Limited Companies SIC codes
Updated August 2016.
SIC stands for Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities. This is designed to classify Limited companies by their type of business activity. A new version of the SIC codes was introduced on the 1st January 2008.
It is compulsory that each UK registered company has SIC codes, or at least one SIC code for their business. This is the code that essentially describes what sort of business the company conducts and it must be registered to Companies House. each company selects one or more codes that reflects the nature of their business from an official list of codes.
Your SIC codes(s) are the way Companies House and other official bodies can identify what companies actually do and is also a way to sort each company into a business category that is relevant for their sector or niche. Your company’s SIC code classification is listed on the public record so anyone can look up what sort of business you are.
Each SIC code is sorted into trade or business sectors and grouped together in similar trade classifications, so for example if your company is a market garden type operation you may fall under the ‘Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing’ group. Within this group there are 40 different SIC codes that apply to different aspects of the sector, such as ‘growing of cereal crops’, ‘raising dairy cattle’ through to ‘marine fishing’.
Some of the trade classification categories can go from the sublime to the ridiculous and can be very specific. However strange some of the SIC code descriptions sound they make perfect sense to those in that particular industry. Silviculture, anyone? (the growing and cultivation of trees).
Can my company have more than one SIC code?
Most companies will choose a single SIC code that best reflects the type of business they conduct, but if necessary you can choose up to four different SIC codes should your business require them. Some companies can be quite complex in structure and may specialise in more than one area.
Does every new company need a SIC code?
As of the 30th June 2016, every UK registered company needs to have at least one SIC code. You will need one when forming a new company and it should be a code that best describes the business activity that you plan to carry out. Companies House will reject any new company formation requests unless a valid SIC code is included with the application.
SIC codes will only need to be included in a company’s confirmation statement if they have been changed during the year or since they submitted their last confirmation statement. A company may have been formed with one SIC code but then added further codes if the business changed in any way, such as diversifying what they produce or expanding their company and changing their operations.
A company that was formed before 30th June 2016 that has not yet submitted their confirmation statement, then their SIC codes will need to be submitted along with their first confirmation statement – but not in later returns, unless more SIC codes are added.
For businesses who have already sent in their confirmation statement, the only time they will need to report their SIC codes again is if any of them are changed or more codes added, but this does not need to be reported immediately. It is perfectly fine to report these changes with the next confirmation statement.
To take a look at the current list of SIC codes that are available click here.
If you are yet to form your company you may be confused about which SIC code or codes you should select. You don’t want to get your choice wrong after all! Don’t worry too much because Companies House are pretty understanding and as yet have never taken any action against a company that made a wrong initial choice. Sometimes there will not be a SIC code that perfectly matches what your company does, so it is fine to choose something as close to your industry as you can from the available list.
Since the introduction of SIC codes and publication of the original list of codes, there have been revisions published in 1958, 1968, 1980, 1992, 1997, 2003, and 2007. There are likely to be more revisions as the business world continues to evolve and new business categories added to the list.
If the whole idea of SIC codes still seems confusing for you, or you would like some helpful advice and guidance about which SIC code fits the best with your type of business, do not hesitate to contact us for our help!
Your Virtual Office London are leading experts in company formations, we have helped thousands of small businesses take the jump from sole trader to Limited Company. Forming a company can be difficult if you are unsure of the full process.