Hello and welcome to the Companies House networking and information seminar. Before we start I would like to cover off the domestics. Toilets are……………………….. Fire drill……………………… Mobile phones
Now that the formalities are out the way, let’s get down to business. Hi my name is ………………..and together with my colleagues…………………………and…………………………….. We are going to tell you a about Companies House and what we as an organization do and what we expect from the companies on our register. We are going to tell you how to get the most out of Companies House services. We have the added bonus of having a colleague from the IPO here today who will give you a brief overview of all thing intellectual property. Now we realise the you are all busy business people and you need to make the most of every day and every opportunity presented to you so with that in mind we don’t want you just sit there and be talked at for 3 hours. We want you to look around you. There is a wealth of local business sat in this room. When you came in we showed you where you could put you business cards. We have allocated …….. Mins for a comfort break. We would recommend that you use this time to speak with us and also each other. There could be some real business opportunities in this room for you right now.
UK Registry of Companies 1844 - Established 1988 - Executive agency of BIS 1991 - Trading fund. This means that we receive no funding from Government and what we charge is what it takes to keep the organisation running. Funding: 80% registration, 20% search The Registrar of Companies for England and Wales, and Chief Executive of Companies House is Tim Moss. His office is based at Companies House in Cardiff. The Registrar of Companies for Scotland is Dorothy Blair and her office is based in Edinburgh. The Registrar of Companies for Northern Ireland is Helen Shilliday and her office is based in Belfast. There is also an Information Centre in Abbey Orchard Street, London. Companies House has around 900 staff working across the four offices. Our turnover is around £60 million
It is worth mentioning at this point that we will talk at length about Ltd companies. This is simply because Ltd companies dominate the register. All that we talk about today will, in the main, relate to all the company types you can see listed on the screen.
The main functions of Companies House are to: Incorporate Limited Companies Receive updates to Companies Information and dissolve limited companies; We then make all this information accessible to the public via a multitude of services.
How do we do this? We get information coming into us from three main sources. There is software filing. Some of you may use a 3rd party or 3rd party software to submit information to us. Others might use our WebFiling service and others might still be using our paper forms. All of this information comes into us and runs either directly through our e services or is dealt with manually and input into our e services, this all culminates in creating the public register.
So why do we do this? Why does Companies House exist. We aim to be the heart of company information in the UK by recording the life events of companies for ALL to see. It is a fact that we are a world class information exchange we are ranked………………………. In the list of worldwide registires. We pride ourselves on our services being both easily accessible and easy to use. We strive to ensure that all our customers have an excellent experience when dealing with us and we also want to ensure that we are providing trusted information. At Companies House we accept all information in good faith. We have taken some steps to ensure the integrity of the register but there is more that can be done. We have recently set up an integrity team who will be looking at way in which we can make sure that what we receive is accurate. One step that has recently been taken is the introduction in June to perform checks on undischarched bankrups. This means that checks will be made against directors appointments to ensure that they aren’t listed as bankrupt or subject to personal insolvency restrictions.
A question that we are often asked at this event is “Do I have to be a ltd co?” The simple answer is no. There is no legal requirement for you to ever become a ltd co. How ever many of you will seek advice and be advised that in order to do business or to be protected you should be ltd. So this leads on to why become a ltd co? The two main reasons are that you will have a protected co name. This means that there will not be another company with the same name as you on the public register within the UK as we cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You will get Ltd liability. This means that the liability of the directors is limited to their shareholding or guarantee to the co. In return for this you would need to ensure that you comply with the co act and send us certain pieces of information every year. I will come onto that information in a moment.
So there are three ways that people currently incorporate with us. Our preferred method is via our Web Incs service. There is a £15 fee for this. The service has been developed to make the process as straight forward as possible. There is also the option to have a swift incorporation via a formation agent . We have a list on our website of all the agents that are able to submit information to companies house electronically. We don’t list them in any order of preference. They are listed alphabetically. There is one other option. That is paper. This is a slightly more expensive process
I would say that the vast number of you in the audience today are directors so you may recognise most, if not all of the responsibilities on the next slide but just incase there are some here that aren’t familiar with it all I am going to go through the list one by one.
