Once you register a company, advisably through a company formations agent who will comprehensively manage all necessary communication with Companies House and remedy start-up teething issues, you’ll be met with a plethora of important numbers and codes. One of these important digits will be your SIC code.
This article will explain all you need to know about this all-important code.
The Definition of a SIC Code
A SIC code is a Standard Industrial Classification code. Originating from the U.S. in the early 20th century, a SIC code is a five-digit code that is used to classify industries. SIC business codes are used for the same purpose by Companies House and the Office for National Statistics uses SIC business codes to gather important data. The ONS describes SIC codes as:
“The UK standard industrial classification of economic activities, abbreviated as UK SIC, is a 5-digit classification providing the framework for collecting and presenting a large range of statistical data according to economic activity.”
SIC business codes define and categorise the activities of a company and are the result of a continuous effort to form a comprehensive list of all existing types of businesses in the UK.
How Are Trade Groups Classified?
Presently, there are over 600 unique SIC codes. This information helps to track the number of companies operating in various industries, identify business trends, and monitor the strength of various parts of the UK economy.
Companies House website displays a condensed version of the full codes (as found at the Office for National Statistics). The SIC business codes are classified into trade groups and subsequently, full classifications are provided within every trade group.
Codes under “Section A” fall under the trade description of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. Within this heading you will find trades such as “Growing of rice” (SIC business code: 01120) and “Plant propagation” (SIC business code: 01300).
Where Do You Find a SIC Business Code?
The relevant SIC codes can be found by searching the condensed list of SIC codes from Companies House website — follow the link of “condensed version of the full address” above as you must use the codes on this list when filing to Companies House.
If your company is using an earlier SIC business code from the previous 2003 version of codes, you’ll need to search the SIC Conversion Table to locate the 2007 version. You must provide the new code on your next confirmation statement. Find out more about your confirmation statement and Companies House requirements here.
What Are the SIC Code Categories?
There are 21 main industry categories/groups on the condensed list of SIC codes, with a number of SIC codes within each category representing specific trade activities related to that industry. The main categories are:
Section A: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Section B: Mining and Quarrying
Section C: Manufacturing
Section D: Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
Section E: Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
Section F: Construction
Section G: Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
Section H: Transportation and storage
Section I: Accommodation and food service activities
Section J: Information and Communication
Section K: Financial and insurance activities
Section L: Real estate activities
Section M: Professional, scientific and technical activities
Section N: Administrative and support service activities
Section O: Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
Section P: Education
Section Q: Human health and social work activities
Section R: Arts, entertainment and recreation
Section S: Other service activities
Section T: Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods- and services- producing activities of households for own use
Section U: Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies
Can You Change Your SIC Business Code?
Your SIC business code can be changed if your main business and trading activities change. Simply locate the relevant SIC business code from the condensed list from Companies House (or the Conversion Table if your code precedes the 2007 list). Once retrieved from Companies House, you must add it on your next confirmation statement.
When Would You Need SIC Business Code?
The use of a SIC business code arises in the course of the Annual Return filing process. The SIC business code must be inputted in the relevant section when filing your annual return with Companies House.
One SIC code is normally sufficient for most companies, but you may need to select up to four SIC codes to comprehensively describe the nature of your company’s business activities — this is common for companies with more specialised or unique activities.
SIC codes have to be confirmed/updated each year on the Confirmation Statement. Note: your SIC codes, along with other key company details, will be displayed on public record at Companies House.
For more information about obtaining a SIC code, or for any related assistance with setting up a company and registering a business address, contact Your Virtual Office London, today.