New companies incorporating on Companies House will need to register a SIC code which describes the company’s main business activities. As an entrepreneur or company director, choosing the right SIC code may seem like a daunting task as there are over 600 to choose from. This article explains what SIC codes are, how to choose one for your new business and additional tips for keeping your SIC codes up-to-date as you grow your business.
What are SIC codes?
A Standard industrial classification code (SIC code) is a five-digit code which describes a company’s economic activities. These codes help the Office for National Statistics (ONS) track the state and growth of UK companies. Entrepreneurs incorporating limited companies on Companies House will need to choose at least one code from the condensed list of SIC codes. You will need to provide the appropriate SIC code to companies house even if you have a dormant company (99999) or non-trading companies (74990).
Companies House SIC codes are organised into 21 sections which are listed below:
- 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 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
The current classification of SIC codes was set by the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 2007 (UK SIC 2007) and the full list of SIC codes you can choose from can be found on the companies house website. The 21 sections help classify economic activities where trade activities take place when resources such as capital goods, labour, manufacturing techniques or intermediary products are combined to produce specific goods or services.
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How do you set a SIC code?
SIC codes are set when you register a limited company on Companies House or via a confirmation statement after a company has been incorporated. A company can choose multiple SIC codes if they are engaged in multiple or specialised trading activities. If you are not sure about which SIC code to choose for your new business, you can search the companies house register and compare your shortlisted SIC codes with those of a company offering similar services than you.
How do I find a company's SIC code?
When you search a company by its company name or registration number on the companies house website you will find its relevant SIC code listed on the company overview page under “Nature of the business”. The following example shows that Legislate’s SIC code is 62090 - Other information technology service activities.
How do you change a SIC code?
If you provide the wrong SIC code when you set up your company, or your main business activities change after company formation, you can update your SIC code when you file your next confirmation statement. You must file a confirmation statement (previously annual return) at lease once a year but if you need to change your SIC code immediately, you can file a confirmation statement early. Filing a confirmation statement early will start a new 12 month review period. You can file your confirmation statement with Companies House on gov.uk.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.