Firstly you need to ensure that you file two pieces of information with us ever year, no ifs no buts. This information come in the form of accounts and annual return. These are going to be covered off in detail so I will move onto the next item. You need to notify us within 14 days if there are any changes to the directorship or secretaries information on a company. Equally you will need to let us know as soon as there are any changes to your ROA or to your sail address. It is important that these be kept up to date and it could be detrimental to the company if this information is not up to date. The accounts and returns we know when they are due so there are steps we can take to encourage you to file on time. With the changes to address or persons information we really do rely on the co operation of companies to get this information in on time. Under the previous Act there was no restriction on the age at which someone could be appointed to a company in England and Wales. You might wonder why someone would appoint a minor to a company. There are two trains of thought. Some parents might have thought this a fun alternative to buying an x box or a bike. The more likely explanation is that some disqualified directors may have appointed their children as directors of their companies to keep them on the register. It became an issue when these minors were then being called to court once the company had fallen into default again. We couldn’t justify having small children called to court so this was a change that was needed and was made as a part of the Companies Act 2009. At the opposite end of the spectrum the maximum age limit has been lifted. Under the previous act, once a director of a plc had turned 70 they would have to terminate their appointment. This was a bit of a farce as the following day they could be reappointed once the remaining directors had approved it. Part of the new Act was to simplify things for Companies and to cut some of the red tape, so now you can remain a director of a PLC until you feel ready to step down. You will now also find that all companies have at least 1 natural person appointed. This is owing to another change made under the 2009 Act that tackled the issue of corporate directorships. There was a time that if you had issues with a company and were trying to find a person that you could deal with about it, you would never find anyone as the people appointed to the company would be companies and the appointments on those companies would be companies. And this cycle would continue for some time. Now under the 2009 act you will be able to find one living, breathing human being capable of picking up the phone or opening your letter at every company.
There is a lot of information out there and the best place to find it is on the Companies House website. So if we work through what you will need to file at Companies House the first place to look is at the top left hand side of the screen as you look at it. You will see on the screen that you have quick link options to file your annual return, your company account and also to change your company details. Click on any one of these links and you will be taken to the same screen every time and that is:
This screen. Now some of you may be familiar with this screen as I know that there are some of you in the audience today who do currently WebFile but in the interest of those who have yet to use this service I am going to quickly skim over the registration process. So, it might not be immediately obvious where you would need to go to register for the WebFiling service. If you look in the top left hand corner you will see the word register. Once you click here you are taken to the next screen.
To this screen where you will have supply us with your email address and create your own password. Please note that there are rules around the password and these are that the password must consist of between 8 and 32 alphanumeric numeric characters, containing at least 2 numbers. You go through the usual process of filling out both pieces of information twice and then decided wether or not you wish to opt in to our mailing list. If you opt in we will only contact you with information that is relevant to you as a WebFiling customer. We will never pass your e mail address onto third parties.
The next step is to authenticate your company. You will need to sign in to the service using your email address and password. It is worth noting at this point that the email address and password is linked to you as an individual. So, if you have 4 people appointed to a company and they all want to WebFile they would each register their mail address and create their own password. When it comes to the company authentication code there will only be one generated per company. Once you have given us your log in details you will be asked to input your company number and your authentication code. If you don’t yet have a code then you would select request an authentication code.
You enter the company number you wish to register and we will send you a company authentication code which will be posted 1st class to the company’s Registered Office Address. Anyone who is close to a filing deadline who wishes to make future submissions online I would say that time is of the essence. You need to start working on this now.
When you do get your authentication code it will be a random sequence of letters and numbers. You will be pleased to learn that you can amend your authentication code to one that is more memorable. You would log in to the service and access the company authentication section you could then make the changes to the authentication code.
The ROA for a company is the single most important address in our eyes. This doesn’t have to be the place where you carry out your business this is the address that anyone looking at our services will see as a point of contact for your company. This address as you know from the responsibilities slide should be correct and operational. The way I always describe it is that someone should be calling to that address to see that post has been delivered. With regards to the location of the ROA, it must always remain in its original jurisdiction. This means that if on incorporation it was set up as and England & Wales Co then the ROA should remain in E & W, same rule applies Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales. You can of course trade anywhere you want but you must make sure that your ROA address location is constant.
There is one other address that I will mention to you and that is your SAIL address. This is a Single Alternative Inspection Location address. You should keep certain registers at your ROA. There was a desire by some to hold these registers elsewhere. So now you can have a SAIL address. As the name suggests it is a single alternative. You can inform us via WebFiling of the address for your SAIL and also the registers that you will be keeping there. It is worth noting that you can also make these changes to your co records via the AR.
As we are talking about addresses now is the perfect time to cover off the trading disclosures part of the Companies Act. Not many people are aware of this but all Limited companies should display their name at all places of business and also their ROA. This was an across the board rule and it didn’t matter if your ROA was at your home, you would still be expected to display your name. Under the new Act and in the interest of privacy for directors you no longer need to display your co name on a premises if the address is primarily your residential address. So if this is the place you go to at night for your tea and to sleep you need not worry about having a sign outside. Similarly if the co is a dormant company then there is no longer a need to display the name at the ROA. For those of you who aren’t complying with this at the moment, the rules state that the sign should be legible and conspicuous. This effectively means that no one should have to enter the property to know that company X is registered there. It should be clear from to anyone approaching the building. You don’t need to spend a fortune on signs, a simple sticker in the front window will suffice.
The next part of trading disclosures is the need to display certain information on your business stationery. This will need to go on communications including email from and also your companies website. You will have all had communications in the past where there has been a blurb of information at the bottom of the letter with the following information: Co name, place of registration, so Wales, England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Registered number, this is the unique number that is allocated to your company upon incorporation. Your ROA which, as you now know, should be operational and correct. Director information. This means a list of the names of the directors of the company. The ruling with this is all or none at all. You can’t pick and choose whose names you display. If you have a frequent turnover of directors you may want to factor in the cost involved in this before adding names to your comms.
As we are on a role of talking about addresses let us now cover the sometimes contentious issue of directors home addresses. As you may or may not know part of being a ltd company meant disclosing your address on the public register. There were those who did experience great distress as a result of this information being made available. This was when we saw the introduction the confidentiality order. This was a process that allowed those persons who felt that their life or the lives of those living at their address was at risk of threat, harm or intimidation could apply to have a service address place on the register. The service address wasn’t grated by Companies House and there would be police involvement. Our role was simply to display the service address. Under the new act it was felt the ALL directors should be allowed to display a service address.
All directors can allocate a service address to be placed on the register and this is more to do with privacy than anything else. You can now see why there is no longer a need to display the company name at the ROA if it is your residential address. The address that you give us can be one of your choosing but it must not be a PO Box number. Your usual residential address or URA will still need to come in to Companies House but will be placed on a secure register and the team working on this information as a small team on only they have access to the information. Not everyone in the building has the ability to see this info. A change of address can be made by online. Please note that your address will always be held on our historical records. You do have the option to have your address expunged from historical records, however this will only be granted to those who would have been previously granted a confidentiality order.
So that is all the address issues dealt with. Now we need to move onto two very important pieces of information. The first of which is the annual return. From the overview screen in WebFiling you can see the status of the annual return. Is it up to date or is it overdue. It will also tell you when the next return is due. To submit your return you would simply select file annual return. So how many of you file your companys return? How many of you confuse your Companies House return with your Tax Return? If you do, you aren’t on your own.
