sic-code-2 | Capital Office

All about the SIC code

A SIC code (standard industrial classification) is what details a company’s chief business activity – every company chooses from the official SIC list, the role of their company and selects the appropriate code. It is to identify companies and to categorise them using an efficient system.

SIC codes are sorted into a classification system. For example, “Forestry and Fisheries’ have a group, and there are forty separate SIC codes within this section, right through to the “growth of citrus fruit”!

Where did the UK SIC code originate, and what do they do it for?

This code system began in 1937, in the United States. The UK system was founded in 1948, and known as the Standard Industrial Classification. The industry classification has had to keep ahead of changes in the UK employment and industry structure. From the start of the original list, there have been alterations made in almost every decade since 1958.

The main difference in the recent changes is that now the UK codes run comparatively with the UN and EU standard systems. One obvious distinction is that there are now five digits to the code, whereas in 2003, there were only four. From October, 2011 this ‘new’ code list from 2007 is necessary for every company to use.

In an attempt to classify the kinds of activities assumed by the nation`s businesses, there are now more than a hundred SIC codes. With other agencies, the National Statistics Office collects and publishes data formulated on the type of classification: for example, revenue figures to enable comparison between the multitude of other industries and jobs. The company SIC code and others are available to all.

When do I need a SIC code?

As you initially set up a company, you do not need to show a SIC code immediately. The first annual return is when most businesses need to have the code.

One SIC code is needed from 28 days of your company submitting the annual return. If you include an invalid SIC code, Companies House will decline the form and you will be asked to submit it again.

At all future annual tax returns, SIC codes have to still be incorporated, even if the code remains the same. Should the company expand its operations or change business type, then it would probably come under a new category and SIC code.
The company does not need to explain this to Companies House at the time of change – only when the annual return is to be submitted.

Most companies feel that a single category best describes their business. Although, you can select to do this type with up to four codes, so that a variety of businesses, or an especially complex one can honestly describe the company.

What is my code?

The fact is, most company owners won`t be thinking about SIC codes every day. You probably won`t have heard of one, if your company is a new one. If your annual return is complete, the information that you need should be included on it, or contact Companies House to get the full details.

Finally, don`t worry or lose sleep over how you choose to categorise your company. No action will be taken against you for this – sometimes there might just not be the ideal section, so simply opt for the nearest one you think is right for you.

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