What is Companies House?

When setting up and running a company, you will have regular involvement with Companies House. In this article, we look at the main functions of Companies House and what obligations limited companies have.

Companies House – Key Functions

Companies House is the regulatory body for the registration of companies, and the maintenance of company records.

According to the organisation itself, the main functions of Companies House are to:

  • incorporate and dissolve limited companies;
  • examine and store company information delivered under the Companies Act and related legislation; and
  • make this information available to the public.


There has been some type of company registration since 1844, although the incorporation process and administration of live companies is covered by law.

Companies House itself is an Agency of BERR (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform).

Company registrations are legislated via the Companies Act 1985, 1989 and 2006 (ongoing).

There are over 2 million limited companies currently registered in the UK, with a further 300,000 incorporated each year. Over 80% of limited companies are now formed electronically.

Company Obligations

The term ‘limited company’ includes several different company types, including Private Limited Companies (Ltd), Public Limited Companies (PLC), and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP).

All limited companies are must submit their annual accounts to Companies House each year, and complete an Annual Return – Form AR01(which contains fundamental information about your company).

You are also obliged to inform Companies House of any changes in company details (such as change of registered address, change in the share structure of the company, and any change in director(s) or company secretary details.

You can read more in our dedicated guide, What companies need to send to Companies House.

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