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What is a Company Registration Number and How Do I Find My Company Registration Number in the UK?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Starting a business in the UK is an exciting venture, but it comes with its fair share of formalities. One of the most crucial steps in this process is obtaining a Company Registration Number (CRN). This unique identifier is essential for various aspects of your business, from legal compliance to opening a bank account. In this first part of our comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what a CRN is, why you need one, and the initial steps to get it.

What Does a Company Registration Number Look Like?

  • A company registration number (CRN) always consists of 8 characters. These might be all digits, or they may start with 2 letters followed by 6 digits.

  • For companies in England and Wales, the CRN is typically 8 digits, starting with either 0 or 1.

  • In Scotland, companies are identified by CRNs starting with 'SC', then 6 digits. Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) use CRNs beginning with 'OC' plus 6 digits. For Scottish LLPs, the format is 'SO' followed by 6 digits.

  • Companies based in Northern Ireland use CRNs starting with 'NI' and 6 digits. Lastly, Northern Irish LLPs have CRNs that begin with 'NC', followed by 6 digits.

An eight-character unique string is assigned to a company during the incorporation process known as CRN (Company Registration Number). The company number is also called the business registration number for businesses in the UK. A company number or a registered company number is usually used with the abbreviation for this as "CRN". in the UK government. Its function is to identify the firm and confirm that it has been registered with Companies House as a legal entity.

What is a Company Registration Number?

A Company Registration Number is an eight-character unique identifier assigned to your business during the incorporation process. This number serves to identify your company and verify its legal status. It's also known by several other names, such as 'Companies House registration number,' 'registered number,' or simply 'CRN.' Companies House automatically generates and allocates this number, so you don't have the option to choose or change it.

The company registration number can also be referred to as a "Companies House registration number" as well as the "company number" or a registered number or simply a 'CRN'. It is generated automatically and assigned to you by Companies House, so you can't choose it or alter it.

What is a Company Registration Number

Who Needs a Company Registration Number?

Not every business structure requires a CRN. Only companies and organizations that are incorporated or registered with Companies House are provided with the company registration number.

This covers:

● Companies limited by shares

● Publicly-limited companies

● Corporations limited by guarantee

● Limited Partnerships

● Limited liability partnerships

Do Sole Traders and Partnerships Need a Company Registration Number?

Sole traders and general partnerships, on the other hand, do not need a CRN as they are not separate legal entities and are not required to register at Companies House. Instead, they register only with HMRC and are taxed through Self Assessment. Thus sole traders and normal (general) partnerships don't require a company registration number, since they do not have to register at Companies House.

In contrast to companies they do not have legal status that has a distinct identity from their owners, and their particulars are not public records. Instead, sole traders and regular partnerships have to register in the hands of HMRC they are taxed via Self-Assessment.

Where Can I Find My Companies House Registration Number?

Once your company is incorporated, you can find your CRN in several places:

  1. Companies House Web Service: Use the Companies House online search facility to find your CRN by entering your company name​​.

  2. Certificate of Incorporation: This document is issued by Companies House when your company is registered and contains your CRN​​​​.

  3. Official Correspondence from Companies House: Any official mail from Companies House will include your CRN​​​​.

  4. Name Change Certificate: If you've changed your company name, the new certificate will display your CRN​​​​.

  5. Companies House Records: Search for your company on the Companies House records to find the CRN​​.

  6. Follow Service from Companies House: Sign up for email alerts for any filings related to your company, which include links to documents containing the CRN​​.

  7. Correspondence with Accountants or Formation Agents: Communications from your accountant or agent who helped set up your business will have your CRN​​.

  8. HMRC Correspondence: Official documents from HMRC will also list your CRN​​.

  9. Company's Website: Often, businesses display their CRN on their official website​​.

  10. Business Stationery: CRN can be found on business letterheads, compliment slips, faxes, emails, receipts, invoices, order forms, brochures, leaflets, and other online materials​​.

  11. API Access through Companies House: Access the public data held on companies, including CRNs, through the application program interface offered by Companies House​​.

  12. Search on Government Website: You can search for your company registration number on for free​​.

  13. Official Company Documents: CRN is often listed on various official documents like invoices, credit notes, receipts, and official correspondence​​.

  14. Public Register Next to Company Details: Your CRN will be featured on the public register next to your company details​​.

  15. Formations Service Records: If you used a formations service for setting up your company, they might have records of your CRN​​.

This list covers most of the common methods for finding a CRN in the UK. Each method provides a practical way to locate your company's unique identifier, whether through official documentation, online resources, or correspondences with governing bodies and service providers.

CRN Formats

The format of your CRN depends on where your company is incorporated and its structure. For example:

In England & Wales, limited companies are assigned 8-figure CRNs.

