Company information disclosure requirements – do you know what you should be telling the outside world?
You might be pleased to know that I am not about to tell you about any new obligations. What I want to do is to give a refresher about some basic requirements which are often overlooked, but which could have undesirable consequences for you or your company if not properly met. I’m talking about the standard information which a limited company is required to give in the course of its business.
Why do I have to give information about my company?
The aim of the disclosure requirements is enable anyone dealing with your company to know that they are dealing with a company and that it has limited liability.
So what do I have to tell people about my company?
The first requirement is to make sure you display your company’s name as registered at Companies House in a way that it can be easily read at:
• its registered office
• its trading locations
• where the company’s records are kept for inspection
You should also give your company’s registered name in a range of documents and places, including:
• its business letters, notices and other official publications
• cheques, invoices and receipts
• orders for money, goods or services signed by or on behalf of the company.
• its website
• all other forms of business correspondence and documentation
The above list indicates some of the main situations in which the company name must be stated – the precise details are set out in the relevant regulations*. This requirement applies to hard copy, electronic or whatever form. What constitutes an "official publication" and "other forms of business documentation" is not defined.
What else do I have to do?
As well as the company’s registered name, your company’s business letters and order forms (hard copy, electronic or whatever form) and website should also state:
• the part of the UK in which the company is registered
• the company’s registered number
• the company’s registered office
You do not have to give directors’ names, but if you choose to do so, you have to state them all - it is an ‘all or none’ rule.
Getting it wrong is a criminal offence which can make not only your company, but also its directors and other officers liable to a fine. In certain circumstances individuals may be personally liable for goods or services ordered and so on.
There are other requirements for different types of companies such as those exempt from using the word ‘limited’ in their name, CICs, investment companies, those affected by insolvency, trading online and so on, but the above sets out the basic rules applying to most private limited trading companies.
If you would like any further information please contact me, Sue Mann.
* The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008 No. 495)
Business Contracts Solicitor, Birmingham