The annual return is not to be confused with the HMRC Tax Return. It doesn’t hold financial information. There is a need for all companies to file an annual return every year. The date by which it is required is based on the Legal Return Date. This is effectively the anniversary for the company. We will expect to see a snapshot of the company at this point in time. The snapshot of the company tells us where the ROA is and who is involved in the company. We will allow 28 days after the LRD, the anniversary to get the return filed. There is a fee of £13 if you choose to submit the return online or £40 if you are submitting a paper version. It is worth noting that around 98% of AR are now filed online. If you are able to file online then it is the safe, simple and speedy way. There are a very small number of companies that will have no choice but to file paper. These companies are the exception and not the rule. I don’t want to keep banging the online drum but it is a point that I feel really needs to be emphasised.
The next essential piece of information will be the financial accounts. As with the annual return the information about this filing deadlines for the accounts will be on the overview screen. As you can see from thi point you can also make changes to the accounting reference date. Can be filed online Based on your incorporation date Usually the last day of your incorporation month Can be changed However…… Period can be shortened without restrictions But can only be extended once in 5 years - unless bringing in line with holding or subsidiary company
Refer to the items on the slide individually…….. Preparing once and enabling filing twice is a sort of dividend resulting from HMRC’s mandatory requirements for mandating iXBRL and the considerable change for the whole accounting services industry that will result. So for today we’ll show the blend of the two organisations as follows…….. Just to emphasise again that in adopting a joined up approach, it relates only to filing of statutory accounts from software or from the template you will have heard about during the HMRC presentation this morning. The detailed P/L account and items relating to the CT computation and return are for HMRC only of course. To expand on this for software filing…………………..
Once your companys year has ended you will have 9 months in which to get your accounts in order and submitted to Companies House. For a PLC which is more accountable to the public there will be a 6 month period. The quickest way, as you now know is to deal with us online. My advice is always get the accounts in a quickly as you can after your ARD. Do not leave it until the last minute and do not send them in late as you WILL be subject to a penalty.
Please note, first on foremost. Late Filing Penalties are again accounts only. There is no financial penalty again Annual returns arriving late. Late filing penalties were introduced in 1992 and had the effect if improving the compliance of accounts significantly. Over time however the compliance rate did start to dwindle so the decision was made to make changes to the penalty regime. I will show you the new penalty scales in a minute. This is a civil penalty and is placed against the company and not against the individuals. The ruling states that the accounts need to be received by the registrar no later than the due date. Even one day late and a penalty will be levied. It is also worth noting that there penalty will be doubled if the company files late 2 year running. You are able to appeal the penalty. The registrar must issue the penalty and they have very little discretion to not collect the penalty. There will have to be an exceptional reason why the penalty won’t be collected. Some excuses that haven’t made the grade are: I was on holiday, the snow had affected the post, my accountant said it had been dealt with. You have 9 months in which to get your accounts to us. There are very few excuses that you can give that the Late Filing team haven’t heard. So my best advice would be file you accounts as soon as you can. Don’t leave it until the last minute to submit your accounts as the closer you are to the deadline the greater the chance of receiving a penalty.
So, this is how the penalties play out. TALK AROUND THE AMOUNTS.
In spite of all the effort that we make to ensure compliance there are still a number of companies who fail to file on time and this has resulted in us leveying
WHERE SHOULD WE PUT THIS????????
If you would like to see videos of how to use WebFiling our website has 9 demonstration at the moment for you to view.
Good morning / afternoon. My name is…..and I am here to give you an insight into the Output Products available at Companies House. I will start by providing you with an insight into the WebCHeck service, which is a non-subscription based service that allows you to check on any of the 3 million companies on our database 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can use WebCHeck to help maintain compliance with Companies House and to keep an eye on any companies you may deal with.
We have taken our services to the next level by launching a mobile app, which provides free information on the go.
The App is accessible on Apple and Android platforms and it is free to download from either the App Store or Google play. The only information that you will be able to get currently is the free information that we hold. The App has a stats section that allows you to compile statistics about the number of companies incorporated or dissolved in any time frame that you choose. You can also view the most recent Tweets broadcast by CH. Feedback on the app is always welcome and within the Apple and Android version there is a feedback section that you can complete. There have been a number of changes made to the App based on feedback that we have received.
