Many people are confused as to what information is legally required on their business stationery – letterheads, invoices, business cards etc. For instance, there’s no requirement to show your company registered number on your business cards however, letterheads and invoices do require this information.
* The information given below is reproduced under the Crown copyright guidelines as provided at Companies House website. It is recommended you visit the CH site for the most up-to-date information.
1. What does disclosure mean?
The Companies Act requires a company to display its name at its registered office, other places of business and on all business communications. It must also include its registration details in its letters (including those sent electronically), order forms and websites.
These requirements are included in:
2. Where must I display my company name?
Every company, unless it has at all times been dormant since incorporation, must display a sign with its registered name at:
- its registered office;
- any inspection place;
- at any location at which it carries on business (unless it is primarily used for living accommodation.
- It must also include its registered name in all business communications (hard copy and electronic).
3. How must I display the sign with my company name?
You must display a sign with your company name:
- in such a way that visitors to that office, place or location may easily see it;
- so that it can be seen at any time, i.e. not only during business hours;
- continuously, but if the location is shared by six or more companies, each such company is only required to display its registered name for at least fifteen continuous seconds at least once in every three minutes.
4. How must I display the company name in communications?
You must include your company’s registered name in all forms of business correspondence and documentation, whether in hard copy or electronic, including:
- business letters, notices and other official publications;
- business emails;
- bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements and order forms;
- cheques purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the company;
- orders for money, goods or services purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the company;
- bills of parcels, invoices and other demands for payment, receipts and letters of credit.
5. Must I display my company name on my website?
Yes. Every company must disclose its registered name on its websites.
You do not need to include the company name on every page but it must be displayed so it can be easily read.
6. What additional information must I include?
On all its business letters, order forms and websites a company must display:
- the part of the United Kingdom in which the company is registered (ie England and Wales, or Wales, or Scotland, or Northern Ireland);
- the company’s registered number;
- the address of the company’s registered office;
- if a company is exempt from the requirement to use “limited” in its name, the fact that it is a limited company;
- if the company is a community interest company which is not a public company, the fact that it is a limited company;
- if it is an investment company as defined by section 833 of the Companies Act 2006, the fact that it is this type of company;
- if it is a company which has chosen to display its share capital, it must display the amount of paid up share capital.
7. What information must the company provide?
If anyone with whom the company deals in the course of business makes a written request for:
- the address of its registered office:
- the address of any place of inspection;
- the type of company records kept at the registered office or inspection place.
The company must send provide the information, in writing, within five working days.
8. Do I have to display directors’ names?
A company does not have to state the directors’ names on its business letters unless it chooses to do so. However, if it does decide to include the names then it must state the names of all its directors. In other words, a company cannot be selective about which directors’ names it shows – it must show all of them or none of them.
9. Are there special rules for charitable companies?
Section 68 of the Charities Act 1993 provides that a charitable company whose name does not include the word ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ must state that it is a charity on company documents, including business letters, notices, invoices, bills of exchange, promissory notes and on any conveyances it executes. The relevant legislation in Scotland is the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005
10. Do the rules apply to overseas companies?
Yes. Please see the ‘Overseas Companies‘ guide.
11. What if the company is being wound up?
If a company is being wound up or is in administration or receivership or a moratorium is in force in respect of its debts, every invoice, order for goods, business letter or order form (in hard copy, electronic or any other form) must contain a statement that the company is being wound up.
- What is a Business Name?
- To whom do the business names provisions of the Companies Act 2006 apply?
- Can I choose any name for my business?
- Do I need to display my business name?
- Whose name(s) must I include in my business stationery?
Answers to these questions here: Legal Requirements – Page 2
This page updated July 2015
The information given above is reproduced under the Crown copyright guidelines as provided at Companies House website: