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The Reasons Why A Company Registration Is Rejected

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Starting a company is an exciting time for any business owner. But before you start trading, you need to register your company with Companies House.

Unfortunately, Companies House can reject applications if they are deemed unacceptable for any number of reasons. If you’re unsure of the reasons why your application could be rejected, or what you can do to avoid rejection, this post aims to highlight the common reasons for rejection by Companies House.

Problems with the company name

It’s not just the case that you’ve thought of a cool name for your company and you want to start using it straight away, Companies House needs to approve of the name. Companies House will reject a name on four main grounds.

1. The name is offensive

While it’s considered funny to have a play on words such as “Fit As Fork Ltd”, it can lead to your application being rejected as offensive.

Because everyone judges what’s offensive differently, Companies House are careful in its judgements of what could be deemed offensive. In 2021, a freedom of information request revealed that Companies House had rejected 800 potentially offensive names between 2019 and 2021, which shows they are actively monitoring the proposed company names.

2. The name is too similar to one that’s already registered

When you apply to register a new company, you need to ensure the company name is unique. If the proposed name is the same as, or similar to an existing company, your application will be rejected. 

There are two reasons Companies House can reject your name for being too similar:

  • Same as - in these cases, your proposed company name has been judged to be the same as one already registered. Unfortunately, adding words or punctuation isn’t enough to make it different. For example, “Company Wizard Ltd” could be judged as the same as “The Company Wizard UK Ltd”.
  • Too like - in these cases, the name is too broadly similar to one that’s already been registered. For example, “Company Wizard Ltd” may be judged to be the same as “The Co Wiz Ltd.”

You may be allowed to use names similar to ones already registered, although you will need to provide evidence from the original company that they give you permission to use the name; typically, this is done if both companies are part of the same group, for example.

If you’re unsure whether the company name you want to use is registered, try using our Company Name Check Tool.

3. The name contains a sensitive word

Sensitive words and phrases are different from offensive words; these are words and phrases that you need prior approval from Companies House before you can use them. 

For example, they contain words representing a regulated activity or making it seem like you have a connection with the government.

For the full list of these 134 words and phrases and how you can gain permission to use them, check out the Companies House website.

4. The name doesn’t include “Ltd” or similar

While it might sound obvious that your company name will include “Ltd”, “Limited”, “Cyfyngedig”, or “Cyf”, you need to include this suffix during the registration. If you fail to include it, your application will be rejected.

There are times you don’t have to use one of these, such as if you’re registering a charity; for a full list of the reasons, check out the Companies House website.

Problems with the registered address

Empty boardroom to show there's a problem with the address

Although the application could have passed with the business name you have chosen, there could be other problems with the application due to the registered address you are attempting to use. There are three main problems with the registered address which could mean your application will be rejected.

1. The registered address is in the wrong jurisdiction

If you’re attempting to register a company in England, your registered address needs to be in England; otherwise, Companies House will reject the application. 

For example, if you’re attempting to register a company in Wales, but your registered address is in Scotland, your application will be rejected.

2. Attempting to use a PO Box as a registered address

As of March 2024, your registered address needs to be an “appropriate address”, which means you cannot use a PO Box as a registered address.

3. The registered address is not in the UK

If you attempt to use a registered address that’s anywhere other than England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales, your application will be rejected. 

Although this doesn’t mean you can’t register a UK company if you’re based elsewhere, contact us to find out more about our non-resident options, such as a virtual address and mail forwarding options.

Problems with company officer details

Hand holding a pen, filling out paperwork

When providing details for your company officers, you need to ensure the details are accurate. There are four issues which can arise from the officer's details.

1. Problems with their residential address

When providing the details of the company officers, you need to provide their home address. If you provide a business address as their home address, the application will be rejected by Companies House.

If you do not want to provide your home address, due to an issue such as a threat of violence, you can apply for a Section 243 Exemption. However, you will need to provide supporting evidence which details why you should be entitled to the exemption. Failure to provide the supporting evidence means Companies House will reject your application.

2. Using initials instead of the director’s full name

In the application, you need to provide the full legal name of the director. If you use an initial, the application will be rejected.

However, there may be cases where the full legal name of the officer does contain an initial, such as Johnny B. Goode. If this is the case, you need to provide supporting evidence of the initial being the full legal name.

3. Directors being underage

Company directors must be at least 16 years of age.

4. The application doesn’t include “natural directors”

If you attempt to register a company with only another company as a director, your application will be rejected by Companies House.

Every company must have at least one human or “natural” director.

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