In Scotland, CRNs contain 6 figures, prefixed with 'SC.'

In Northern Ireland, CRNs contain 6 numbers, with the prefix 'NI.'

To locate your company's registration number, go to Companies House Service type your company's full name into their search bar, and then click on the Search icon.

Your company's listing will show in the results with your registration number visible beneath. If you'd like to see the complete company records simply click on the business name.

How Do You Get a Company Registration Number?

A registration number for a company is assigned to your company through Companies House when the company is created. It is not possible to select a particular number you want for your company and you can't change it after it is assigned.

Even if the business changes its name, its primary activities, shareholders or directors. Your registration number will remain the identical one it was assigned at the time the business was created.

The first step in obtaining a CRN is to register your company with Companies House. This involves submitting several documents, including:

  1. Your chosen company name

  2. The UK address as the registered office

  3. Memorandum of Association

  4. Articles of Association

  5. You'll also need to provide details about the company's directors, officers, and how the share capital is divided among shareholders.

What is the Format of a Company Registration Number?

Companies registered within England and Wales are issued an 8-character long registration number, which begins with a zero. The 0 could be removed in certain places.

In Scotland, your registration numbers of LC begin by using SC followed by six digits in the case of LLPs it starts with SO and then six numbers.

Northern Ireland has a similar design. The older Northern Irish companies may have a registration number that begins with R and is followed by seven digitals. This can't change since registration numbers don't change or are updated. But Now in Northern Ireland Companies House registration numbers begin at NC followed by six numbers.

There are other types of registration numbers for companies however, they are only for special firms, like those with the Royal Charter being RC, and not applicable to the common limited business.

How Do I Find My Company Registration Number in the UK?

Can I Obtain an Updated Registration Number If I Change the Name of My Business?

There will be no changes in your CRN even if you change the name of your company. It will remain the same for all the life of the business.

It is a simple "certificate for incorporation on the name change at Companies House. The document will list the previous and the new company names, along with the registration number and time of the name change.

The certificate doesn't replace the first certificate of incorporation. Therefore, you need to keep the two documents in your company's documents.

When is a Company Registration Number Needed?

There are many scenarios where you'll require to provide the number of your company's registration for example:

● When you contact Companies House.

● Sending your annual confirmation form.

● Changes to the company's data.

● The annual filing of accounts.

● In the process of sending PAYE information to HMRC.

● Requesting a corporate bank account.

● Requesting the loan or lease under the name of your business.

● Registration with HMRC to pay Corporation Tax and VAT.

● Changes in the details of a company secretary or director.

● When the company is dissolving.

When Do You Must Use Your CRN?

Your CRN isn't just a random string of numbers and letters; it's a key that unlocks various aspects of your business operations. Here are some instances where you'll need to use your CRN:

Filing with Companies House: Whether it's updating your confirmation statement, preparing annual accounts, or changing your company's accounting reference date, your CRN is essential.

Dealing with HMRC: From registering for business taxes like Corporation Tax, VAT, and PAYE to filing tax returns, your CRN is your identifier.

Banking and Finance: Whether you're setting up a business bank account or applying for a business loan, credit account, or lease, you'll need to provide your CRN.

General Administration: Creating share certificates, dividend vouchers, and even designing your company stationery will require your CRN.

What Happens If I Lose My Company Registration Number?

Misplacing your CRN isn't a catastrophe, but it's certainly inconvenient. If you find yourself in this situation, you can recover it from:

Certificate of Incorporation: This is the first place to check, as it's the document that initially provided your CRN.

Companies House Service: You can search for your company's full name on the official database to find your CRN.

Accountant or Legal Advisor: If you've outsourced your company's financial or legal tasks, these professionals will have access to your CRN.

If you've lost or forgotten the company registration number There's no reason to be concerned. It can be found anywhere in the locations listed at the top of this article, such as:

● Certificate of incorporation

● The statutory mail that was sent to Companies House and HMRC

● Online via Companies House Service

How Do You Register for a Company Registration Number?

When you register your business at Companies House You will be given your company registration number. For this, you will need to submit a number of documents including your chosen company name as well as the UK address as the registered office.

You'll require Memorandum Association documents with all the names of the company's directors, and officers, and the way in which share capital is split between shareholders. If you'd rather outsource the paperwork to experts, you can outsource the company's formation to a firm like Pro Tax Accountant to do the job for you.

Registering for Taxes

Once you have your CRN, the next step is to register your company for taxes. You'll need your CRN for:

· Corporation Tax: You must register within three months of starting business activities.

· VAT: If your turnover exceeds the VAT threshold, you'll need to register for VAT.

· PAYE: If you employ staff, you'll need to set up a PAYE scheme for employee income tax and National Insurance contributions.

