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Any limited company in the UK must be duly registered to identify as an incorporated entity. If you are starting a new business in the UK, you must know all the requirements and adhere strictly to them. You probably know you need to be assigned a company registration or UK company number, but you are unsure what it entails. This article will explore the meaning of company registration numbers, how to get a company registration number and much more.
What is the company registration number?
A company registration number is a unique set of numbers assigned to a company in the UK. The number usually consists of a combination of numbers or letters, in some cases, that differs for each company registered in the country.
Company registration numbers are often assigned upon incorporation, meaning limited companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) must have one. Other types of businesses, like sole traders and general partnerships, do not require a CRN because they do not need to file their statutory records with Companies House.
The company registration number identifies and verifies whether a company is registered with Companies House. The computer usually generates it automatically; therefore, you cannot personally select or change it.
How Company Registration Number is Formatted
Generally, a CRN consists of eight numbers or two letters followed by six numbers. The company’s structure and location commonly determine the format.
- •Company registration number in England and Wales usually consists of 8 numbers starting with 0 or 1.
- •CRN in Scotland often consists of 2 letters and six numbers, starting with ‘SC’ followed by six numbers.
- •Limited liability partnerships start with the letter ‘OC’ followed by six numbers.
- •Limited liability partnership in Scotland often starts with the letters’ SO’ followed by six numbers.
- •Northern Ireland Companies often start with the letter ‘NI’ followed by six numbers.
- •Northern Ireland Limited liability partnerships start with ‘NC’ followed by six numbers.
There are other forms of company registration numbers, but they are reserved for particular companies, like the Royal Charter being RC, and do not apply to the average limited company.
Where to Find UK Company Number
If by any chance you forgot or misplaced your company registration number, you can find it in any of the following places:
- •On the company’s certificate of incorporation. The number is displayed on the certificate given to you by Companies House.
- •The emails or letters you received from your company formation agent or accountant. Your company registration number should be on the initial documents sent to you when your company was formed.
- •Any official correspondence with Companies House, such as letters or emails.
- •You can use the public register to search the Companies House’s records by company name to find your company registration number.
To quickly find your company registration number online, visit Companies House Service, enter your company's full name in the search box, and click the search icon. Your company listing will appear in the results, with the registration number displayed beneath. If you want to view your company’s entire record, click on your company’s name.
How to Register for a Company Registration Number
When you register your business with Companies House, you will be provided with your company registration number (CRN). To do this, you must do certain things, including completing a series of documents, having your business name, and having a business address in the UK as your registered company office.
You will also fill Memorandum Association documents with information such as the names of all the company’s officers and directors and how share capital is divided between shareholders.
When Is the Registered Company Number Used?
Since the CRN identify a company, you will need to specify it when it comes to some business processes. Therefore, you must reference the company registration number in some activities, such as when opening a business bank account. Also, the number will be required when you communicate with Companies House. Other places the CRN is required are:
- •Changing the company’s name or registered office address.
- •Changing the setting up or a Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL) address.
- •Updating information about the director of the company, members of the LLP or editing the secretary’s details.
- •When the accounting service provider registers a company’s taxes (filing or paying corporate tax or VAT)
- •During general administration processes, such as submitting confirmation statements, annual reports, or filing decisions.
- •Filing the company’s annual accounts
- •Filing copies of resolutions
- •Changing the company’s accounting reference date
- •Making changes to the share capital of the company, such as allocating shares
- •Dissolving the company
- •Registering for PAYE and submitting PAYE reports
- •Communicating with other government departments aside from HMRC and Companies House.
- •Applying for other forms of credit
Where the Company Registration Number needs to be Displayed
According to The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015, which sets out corporate transparency and disclosure requirements, companies (including LLPs and LPs) must display their CRN on business letters, order forms, and websites.
This basically means that you are legally required to display your CRN on the following forms of official company stationery, correspondence, and promotional material:
- •Order forms
- •Leaflets and flyers
- •Compliments slips
- •Websites and other online material
This disclosure requirement is inclusive of hard copy, electronic, digital, or any other form. You don’t have to display the company registration number and all other details that fall under the horizon of company disclosure requirements on every page of a document or website. However, it must be easy to find and visible.
The purpose of this regulation is to ensure that anyone who has or may wish to deal with your company can verify the legal identity of the company.