When you search for a company on the App, as well as having access to basic company information, such as Officers Details and Filing History, you can send the company details via email or add the company to your Favourites list by clicking on the ‘Star’ symbol. The CH Mobile App allows you to store favourite companies that you may want to access frequently. It is possible to sort your favourites in a number of different ways, such as by Company Name or Number, or when the next Annual Accounts or Annual Returns are due to be filed. To do this you simply need to click the ‘Sort’ tab and select the sort method you wish to use. There is also a ‘traffic light’ system in place for companies saved in your Favourites. This system allows you to easily identify when the Annual Returns or Annual Accounts for a particular company are due to be filed, or are overdue. The Amber alert indicates that filings are due, with the Red alert identifying that the filings are overdue. Companies can be deleted from your ‘Favourites’ list at any time. If you would like a demonstration of the App or any of the output products in more depth, please come and see me at the end of this seminar.
If you want to check if a company name you want to use is available, the quickest way is to perform a Company Name Availability Search via the WebCHeck service. To do this, you just need to input the name that you would like, then ensure that the ‘Company Name Search Availability’ tab is selected and click on the search option. If the name you would like to use is available, the following message will appear on the search screen CLICK As previously mentioned, please make sure you do a history search on Dissolved names before you apply to use a company number – you can do this by selecting the ‘Dissolved names’ tab on the right hand side of this search screen.
Monitor is a service available to users of both CHD and WebCHeck. Along with WebFiling and Proof, Monitor helps to make up the 3 point plan to prevent corporate identity fraud. You have already been told about the security benefits of WebFiling and Proof so here is some information about Monitor Monitor is way of keeping a check on information that is being sent to Companies House. It can be used to monitor your own company or that of a customer, supplier or competitor. If you are looking to keep an eye on all the activity of your company this service is perfect as you will receive an alert whenever a document has been received by Companies House. If you choose to monitor all documents you will know when a potential fraudulent document has been sent in. Also it will give you peace of mind that your accounts are received by Companies House on time so that you won’t incur a penalty. If you are looking to do business with a company and you are keen to see their most up to date set of accounts then you can be alerted the second they are on our system. The cost for this service is 50p to monitor a company for a 12 month period. This fee stays the same whether you are monitoring 1 document or all documents. Should you choose to act on the alerts you will have to pay for the information that you download and payment will be made in accordance with the service you are using.
If in doubt please take note of our contact telephone number and email contact for general enquiries
Companies House Presentation July 2014
• Companies House – Who are we?
• The Limited Company and the Companies Act 2006
• Incorporating with Companies House
• How to file your information online
• Our information services
• Key conclusions
• Information & Demo Points
Why we do it
‘the heart of company information in the UK, recording the life
events of companies for ALL to see’
• A world class information exchange
• Accessible, easy to use
• Creating excellent customer experiences
• Providing trusted information
Why become a limited company?
• The company name is protected
• Limited liability status
• Is where the liability of the members is limited by
shares or by guarantee
• In return the company must send certain information
to Companies House for public viewing
• Accounts and Annual Returns are delivered
• Registered office and SAIL address is correct and operational
• Directors’ and secretaries’ details are
kept up to date
• No under 16’s appointed (except for LLP’s)
• No upper age limit
• At least 1 “natural person” appointed (except for LLP’s)
Keep your code safe
• Make sure your code isn’t easily guessable
• Mix letters with numbers in your code
• Only share your code with trusted company personnel
• Change your code if company personnel changes
• Change your code if you think the code has been discovered
• Tell your agent before you change your code
• Use a different code for each company
• Don’t leave your code lying around
Single Alternative Inspection Location
Or known as “SAIL” applies if:-
• Your company records & registers are not kept for inspection
at the registered office address
• Only one SAIL address allowed
• Address notification required
