Due to the amount of times we are asked, I thought I would make a post explaining what (by law) must be displayed on your business stationery if you are a UK limited company.
Under the Companies Act 1985 your company must state its name (as it appears in its memorandum of association) on its business stationery. Your company must also give certain information on all its business letters, order forms and websites.
1. On which documents must the company name be shown?
The company must state its name, in legible lettering, on the following (whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form):
• All the company’s business letters, order forms.
• All bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to besigned by, or on behalf of, the company.
• All its bills of parcels, invoices, receipts and letters of credit.
• On all its websites.
2. Must I show any other company details?
Yes. On all its business letters and order forms (whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form) and the company’s websites, the company must show in legible lettering:
• Its place of registration and its registered number.
• The address of its registered office (even if this is your accountant’s address which is sometimes used). If a business letter or order form or any of the company’s websites, mentions more than one address, it is recommended that you state which is the registered office address.
3. The place of registration must be one of the following, used as appropriate:
For companies registered in England and Wales:
• Registered in Cardiff
• Registered in England and Wales
• Registered in England
• Registered in London
• Registered in Wales
For companies registered in Scotland:
• Registered in Scotland
• Registered in Edinburgh
4. Do I have to display directors’ names?
A company does not have to state the directors’ names on its business letters, but, if it chooses to do so 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.
5. Do I have to display my VAT number?
Your VAT number does not have anything to do with being a limited company, however, this question is also asked frequently so I thought I would answer it here. The answer is no, there is no law to say that you must display your VAT number on your stationery, however, it must be displayed on a VAT invoice or VAT receipt. If you are VAT registered then displaying a VAT number on your stationery looks professional in our opinion.
6. Must anything else be shown?
Certain categories of company must also state the following additional information on their business letters, order forms, (whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form) and websites:
• For an investment company as defined by section 833 of the Companies Act 2006 that it is such a company.
• For a company exempt from using the word “limited” in its name, the fact that it is a limited company.
For a company with share capital, it is not necessary to state the share capital on its stationery, order forms or websites, but, if the company chooses to do so, it must state its paid-up share capital, not its authorised capital.
7. Are there special rules for charitable companies?
Section 68 of the Charities Act 1993 does not require a charitable company to include the word “charity” or “charitable” in its name.
This section provides that a charitable company whose name does not include the word “charity” or “charitable” must state the fact that it is a charity on all the documents listed under question 2 above, in all bills it sends and on any conveyances it executes.
The Charities Act 1993 does not apply to charitable companies registered in Scotland but the same rule applies to Scottish companies under an equivalent provision in section 112(6) of the Companies Act 1989.
8. Do the rules apply to oversea companies?
A company formed outside Great Britain which opens a branch or place of business in Great Britain must register with Companies House and must publicly display similar details to those set out above. Full details are listed in the Companies House booklet entitled “Oversea Companies”.
9. What if the company is being wound up?
If the company is being wound up, every invoice, order for goods, business letter or order form (whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form) must contain a statement that the company is being wound up.
At time of posting (2/9/2008) the above is correct, any future updates or amendments will be found here: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk