Having registered your limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP) with Companies House, you will receive a “certificate of incorporation”. Your certificate of incorporation contains important information regarding your new company, including its unique registration number. It is important to keep your certificate of incorporation in a safe place for future reference and use. Thankfully, if you have mislaid your certificate of incorporation, it is very easy to order a replacement.
In this article, we will explain how to get a replacement certificate of incorporation from Companies House, the details contained on a certificate of incorporation, and why you may need your certificate of incorporation.
How to get a replacement certificate of incorporation from Companies House
If you are unable to locate your physical certificate of incorporation, all is not lost. There are two easy ways to get a replacement of your certificate of incorporation:
- Download a digital copy from Companies House
- Request a certified hard copy from Companies House
Before downloading or ordering a replacement of your certificate of incorporation from Companies House, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Check your email – you may have received a digital copy of your certificate of incorporation on incorporation. Try using the search terms “Certificate of Incorporation” or “Companies House”.
- Download a copy from your company formation agent online portal – if you registered your limited company or LLP through Uniwide Company Formations, simply log into your account on our website.
How to download a digital copy from Companies House
Rather than requesting a new physical certificate of incorporation, you can download a digital version instead. This is a fast and easy option and will suit most needs. Once downloaded, you can print and save your digital certificate of incorporation on your computer for future use. To download a digital copy of your certificate of incorporation, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Click on the find and update company information service on the Companies House website.
- Type in the name of your limited company or LLP and click the search button
- Select your company
- Click “filing history”
- At the bottom of the screen, next to the “incorporation”, click “View PDF”
- A scanned copy of your certificate of incorporation will be shown – you can now save and/or print a copy for your records.
How to request a certified hard copy
If you would prefer a hard copy of your certificate of incorporation, you can order one by phoning Companies House. To request a physical copy of your certificate of incorporation, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Phone the Companies House contact centre on 0303 1234 500
- Prove your limited company or LLP name and company registration number (CRN)
- Pay by credit or debit card.
Certified hard copies of certificates of incorporation currently cost £15.00. If you use the standard replacement service, your request will normally be processed within 4 working days. It is also possible to have your Companies House processed on the same day for a higher fee of £50.00. Your replacement hard copy certificate of incorporation will be posted to your registered company address.
What is a certificate of incorporation?
Once you have completed the process of registering your new limited company or LLP with Companies House, you will receive a certificate of incorporation. Your certificate of incorporation provides evidence that your company or LLP has been successfully registered with Companies House. Put another way, your certificate of incorporation proves that the registration requirements of the Companies Act 2006 have been met. It also proves that your company is duly registered under the Act.
Your certificate of incorporation will contain several items of important information which you will need for future reference, including:
- your company’s name and registered number
- your company’s date of incorporation
- whether it is a limited or unlimited company, and if it is limited whether it is limited by shares or limited by guarantee
- whether it is a private or a public company
- whether the company’s registered office is situated in England and Wales, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
Your certificate of incorporation will also show a Companies House official signature/seal, proving its authenticity.
Additional information may also be included on your certificate of incorporation, including your:
- registered office address
- names of company directors
- name of your company secretary, and
- any company name changes can be added.
Companies House can also include a “statement of good standing” on your certificate of incorporation. This will not be included on your certificate if:
- the company or LLP is behind with filing its accounts or confirmation statement
- the required information about the company’s constitution, ownership or control has not been provided
- the company does not have the required number of officers
As Companies House explains, “If the [registration] documents satisfy all the appropriate examination checks, we will incorporate the company, issue a certificate of incorporation and place the documents on the company record for public inspection. The incorporation does not take effect until Companies House has issued the certificate of incorporation. You should bear this in mind before obtaining company stationery or creating bank accounts”. As such, your certificate of incorporation will only be issued when Companies House are satisfied you meet all of their registration requirements.
Why might I need a certificate of incorporation?
It is important to keep your certificate of incorporation in a safe place. It may be necessary in the future when:
- Applying for a business loan, grant, or any other form of business funding/support
- Having your company’s statutory records inspected
- Leasing a property for your business
- Opening a new business bank account
- Operating overseas or setting up an overseas branch (in this situation, your certificate of incorporation may be requested by the official register of the foreign territory – i.e. the equivalent of Companies House).
- Purchasing property for your business
- Requesting customer credit or setting up a trade account (i.e. with your suppliers and service providers)
- Selling shares to new investors, and
- Selling the company
In addition to the above reasons, it is always good practice to keep your company or LLP certificate of incorporation to hand. The information contained on your certificate of incorporation may be needed when registering with HMRC (e.g. for VAT or PAYE), submitting annual accounts and Confirmation Statements, or filing tax returns. You may also need to reference your certificate of incorporation when informing Companies House and HMRC of any important changes to your business.
Checking the information on your certificate of incorporation is correct
When you receive or download your certificate of incorporation, it is good practice to check that the information it contains is correct and up to date. This is important because, as a company director, you are legally responsible for keeping any information on public record up to date. This means that you must inform Companies House about changes to your company or LLP.
Changes to your company should be reported to Companies House using the WebFiling service. You can use this service to inform Companies House of changes to your:
- directors and company secretaries, for example, new appointments, resignations or changes to their personal details
- changing your company name
- changing your registered office address
- changing your accounting reference date
- changes to your ‘people with significant control’ (PSC) information
- changes to your company’s share structure, for example, if you issue new shares, or
- details of any new mortgages it has or mortgages it has paid off
To make any such changes, you will need to provide your registered email address and password and the authentication code sent by Companies House.
If you have mislaid your limited company or LLP certificate of incorporation, Companies House have made it easier than ever to request a copy. Depending on your needs, it is possible to download and print a digital copy or order a replacement hard copy. For most purposes (e.g. setting up a new bank account), a printed digital download will more than suffice. If you do need an authenticated physical copy of your certificate of incorporation, you can pay an extra fee for a same-day processing service. Requesting a new copy of your certificate of incorporation is also a useful opportunity to check that the details held on record by Companies House are correct. If not, as a company director, you have a legal duty to ensure that any changes are reported to Companies House in a timely manner. If you need any assistance with finding your certificate of incorporation, requesting or downloading a copy, or making changes, speak to a specialist in company formation, such as Uniwide Formations.
Uniwide Formations is a UK-based professional business service provider that specialises in the registration and formation of limited companies and LLPs. Our expertise includes advising businesses on how to meet their reporting and filing requirements with Companies House, reporting changes, and requesting a replacement copy of their incorporation certificate as needed. Contact us today so we can assist you with your business needs.