Business Glossary

What is a Company Registration Number?

Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be deemed to be or used as legal, employment, or health & safety advice. For guidance or advice specific to your business, consult with a qualified professional.

When a new limited company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is registered with Companies House, it receives a Certificate of Incorporation. This contains important information including the company name, the date of incorporation and the company’s unique registration number.

This Company Registration Number (CRN) identifies your business to entities such as Companies House.

What is a Company Registration Number?

A Company Registration Number (also known as a CRN, Companies House number or simply company number) is a unique code that allows Companies House and other entities to quickly and easily identify a business.

Companies use the same CRN throughout the life of the company, allowing it to be identified easily even if the company name, address, directors or business activities change. Your CRN is generated digitally and automatically assigned on the date of incorporation.

Company Registration Number format

Companies can recognise their registration number by the unique format that differs from that of other important numbers like their VAT number, employer number or unique taxpayer reference.

A CRN is 8 characters long and comprises either 8 digits or 2 letters and 6 digits.

  • Companies in England and Wales have 8-digit CRNs beginning with 0 or 1

  • Companies in Scotland have CRNs beginning with ‘SC’ followed by 6 digits

  • Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) begin with ‘OC’ followed by 6 digits

  • Scottish LLPs begin with ‘SO’ followed by 6 digits

  • CRNs for Northern Irish companies begin with ‘NI’ followed by 6 digits

  • Northern Irish LLPs begin with ‘NC’ followed by 6 digits

Where can I find my Company Registration Number?

Your CRN can be found on your certificate of incorporation from Companies House that you received upon registration. It can also be found on:

  • Any other official communications from Companies House

  • The public register by searching for your company name

  • Any correspondence from a company formation agent or accountant who dealt with Companies House on your behalf

When do I need my Company Registration Number?

There are numerous circumstances where a company may need to identify itself to certain bodies using its CRN. These most commonly include:

Making changes

Businesses will need to quote their CRN to Companies House when making changes, such as:

  • Changing the company’s name, address and other details

  • Adding or removing a new director, company secretary or partner

  • Changing the company’s status or dissolving the company

Dealing with HMRC

Companies will also need to quote their CRN in dealings with HMRC including:

  • Registering for and paying corporation tax

  • Filing annual accounts

  • Registering for and reporting PAYE

  • Informing HMRC if a company has been made active or dormant

Dealing with banks

Companies will also need to quote their CRN when opening a business bank account or applying for loans, bridging finance and other forms of commercial credit.

Company Registration Number FAQs

Do sole traders need a Company Registration Number?

Only limited companies and limited liability partnerships need to register with Companies House. Therefore, sole traders do not need a CRN, even if they trade under a company name rather than their own.

Where do I need to display my Company Registration Number?

Limited companies and LLPs are required by law to display CRN on all company stationary and business documents (including invoices) as well as on their websites.

What is a Companies House authentication code?

A Companies House authentication number is not the same as a CRN. It is a 6-character alphanumeric code provided by Companies House upon registration. This code allows users to access its online filing system and make changes to their company records.

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