date.
The means by which each of the new forms is referenced has changed from being derived from specific sections of the Companies Act 1985 to being referred to by the action or specific function they are designed to perform.
In general, appointment forms begin with AP, whereas company name documents commence with the letters NM and those relating to limited liability partnerships have the LL prefix.
The new Companies House forms therefore follow a far more logical and user-friendly structure; one with which the general public can readily identify with and utilities when each becomes applicable to their UK Company.
The documents are universal in terms of providing facilities to all companies whether they are registered in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Again this degree of standardisation should aid in their ability to be understood and used effectively by both professional company incorporators and those with a single entity seeking to satisfy their statutory obligations.