Companies House is the government organisation that monitors all dealings direct with the forming, dissolution of companies and the filing of legal forms on an annual basis.
Companies in the UK have to file their annual return each year, their accounts, changes in directors and shareholding and you can also find information on companies using the Companies House Direct WebCHeck service.
What is Companies House Direct?
As companies house is the only place that holds the original filings of up to date company information, you can access the data online using the standard WebCHeck service. Using WebCHeck means you pay for each item you download whereas Companies House Direct is a subscription-based service providing the same information but at a lower unit cost.
Anyone can access the basic company information online. To perform more informed checks and to combat and align with money laundering regulations the "direct" service is better for you. The same charges apply, except you pay a £4 monthly fee. You can get instant online access to a wealth of information including:
- General company details
- Filing history document images
- Company reports
- Document packages
- Company appointments
- Personnel appointments
- Mortgage index and credit ratings
- Certified documents and certificates
- Dissolved companies, disqualified directors and insolvency details
- Sign up for Companies House Direct here
- Log into your account here
What Does Companies House Do?
The principal function of Companies House is to incorporate and dissolve companies, but each year every company also needs to send in an annual return. They are also required to make this information accessible to the public.
Sending in an Annual Return Form AR01
Each year every company needs to submit an annual return form AR01 or LL AR01 for limited liability partnerships. These days Companies House want you to complete this online, so the fee for online submissions is £15, and mail submissions are £40. Failing to submit this form within 30 days is a criminal offence with prosecutions made against company directors or the secretary.
Late submissions incur fines of between £150 to £1,500 for private limited companies and £750 to £7,500 for public companies depending on the length of the delay.
The company secretary will receive a notice to complete the return at a particular date called the "made up to date" and is required to submit back or online by another period after the made up to date.
The annual return ensures the data Companies House hold about the company are still accurate and cover directors and shareholdings. The information required includes:
- The name of the company.
- The company's registered number.
- The type of company, whether it's private or public.
- The company's registered address.
- The address where the company stores certain registers - if different from the registered address.
- The principal business activities of the company.
- The name and address of the company secretary (if your company has opted to appoint or retain one).
- The name, residential address, date of birth, nationality and business occupation of all the company's directors.
- The company's made-up date for annual accounts.
If you complete the return form AR01 online, all you need to is check the boxes if nothing has changed and then move onto the next page.
Companies House Addresses and Contact Information
Here are the contact details of Companies House in the UK
Companies House Edinburgh
Companies House in Edinburgh regulates the registration and dissolving of Limited Companies based in Scotland.
New Address from 26th May 2009:
4th Floor, Edinburgh Quay 2, 139 Fountainbridge. Edinburgh EH3 9FF.
LP - 4 Edinburgh 2 (Legal Post) or DX ED235 Edinburgh 1.
Telephone: +44 (0)303 1234 500 or Fax: 029 20380900.
Old Address: 37 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EB.
Telephone: 0870 3333636 or Fax 029 20380900 Open Mon-Fri 8:30am - 17:30pm.
Companies House Cardiff
Companies House in Cardiff regulates the registration and dissolving of Limited Companies based in England and Wales.
Address: Crown Way, Cardiff. CF14 3UZ.
Telephone: 0870 3333636 or Fax: 029 20380900
Open Monday to Friday 08.30am to 17.30pm.
Companies House London
The Companies House London address is the information centre for company enquiries.
Address: PO BOX 29019, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London. WC1B 3XD.
Telephone: 0845 7573991 or Fax: 029 20380900
Open Monday to Friday 08.00am to 6.00pm.