Companies House UK is the sole authorised registrant of incorporated businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and from 1 October 2009 Northern Ireland.
Its main headquarters are in Cardiff, although it also has operational offices in London, Edinburgh and Belfast which are capable of providing most of the services as those carried out in the Wales facility.
As a government funded body, Companies House has several primary functions including the provision of information to the general public as well as compliance and enforcement duties.
Some of the main responsibilities are explained further below:
Companies House and UK Company Formation
Companies House UK validates and authorises all company formation applications for English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish businesses.
This includes both incorporation requests submitted directly to the Registrar of Companies via Forms 10 and 12 as well as those which originate from UK company formation agents.
After a business set-up application has passed the validation checks, it is issued with a company number, which is an eight digit unique reference which is used to identify and distinguish one incorporated entity from another.
The company number is displayed of the certificate of incorporation, the official document which signifies that the business has been successfully registered.
Companies House and Statutory Accounts
Companies House regulates the submission of annual statutory accounts. It is a legal requirement for all companies to prepare and submit their accounts.
The submission deadlines may differ depending on the type of company in question. Public limited companies have a short period by which they must prepare their financial statements than private entities.
Companies House will verify that the documents comply with the required format for the particular type of business in question. This includes any exemptions which are available for smaller and medium sized businesses.
Companies House and Annual Returns
Another legal requirement for UK companies is that they submit an annual return each year. This document provides certain details about a company including information on its directors, secretary and shareholders. In addition, the annual return will note the current registered office address.
Companies House and Changes to a UK Company
It certain situations, changes to a company require Companies House to be notified either electronically or via a paper form.
Examples of such circumstances would be where a new director or secretary is appointed or where one resigns or changes to the location of the company’s registered office.
A validation of the submitted documents would take place by the Registrar of Companies up on their receipt. Any incorrectly completed forms would be rejected and returned to the sender.
Companies House and UK Business Information
Companies House have facilities which allow members of the public to access a variety of information on any UK company. Details can be delivered electronically or by post, with the former method providing almost instant access to the information.