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Once formation has been successful, Companies House will issue the newly incorporated company a unique, eight-digit code. This will consist of 8 numbers, or alternatively, 2 letters with 6 numbers. This is what is commonly known as a Company Registration Number (CRN) and may also be called a Companies House Number. The sequence itself is based around your company’s type and location (you can find out how this works below).

This number is significant, as it is evidence that your company has been registered with Companies House, and is a way of identifying and validating it as a legal entity. This includes both limited companies, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Sole traders are not incorporated companies and therefore do not receive a CRN. However, as limited partnerships are registered at Companies House, they do get allocated a unique CRN.

Company Registration Number format

You might be wondering about the system used to generate your CRN. Here is how it works.

Your eight-digit CRN number is sequenced partly by your company’s location. Limited companies registered in England and Wales usually have an eight-digit company registration number that begins with zero. The CRN for limited companies in Scotland starts with ‘SC’ followed by six digits. Following the same pattern, limited companies in Northern Ireland are identified by ‘NI’ followed by six digits. However, some older Northern Irish companies start with ‘R’, proceeded by seven digits.

Regarding LLPs, those registered in England and Wales will start with ‘OC’ followed by six digits. The CRN of LLPs based in Scotland begins with ‘SO’ followed by six numbers. Companies registered in Northern Ireland begin with ‘NC’ and also include six digits.

There are some niche examples that exist outside of these established formats, but the above information will apply to the majority of incorporated companies in the UK.

Where can I find my Company Registration Number?

There are different ways of tracking down your CRN:

  1. Perhaps the easiest way of finding a CRN is by searching the desired company’s name via Companies House’s service on Gov.uk. This is the public register, and the primary way for others to view your CRN.
  2. The Company’s Certificate of Incorporation — issued by Companies House — will state both your company name and CRN.
  3. Similarly to the above method, if you have changed your company name, a change of company name certificate will be issued by Companies House, also containing your CRN.
  4. Official correspondence from Companies House should reference your CRN.

At what point will I need to use my Company Registration Number?

Now that you know the various ways to find your CRN, it is important to be aware of situations in which you will be required to use it. When carrying out the following actions, you will need to reference your CRN:

  • Making changes to your company via Companies House. This could include changing your company name or address, adding or removing a company director or secretary, or altering the details of a director or secretary.
  • Opening a business bank account.
  • Applying for a loan, credit account or lease on behalf of your company
  • Registering with HMRC for Corporation Tax and VAT.
  • Sending company tax returns, annual accounts, VAT returns PAYE reports to HMRC.
  • Filling documents at Companies House, such as annual accounts.
  • Whenever you issue out shares, or send share certificates to shareholders.
  • Any communications with Companies House.

This is not an exhaustive list, and you will have probably gathered that there are a good deal of instances in which you will need to provide your CRN. Therefore, it is worth having it at hand whenever you are completing any administrative duties on behalf of your company. This is especially true when interacting with Companies House, or when engaging with HMRC.

Limited companies and LLPs are also legally required to display their CRN on their website, as well as any official documentation or company stationary. Notable examples include: emails, invoices, letterheads, order forms and receipts. This may seem somewhat trivial, but is in fact pursuant to the Companies Act (2006). At least with a CRN’s frequency, there is a good chance you will soon know it by heart!

Company Registration Number misconceptions

A registered company can be a complex entity that goes through various administrative processes. These will often involve other codes and numbers that can easily be confused with a CRN. To help you avoid confusion, here are three different numbers issued by HMRC that are worth familiarising yourself with:

  • VAT number: HMRC allocate this for companies registered for Value Added Tax. This number contains nine digits, starting with GB.
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR): this 10-digit reference is used to identify a company for tax-related purposes.
  • Employer Reference Number: this is generated when employers register to apply Pay As You Earn (PAYE) for their employees. The sequence consists of three digits — this identifies the tax office dealing with the appropriate PAYE — followed by a forward slash. The second sequence of letters and digits identifies the tax office’s employer reference (for example: 123/WY456).

Although these HMRC issued numbers might bear resemblance to a CRN — and are also important — their function is not the same. Therefore, it is important you can differentiate the above when dealing with administrative duties for your company that require a CRN.

One final point worth mentioning is that your CRN is not only an important administrative tool that signposts you as being incorporated, but it is also used to aid transparency. When used as a reference, the public can easily view important information about your incorporated company. For example, this includes your company’s registered address and date of incorporation, as well as current and resigned officers.

If you are considering turning your business into a limited company, Uniwide Formations can act on your behalf to make the process as smooth as possible. We know each business is different, so we offer a range of company formation packages to incorporate your company or register a partnership. To find out more about our services and how we can help your business contact us today.

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