What Is a UK Company Registration Number?

January 18, 2023

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Corporate documents showcase a company in a similar way to a business card. The business reputation of a company registered in the UK largely depends on how correctly the corporate documents are compiled. If you are starting a business in the UK, you should be aware of all the requirements. You have probably already heard that you need to get assigned a UK company number or a registered company number, but let’s explore this in more detail. 

What Is a CRN? 

A company registration number is a unique eight-character code assigned to all types of companies that are included in the British Registration Chamber. A CRN number is a type of confirmation of the existence of a particular company, identifying it as a legal entity. It is also known as a business registration number, but CRN is the most common abbreviation used.

For a British limited liability company or a foreign company with a UK base, there is a need to register with Companies House, which is the official registrar of UK companies. A company will be included in the list of existing legal entities and receive a CRN. Once assigned, a unique number cannot be changed, as it is automatically added to the Companies House listings.

The rule of permanent attribution does not apply to the name of the company. It can be as creative as you want, and you can also change it at any time. In contrast, your company’s registration number is necessary from a bureaucratic point of view. One way to explain it is as if you have a car with a registration number or a unique national insurance number that identifies you. 

What Is the Format of the Company Registration Number?

A CRN is unique, but it’s also important to remember that you cannot request, change, or select it. This is because your CRN number is generated automatically, which means that the computer will assign this sequence of numbers without any input.

CRNs consist of either 8 digits or 2 letters followed by 6 digits, for example, 09876543 or SC876543.

Most CRNs in the list of companies are those that are created in England and Wales. They are easy to identify because they all start with 0 or 1. Do not worry if you see a seven-digit CRN, as 0 is often left out.

Two important factors influence the formation of the company registration number:

  • The place/jurisdiction where the company is created and registered 
  • The type of company. The letters in the code depend on this:
  • Limited Companies in England and Wales: 8 numbers only;
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): OC;
  • Scottish LTDs: SC;
  • Scottish LLPs: SO;
  • Northern Ireland LTDs: NI;
  • Northern Ireland LLPs: NC.

An important note: sole traders do not have a number. This is because sole traders are not companies, so they do not need to register with a UK government department, except HMRC.

Where Can You Find Your UK Company Number?

One of the easiest ways to find your CRN is to look for the data about your company available on the official UK government website on the Find and update company information page or Get information about a company page. Companies House records are available for anyone, and you can search by enterprise name.

When Companies House issues a certificate of registration, it indicates the name and number of your company. As soon as you have applied for the establishment of a company and it has been approved by Companies House, you receive a certificate of registration (incorporation), which, in fact, is proof of registration compliance.

If you cannot access the website for some reason, try to look for the data available to you. For example, any official letter sent from Companies House will contain your company registration number. Also, the CRN is included in correspondence from an accountant or a formation agent if they helped you with the initial business setup.

Lastly, if you would like to change the name of your limited company, you will receive an official certificate of the name change, which reflects the registered company number and the new name.

Where Should a Company Registration Number Be Specified?

If you are a registered company, in addition to providing your company registration number to Companies House and HMRC when dealing with registration and tax issues, you will need to make sure that you have included the CRN number of your business in several places. First of all, it must be put on your website and any other online presence you have. Secondly, if you have an office, keep in mind that you can also place your CRN on all printed marketing materials, company stationery and administrative documents, such as order forms, receipts, and invoices.

Your CRN should be displayed along with your company name, your registered address, VAT payer number and information about trade unions if you are a member. According to the Companies Act, you could be fined if you do not post this information in all the necessary places.

When Is the Registered Company Number Used?

A CRN number is not only a link to the company that the HMRC uses but also a tool that you will need to specify when it comes to some business processes. For example, you will need to enter your registered company number if you want to open a business bank account. When you communicate with Companies House, the number is also required. Some more examples include:

  • Changing the company’s name or registered office address
  • Updating information about the director of the company, members of the LLP or editing the secretary’s details
  • During general administration procedures, such as submitting confirmation statements, annual reports, or filing decisions
  • When your accounting service provider registers your taxes (filing or paying corporate tax or VAT)

Company Registration Number vs. Other UK Company Numbers

Apart from a CRN number, there are various codes that UK companies must use. Such processes as paying taxes, accounting, invoicing, and bookkeeping require numbers issued by the HMRC that can serve as links to a particular company in its system. 

It’s a good idea to know and be able to distinguish tax and other numbers at a glance so that you don’t confuse them with your CRN. In the following articles, we will tell you more about Unique Tax Reference Numbers known as UTR, VAT numbers (VRN) and more.

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