Dissolving a Company

If you decide to close your company, your CRN will be needed for the dissolution process. You'll have to submit a DS01 form to Companies House, and the CRN is required to verify your company's identity.

Outsourcing Company Formation

If the process of obtaining a CRN seems daunting, you can outsource this task to a company formation agent. These professionals handle all the paperwork and ensure that your company is set up in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements. They offer various packages tailored to your needs, from basic registration to additional services like VAT and PAYE setup.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining and managing a Company Registration Number is a critical aspect of running a business in the UK. From the moment you decide to start a company, your CRN becomes an integral part of your business identity. It's used in legal documents, financial transactions, and even your company's branding materials. Therefore, understanding its importance, how to get it, and how to use it effectively is crucial for your business's success.

Why Should You Use the Services of a Tax Accountant to Get Your Company Registration Number in the UK

Why Should You Use the Services of a Tax Accountant to Get Your Company Registration Number in the UK?

Expertise in Company Formation

Starting a business involves a labyrinth of legal and financial requirements, one of which is obtaining a Company Registration Number (CRN). Tax accountants are well-versed in the intricacies of company formation. They understand the types of documents needed, the registration process, and the legal obligations that come with starting a business. Their expertise can guide you through the maze, ensuring that you don't miss any crucial steps that could delay your business operations.


Time is a valuable resource, especially for new business owners who have to juggle multiple tasks. The process of obtaining a CRN involves filling out forms, submitting documents, and possibly even correcting errors if not done correctly the first time. A tax accountant can handle all these tasks efficiently, allowing you to focus on other vital aspects of your business, such as product development, marketing, and customer acquisition.

Financial Planning and Strategy

A tax accountant does more than just help you get your CRN; they can also assist in laying the financial groundwork for your business. This includes advising on the best business structure for tax purposes, planning for VAT registration, and setting up a robust accounting system. These early decisions are crucial for long-term financial health and can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Avoiding Legal Pitfalls

The UK has stringent regulations for businesses, and failing to comply can result in penalties or even legal action. A tax accountant will ensure that your company is registered according to the law, helping you avoid any legal pitfalls. They can also keep you updated on any changes in legislation that may affect your business, ensuring that you remain compliant.

Streamlined Process

Tax accountants often have established relationships with regulatory bodies like Companies House and HMRC. They know whom to contact for what, which forms to fill out, and how to expedite processes. This can be particularly beneficial if you're looking to get your business off the ground quickly. Their insider knowledge can help streamline the registration process, making it faster and more efficient.


While hiring a tax accountant involves an upfront cost, the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial investment. The time you save can be better spent on revenue-generating activities. Moreover, an accountant can help you take advantage of tax benefits you might not have been aware of, ultimately saving you money. They can also prevent costly mistakes in the registration process, such as selecting the wrong business structure or failing to register for certain taxes.

Peace of Mind

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of hiring a tax accountant is the peace of mind it offers. Knowing that a professional is handling your company's registration can alleviate the stress that often comes with starting a new business. You can rest easy, knowing that all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, leaving you free to focus on building a successful enterprise.

In short, while it's possible to handle the process of obtaining a Company Registration Number on your own, the advantages of hiring a tax accountant are manifold. From their expertise and time-saving capabilities to financial planning and legal compliance, the benefits are well worth the investment.

At PTA, we handle all documents and submit all relevant information in the form of Companies House in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements. PTA will ensure that your company is properly set up with no hassle. PTA offers a range of corporate formation packages that can be tailored to your requirements. Contact us now if you'd like to find out more about the process of forming your own business and what we can do to help.

40 Most Important FAQs about Company Registration Number

1. Q: What legal implications does a CRN have for a company?

A: The CRN legally identifies a company as a registered entity with Companies House, confirming its legal status and compliance with UK corporate law.

2. Q: Can a CRN be used for international business operations?

A: While primarily used within the UK, a CRN may be required when engaging in international trade or business to verify the company's legal existence.

3. Q: How is a CRN different from a VAT number?

A: A CRN identifies a registered company, while a VAT number is used for value-added tax purposes and is necessary for businesses above a certain turnover threshold.

4. Q: Is a CRN required for business insurance purposes?

A: Yes, insurers often require a CRN to provide business insurance, as it verifies the company's legal status.

5. Q: Can a CRN be suspended or revoked?

A: A CRN remains with a company for its entire legal existence and cannot be suspended or revoked unless the company is legally dissolved.

6. Q: Does a CRN change if a company undergoes restructuring?

A: No, a CRN remains the same regardless of company restructuring, including changes in management or business model.

7. Q: Is a CRN necessary for trademark registration?

A: While not mandatory, a CRN can be useful when registering a trademark as it establishes the company's legal identity.