• Records & registers at the address required
• Also notified on annual return
Company name to be displayed at:
• All places of business
• Registered office address
But does not apply to:
• Primarily residential addresses
• Dormant companies
All items of business stationery & communications including
emails and company website must show:
• Company name
• Place of registration
• Registered number
• Registered office address
• Director information
• If being wound up, that fact
Directors service addresses
• Based on privacy
• Any address (not P.O.) for the public register
• Usual residential address for protected
• Change notice can be completed online
• Historic addresses can be “expunged” for at
• Not the financial return
• All companies have to file one each year
• Based on your Legal Return Date
• Snapshot of the company details at this date
• Must be filed within 28 days of this date
• £13 filing fee online (£40 for paper filing)
• Over 98% are now filed online
• Some Account types can be filed online
• Companies have to file accounts each year
• Whether trading or not
• Strict filing times laid down by Parliament
• Based on your accounting reference date
• Automatic penalties for being late
• No filing fee
Small Full or Abbreviated
Accounts - Input
Select Box to Send to
Accounts Filed and
Corporation Tax Filed
Joint filing benefits
• Meet two legislative obligations in one go
• Both organisations using iXBRL
• Full accounts can be filed (extract abbreviated versions)
• Built in intelligence and calculations
• Templates can be worked offline
• Latest FRSSE statements
• Email confirmation
Accounts filing periods
Private Co - 9 months from the accounting reference date
Public Co - 6 months from the accounting reference date
Late Filing Penalties
• Accounts only
• Introduced 1 July 1992 and amended 1 February 2009
• Civil Penalty against the company
• Accounts must be received by Registrar by due date
• Penalties are doubled for filing late 2 years running
• Appeals procedure
• Registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty
Late Filing Penalties
Penalties are doubled for filing late 2 years running
Length of Period Public
Not more than 1 month £750 £150
More than 1 month but not more than 3
More than 3 months but not more than 6
More than 6 months £7,500 £1,500
Dissolution and voluntary strike-off
• Straightforward procedure
• Company not traded or changed name in last 3 months
• Form DS01must be completed
• Majority of directors must authorise application
• £10 fee to pay
• Can take 6 months and is subject to third party objections
• DS02/LLDS02 withdrawal of application to strike off
• Reversible process via Restoration process
WebFiling and PROOF scheme
• PROtected Online Filing - PROOF
• Stops the filing of certain paper forms i.e. :-
Company officers appointments / Terminations / Changes
Change of the registered office
NOTE: Accounts are not included in the scheme
• Paper forms are rejected and sent to the registered office
• 50-100 Corporate identity fraud cases per month
Join eReminders for:
• A timely email reminder of when your accounts and annual
returns are due at Companies House.
• The option of a maximum of 4 email addresses per company.
• An alternative to paper reminder letters sent to your
registered office address
WebFiling and eReminders
• Mobile app is FREE and available for Apple and Android
• Available to download from Apple App Store or Google Play
• Only free information is available on this service – no hidden
• Allows you to check company information ‘on the go’
• Stats and our latest Tweets can be viewed on the App
• Feedback is welcome
• Save most frequently viewed companies
in your ‘Favourites’ for Amber / Red Alerts
when AR and AA are due / overdue
• Variety of sort options in favourites –
including company name, number or when
accounts or returns are next due for filing
WebCHeck & Companies House Direct
•Pay as you go
•Company name availability
•Detailed filing history
•Free current appointments
•Disqualified director search
•Document download area
Companies House Direct
•Full filing history
•Document download area
• FREE Service available via CHD and WebCHeck
• Part of the 3-point-plan to prevent corporate identity fraud
• Email alert service for documents filed by ANY company
The Companies House Service
• Transforms our electronic services, with modern
technology and a new web service
• Better and simpler for customers, making it easier to
view and update company information
• Think “e” – and enjoy the benefits now
• Filing online saves you time
• Meeting filing deadlines saves you penalties
• Up-to-date records create confidence in your company
• Our Information online can help you
• Companies House is here to help you
Online user panel
• Help us understand how you use our online services
• Your Feedback and Your experiences
• Details on our website
Telephone: 0303 1234 500
RSS feeds: www.companieshouse.gov.uk
Follow us: Facebook: facebook.com/CompaniesHouse
Companies House You Tube Channel
Thank you for listening!