Legal & Privacy
Legal information to include on your stationery
Apart from your company name and address, include all telephone landline numbers, fax machine number, email and website address, if applicable. It's also advisable to include mobile phone numbers, especially on business cards, and even home telephone numbers, depending on the nature of the business.
There are also a number of legal requirements, depending on the type of business you run.
There is no requirement for sole traders to register a business name. They can trade under their own names or choose a different business name. However, if as a sole trader you choose something other than your own name for the business, you will have to include your own name and the business address on all business letters, orders and receipts. Invoices must state your VAT registration number if applicable.
Partnerships must state on letters, orders, invoices and receipts the names of all partners and the address of the principal office or alternatively indicate where a list of partners may be inspected. Invoices must state your VAT registration number if applicable. Limited companies must show the name of the company, the country of registration, the company registration number, the address of the registered office and the address of its place of business, if different. There is no need to list the names of the company directors, but if you do, all must be shown. Invoices must show at least the company name and VAT number if applicable.
Publication of company name and details to be shown on a company's communications.
A company must disclose its name (as it appears in its memorandum of association) at its registered and sometimes other offices and on its communications. A company must also give other specified information on all its business letters, order forms and websites. The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations (Statutory Instrument 2008/495) introduced some changes to the existing trading disclosures requirements from1 October 2008.
1. Where and how must I display the company name?
A company must display its name:
At its registered office and at the place where it keeps its company records for inspection. From 1 October 2008 this requirement will not apply to a dormant company if it has at all times since its incorporation been dormant i.e. it has "no significant accounting transactions" during a financial year or entries in the company's accounting records. Please refer to our Dormant Companies' guidance.
At any other place at which it carries on business. From 1 October 2008 this requirement will not apply if the location is used primarily for living accommodation, for example, if it is the director's home;
On all its business correspondence and documentation (in hard copy, electronic or any other form), including:
The company's business letters and order forms;
Bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to be signed by, or on behalf of, the company;
Bills of parcels, invoices, receipts and letters of credit; and its websites.
Please refer to The Companies (Trading Disclosure) Regulations 2008 (Statutory Instrument 2008/495) May 2009 – Version 23 As modified by the Companies Act 2006 Page 22 of 30.
The name must be in characters that can be read with the naked eye and be displayed continuously. From 1 October 2008, where the office, place or location is shared by six or more companies, each company is only required to display its registered name for at least fifteen continuous seconds at least once in every three minutes (this is to allow electrical displays with alternating names).
2. Must I show any other company details?
Yes. On all company's business letters, order forms (in hard copy, electronic or any other form) and its websites, the company must show in legible lettering:
(a) the part of the United Kingdom in which the company is registered which is:
For Companies registered in England and Wales either:
Registered in England and Wales; or
Registered in England; or
Registered in Wales; or
Registered in London; or
Registered in Cardiff.
For Companies registered in Scotland either:
Registered in Scotland; or
Registered in Edinburgh.
(b) the company's registered number;
(c) the address of the company's registered office.
If a business letter, order form or any of the company's websites includes more than one address, you should state which address is the registered office.
3. Are there any additional requirements?
Certain categories of company must state the following additional information on their business letters, order forms, (whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form) and websites:
(a) in the case of a limited company exempt from using the word 'limited', the fact that it is a limited company;
(b) in the case of a community interest company which is not a public company, the fact that it is a limited company; May 2009 – Version 23 As modified by the Companies Act 2006 Page 23 of 30
(c) 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;
(d) for a company with share capital, it is not necessary to state the share capital on stationery but, if the company chooses to do so, it must state its paid-up capital.
4. Do I have to display directors' names?
A company does not have to state the directors' names on its business letters, however, 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. 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.
6. Do the rules apply to overseas 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 in this chapter. Our 'Overseas Companies' guidance gives full details.
7. What if the company is being wound up?
If the 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.
8. Does the published company name have to be exactly the same as the registered name?
Minor variations in the form of a name will be permitted including the case of the letters, the use of punctuation, accents, etc and formatting. However, the differences must not result in there being a risk of confusion.
9. What is a company required to disclose when receiving a written request?
From 1 October 2008 any person dealing with the company may make a written request for the company to disclose the address of its registered office, the inspection place (any other place where it keeps its company records) and the type of company records May 2009 - Version 23 As modified by the Companies Act 2006 Page 24 of 30 which are kept at that office or place. The company must send a written response to that person within five working days of the receipt of that request.
10. What if the company fails to comply with these disclosure requirements?
The company and every one of its officers in default will be committing an offence and they may be liable to a fine. However, from 1 October 2008 the personal civil liability of officers under the Companies Act 1985 will be removed. This means, for example, that if the officer signs a cheque on behalf of a company in breach of the disclosure requirements, he is no longer personally liable to the holder of the cheque for any money.
The information printed above is meant as a guide only and it is suggested you visit the Companies House website for full up-to-date information.
The information given above is reproduced under the Crown copyright guidelines as provided at Companies House website: