What is Companies House?

10 September 2014

If you’re considering or are in the process of setting up your own business, you’ll probably have heard of Companies House. However, their exact function might still be a bit of a mystery. We’re here to fill you in on all you need to know about Companies House and how it affects your business.

The history of Companies House

In 1844, The Joint Stock Companies Act meant that companies could form more easily than previously when the incorporation of joint stock companies was only possible by private act or royal charter. This act meant that all companies that formed under it were added to a public register. The office of Registrar of Joint Stock Companies was then created to be responsible for maintaining this register.

Currently, company registration is dealt with under the Companies Act 2006.

Today, all limited companies in the United Kingdom are registered with Companies House. There are over three million limited companies currently registered in the UK and every year over 400,000 new companies are incorporated.

What Companies House does

Companies House has a number of functions. The main functions are:

  • Incorporating and dissolving limited companies.
  • Storing and examining company information which has been delivered under the Companies Act.
  • Making this information available to the public.

Where is Companies House located?

Companies House has 3 offices, in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

The Cardiff office deals with companies incorporated in England and Wales, and with companies incorporated in Wales. Wherever the registered office of the company will be situated, in England or Wales, the company must be registered in Cardiff. England and Wales are a separate entity from Scotland.

When the registered office of the company is to be situated in Scotland, the company must be registered in Edinburgh.

When the registered office of the company will be based in Northern Ireland, the company must be registered in Belfast.

Upon incorporation of a company the certificate of incorporation produced by Companies House will clearly state where the company is incorporated.

Storage of Information

An important task of Companies House is to store data and provide that data to the public. The statistics of the companies registered at Companies House are published in the annual report.

Can I obtain data from Companies House?

Companies House have a website where you can obtain information about all companies incorporated under the Companies Act. Most of the information is available digitally at a small charge.

Companies House also provide a wealth of resources and guidance booklets on numerous aspects of incorporating and running a limited company.  This information is available free of charge on their website.

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How can we help? 

While a lot of free information is available from Companies House, it is still a daunting task for a new entrepreneur to work through the jungle of technical information to set up a limited company and run it properly. Give us a call on 020 8232 5479 and don’t forget to visit

What Are The Annual Requirements After Company Formation?

02 September 2014

Once you’ve formed your limited company, the responsibilities don’t end there. Every year you’ll have to submit an annual return, the company accounts, and a corporation tax return. When your business is in its first year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the paperwork. That’s why we’ve put together some useful and easy to read information on how to get through your first year after company formation:

Annual Return

What is it?

This is a separate document from the annual accounts and is a snapshot of certain company information. This information includes new appointments, resignations, and any address changes etc. since company formation. Companies are also obliged to give a list of shareholders and a statement of total issued capital, unless it is a company limited by guarantee.

Can I do it myself?

Yes, this is the simplest of the three annual requirements to file. Visit the government website to find out how to create your annual return:

Although in theory it is a simple form to file, in practice we have seen numerous people make mistakes on completing the annual return form. If mistakes are made you have to submit a paper form by post.

It’s also important to note that there is a filing fee of £40 for filing by post and £13 for annual returns submitted online.

You can use our professional service to file an annual return to take the hassle and uncertainty away.


What do they include?

Every year you must prepare statutory accounts. These accounts will include profit and loss, a balance sheet, notes about the accounts, a director’s report, and an auditor’s report. Small companies can obtain exemption from audit and they are allowed to submit abbreviated accounts. This means that less information will be available to the public.

Can I do them myself?

If you’re organised and are confident that your accounts are correct, then you can do the company’s accounts yourself. If you’re less confident or are limited by time, our expert accountants can prepare your annual accounts for you.

Corporation Tax

What is it?

This is an annual tax return which must be submitted even if there has been no trading activity after company formation.

Can I do it myself?

Yes, you are responsible for filing a corporation tax return. There is a good guide on what needs to be included and how to complete your corporation tax return on the HM Revenue & Customs website:

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If you miss filing any of the above before the deadlines specified by each body, you’ll receive late filing penalties. It is a good idea to avoid incurring any penalties, but if unforeseen delays occur, this is the action which will be taken:

Annual return penalty

If you’re late filing your annual return, Companies House will send warnings to the registered company office. After three of these letters, the company may be struck off the register.

Late accounts penalty

There is a rigid structure of late filing penalties depending on how long the accounts have been delayed for. These penalties can cause financial damages of as much as £1500.

Corporation tax penalty

HM Revenue & Customs will issue a demand based on an estimate of the company’s tax. If the demand isn’t met and corporation tax still hasn’t been filed, assets may be seized.

We’re here to help your company succeed

As company formation experts, we understand how the first year of business can be a daunting one. If you’re having trouble with your business’s annual requirements, contact us on 020 8232 547 with your questions and we’ll be happy to help.