8. Q: How does a CRN impact a company's credit rating?

A: A CRN itself does not impact credit rating, but it is used in credit assessments to verify the company's legal existence and history.

9. Q: Do non-profit organizations in the UK need a CRN?

A: Yes, non-profit organizations registered as companies must have a CRN.

10. Q: Can a sole proprietorship eventually get a CRN?

A: A sole proprietorship can obtain a CRN if it transitions to a company structure that requires registration with Companies House.

11. Q: Is a CRN required for opening a merchant account for online sales?

A: Yes, a CRN is typically required by payment processors when opening a merchant account for e-commerce activities.

12. Q: Can a CRN be used for legal contracts and agreements?

A: Yes, a CRN is often used in legal documents to formally identify the company.

13. Q: How does a CRN affect a company's tax obligations?

A: A CRN is used for identification in tax-related matters but does not directly impact tax obligations, which are determined by other factors like income and business activities.

14. Q: Is a CRN necessary for public listings or stock exchanges?

A: For companies looking to go public or list on a stock exchange, a CRN is a fundamental requirement as part of the legal documentation.

15. Q: How does a CRN relate to company audits?

A: Auditors use a CRN to verify the company's legal status and its registration details as part of the auditing process.

16. Q: Can a CRN be transferred if a company is sold?

A: No, a CRN is unique to each company and remains with it even if ownership changes.

17. Q: Is a CRN required for applying for government grants or loans?

A: Yes, a CRN is often needed when applying for government-funded grants or loans as proof of the company's legal status.

18. Q: How does a CRN affect GDPR compliance?

A: While a CRN does not directly relate to GDPR compliance, it is part of the company's legal identity, which is necessary for GDPR documentation.

19. Q: Can a CRN be used as a reference in legal disputes?

A: Yes, a CRN can be referenced in legal disputes to identify the company involved.

20. Q: Is a CRN necessary for business expansions or franchising?

A: A CRN is essential for businesses expanding or franchising, as it confirms their legal status and registration with Companies House.

21. Q: Can I find my company registration number on my business bank statements? A: No, company registration numbers are typically not included on business bank statements.

22. Q: Is the company registration number displayed on my business insurance policy? A: Yes, most business insurance policies will list the company registration number.

23. Q: How can I find my company registration number if my business is a charity? A: Charities registered as companies can find their CRN on their registration certificate from the Charity Commission or on the Companies House website.

24. Q: Are there any mobile apps to find company registration numbers in the UK? A: Yes, there are mobile apps provided by Companies House where you can search for company registration numbers.

25. Q: Can a company change its registration number if it relocates within the UK?

A: No, a company's registration number remains the same regardless of its location within the UK.

26. Q: Is the company registration number included in the articles of association?

A: No, the company registration number is not typically included in the articles of association.

27. Q: How do I find the registration number of a dissolved company?

A: You can find the registration number of a dissolved company by searching the Companies House database.

28. Q: Do business licenses in the UK display the company registration number?

A: It depends on the license, but generally, business licenses do not display the company registration number.

29. Q: Is the company registration number required for customs declarations in international trade?

A: Yes, the company registration number is often required for customs declarations in international trade.

30. Q: Can a company registration number be used to verify a business's creditworthiness?

A: No, the company registration number alone cannot verify creditworthiness; credit agencies use additional information for this.

31. Q: How long after incorporation is the company registration number assigned? A: The company registration number is assigned immediately upon successful incorporation.

32. Q: Can I find my company registration number in public business directories?

A: Yes, public business directories often list company registration numbers.

33. Q: Is the company registration number needed for filing patents or trademarks? A: While not mandatory, it can be beneficial to include your company registration number when filing for patents or trademarks.

34. Q: How can I confirm the authenticity of a company registration number?

A: You can confirm the authenticity by searching the number on the Companies House website.

35. Q: Do I need my company registration number for GDPR data protection registration?

A: Yes, your company registration number is typically required for GDPR data protection registration.

36. Q: Can a freelancer without a registered company have a company registration number?

A: No, freelancers who operate without registering as a company do not have a company registration number.

37. Q: Is a company registration number required for employment contracts?

A: It's not mandatory, but including it on employment contracts can add an official touch.

38. Q: Can a company registration number be used to check a company's tax history? A: No, the company registration number alone cannot be used to check tax history; HMRC uses other identifiers for tax records.

39. Q: How do I find the registration number of a foreign company operating in the UK? A: Foreign companies operating in the UK must register with Companies House, where their CRN can be found.

40. Q: Is a company registration number required for environmental or health and safety registrations?

A: Yes, it's often required for such registrations to establish the legal identity of the business.



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