While every conscientious business will naturally wish to be secretive about much of the information it shares with the outside world, there are certain details that it must divulge.

We are referring here to the legal obligation of all companies to make “trading disclosures” by virtue of the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015, made under the Companies Act 2006.

It is easy to comply with such requirements, but companies nonetheless often fail to do so.

What is the purpose of this disclosure requirement?

The need for a company to disclose details about itself helps to ensure its identity and location are common knowledge. This allows those dealing with the company to track it down at Companies House, take any necessary legal action against it and scrutinise its statutory records.

Such disclosures also provide a measure of protection to those running the company, by making clear to third parties its limited liability status that prevents the directors and shareholders from being sued personally.

What details must be present on your company’s website?

Your company’s website is required to state a range of information. This includes not only the full registered name of the company – which may differ from its trading name – but also whether the company is permitted to omit ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ from its name, and the fact that it is a limited company.

Furthermore, it has to be clear from your organisation’s website in which part of the UK the company is registered, and the company registration number and full registered office address must also be communicated.

All of this information should be easy to find – for example, on the homepage – although it doesn’t have to be visible on every page.

Your company is also allowed to name its directors on its website if it wishes to do so. However, if you decide to do this, the list must be complete and up to date. Your firm’s paid-up share capital may also be stated here. However, it’s rare for companies to include this optional information on its site, not least given the potential need to regularly update it.

Nor does this requirement only apply to websites

Companies must also include the same information on all of the letters and other documents that they produce, whether sent out electronically or as hard copies.

Compliance with this requirement is relatively easy to achieve if you simply incorporate these details into your company’s standard pre-printed letterhead and email templates.

What about if your company isn’t incorporated?

If you are a sole trader using a business name other than your surname, or your business is a partnership with a name that does not include the names of all of its partners, you are subject to a similar requirement to disclose an address for service in the UK and your name.

In the case of partnerships, the name of each partner must be disclosed, although if there are more than 20 partners, a full list can be kept at the main office instead.

Don’t infringe this vital law

As easy a requirement as it is to overlook, you shouldn’t breach the trading disclosures requirements that apply to your own organisation. Doing so is a criminal offence, with fines of up to £1,000 able to be imposed, plus a daily fine of up to £100 if the infringement is not rectified.

Not only can your company and its directors be open to prosecution if you fall foul of this law, but the company could also suffer implications if it has to take legal action to enforce a contract. Another party being put at a disadvantage due to your company’s failure to make the appropriate disclosures could lead to the dismissal of your company’s claim.

As you can see, this isn’t the most complicated of requirements for a company to comply with, but not doing so can certainly have very real consequences.

Don’t hesitate, then, to ensure your own company is on the right side of the law in this regard, turning to London Registrars if necessary to take advantage of our expertise in limited company incorporation, corporate compliance and other aspects of operating a business.

June 2019