In recent years Companies House has shifted towards digital services to make its processes faster, more efficient and easier to use. One such digital service is WebFiling, which is used by UK businesses to upload securely key company documents that include annual accounts, company changes and the appointment of directors. In order to use the Webfiling service a WebFiling authentication code is required by Companies House to confirm that the information being filed with them is attributed to the correct company, is valid and is being submitted by an authorised person. In this article we will take a closer look at the purpose of the WebFiling system, the WebFiling authentication code, where to find your authentication code and what to do if you cannot find it.
What is Companies House WebFiling?
WebFiling is a secure system that allows UK companies to supply important information about themselves to Companies House online. Documents can be filed using WebFiling either by using the Companies House website or authorised third-party accounting software (e.g. Sage, Xero and IRIS Accounts). WebFiling saves time when filing documents with Companies House because any information already held by them is pre-populated, obviating the need to fill in all of the fields. This pre-population of information also reduces the number of data entry errors and the risk of filings being rejected by Companies House.
The online WebFiling service can be used to submit a wide range of Companies House forms. Some exampes of these are as follows, although this is not an exhaustive list:
- Form AD01 (change of registered office address).
- Form AD02 (notification of a single alternative inspection location – SAIL).
- Form AD03 (change of location of the company records to the single alternative inspection location – SAIL).
- Form AD04 (change of location of the company records to the registered office).
- Form AP01 (appointment of a director).
- Form AP02 (appointment of a body or firm as a corporate director).
- Form AP03 (appointment of secretary).
- Form CH03 (change of secretary’s details).
- Annual Accounts (audit exempt abbreviated accounts).
- Annual Accounts (micro-entity accounts).
- Form IN01 (private company limited by shares adopting their model articles in their entirety).
- Form EW01 (withdrawal of election to keep information from the register of directors on the central – i.e. public – register).
- Form MR01 (particulars of a charge).
- Form LLDS02 (withdrawal of application to strike off).
- Form LLMR01 (particulars of a charge).
- Form LLMR02 (particulars of a charge subject to which property or undertaking has been acquired).
- Form LLMR04 (statement of satisfaction in full or in part of a charge).
Certain documents cannot be filed using WebFiling, however, including full audited accounts. In addition, Community Interest Companies (CICs) and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) cannot file their annual accounts using the Companies House WebFiling service.
What is a WebFiling Authentication Code?
A WebFiling authentication code is a secure digital password of six alphanumeric characters (i.e. a combination of numbers and letters) provided by Companies House when registering a new company. The code is used when filing documents electronically with Companies House. The WebFiling authentication code is more than just a password. It is comparable with a company director’s signature and provides the person using the code with authorisation to file information on behalf of the company.
WebFiling authentication codes are required when filing documents with Companies House, either through their online services or via third-party software.
Where to find your WebFiling Authentication Code
Once a company is newly registered a WebFiling Authentication Code is sent to its registered office address by Companies House. If you registered your company through Uniwide Formations then your authentication code would have been provided to you through us.
Understandably, it is not uncommon for authentication codes to be lost amidst the mountain of administration when setting up a new company. In this case you can simply request a WebFiling authentication code from Companies House.
How can I request a WebFiling Authentication Code?
You can request that a replacement WebFiling authentication code be sent to your registered company address. If you cannot gain access to the registered office address, however, then you can ask that it be sent to your home address. The home address service was established during the COVID-19 pandemic when many directors and company members could not reach their main office.
Requesting a WebFiling authentication code
To request a WebFiling authentication code simply:
- Register your email address and password on the Companies House WebFiling website.
- Select the option to “Request an authentication code”.
- Type in your company registration number.
- Select “Request code”.
Your WebFiling authentication code will be posted to the named company secretary or another authorised person at your company’s registered office within three to five working days. If you have been sent a WebFiling code before then you will receive a reminder. If you have not been sent a WebFiling code before then you will be sent a new code. This is the only paper part of the Companies House WebFiling system, since the remainder of the process is digital.
It is Companies House policy not to send authentication codes by e-mail or provide them by phone, since this is considered much less secure than using the postal service.
Requesting that a WebFiling authentication code be sent to a home address
To request that your WebFiling authentication code be sent to a home address you will need to complete the appropriate request form on the Companies House website. You must enter your company number and then sign into, or create, a Companies House account (this is different from your WebFiling account). The guidance for this service explains that it cannot be used if the company:
- has filed a document online in the last 30 days.
- is not based in the UK.
- is not a limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP).
- is dissolved.
If your request is approved then your WebFiling authentication code will be sent to your home address within 5 working days.
It is important to note that if you are due to file documents with Companies House via WebFiling then you should allow time to receive your new authentication code. Requesting your code too late may cause you to miss your filing deadline.
Can I cancel or change a WebFiling authentication code?
In certain circumstances it may be appropriate to cancel or change a WebFiling authentication code. You may wish to change your code to make it easier to remember (but not so easy that another person may guess it), or if you are concerned that your existing code has been stolen or may be misused. To cancel or change your WebFiling authentication code then you must log into your Companies House online filing service account. Once logged in, go to the “company authentication” section and change your WebFiling authentication code. You can choose your own six-digit authorisation code.
If you change your WebFiling authentication code then you must give this to any key individuals within your company who file documents with Companies House. You must likewise ensure that, if you use third-party software to file documents with Companies House, it should be reconfigured to use the new authentication code.
How can I ensure that my WebFiling authentication code is secure?
Given the importance of ensuring that your WebFiling authentication code is kept secure, it is recommended that you:
- Treat your code like a PIN number.
- Use a combination of letters and numbers that cannot be easily guessed (e.g. don’t use your date of birth).
- Give your code only to those who need it.
- Ensure that those who have the code keep it safe.
- Change your code if you are concerned that it may be known to someone whom you do not trust.
- Change your code if it is known to someone who is no longer authorised to file on behalf of your company (e.g. a former employee or accountant).
Likewise, it is important to be alert to the possibility of fraud. If you are asked for your WebFiling authentication code by anyone outside your company then caution should be exercised. If you are unsure whether a person who asks for your code is genuine then report your concerns directly to Companies House.
The WebFiling service has undoubtedly improved the way in which companies fulfil their filing obligations with Companies House. It has removed the potential for error, made the process more secure and reduced the time taken to submit key documents. If you need any help with your WebFiling, or if you are unsure of where to find your WebFiling authentication code, then speak with a specialist in company formations and Companies House filing requirements. By securely storing and managing your company’s WebFiling authentication code you can be assured that, when it is time to file any key documents with Companies House, you can meet your filing deadline.
Uniwide Formations provides professional help with Companies House WebFiling, including for the following: