Everything You Need to Know About SIC Codes and Choosing the Correct Codes for Your Company
SIC Codes are vital to the initial registering of your limited company, and to the filing of your Confirmation Statement (CS01). As we noted in our Confirmation Statement Filing Guide, you are able to change or add a SIC code to your company during the filing of your Confirmation Statement.
But what are SIC codes? And how do you know which one/s your company needs to use? Here’s our guide to understanding this important classification system.
What Are SIC Codes?
SIC codes, or Standard Industrial Classification Codes, are five-digit numbers used on your company’s public record to label what kind of company you are, and what your company does. SIC codes define and classify your company into its industry and trade type.
This system of coding was first developed in the United States in 1937, but is now adapted and used across the world. Companies House uses a condensed version of the full, US list of codes. It’s important for UK companies only to use SIC codes from the Companies House approved condensed list on their application or Confirmation Statement, or your filing may be rejected.
Your company only needs one SIC code, but you can select up to four if your company covers multiple trades or industries, or if you feel one code doesn’t provide adequate description of your company. All companies need at least one SIC Code, including dormant or non-trading companies.
SIC codes are a five-digit classification system, designed to define what trade or industry a company operates within. For UK companies, SIC codes need to come from the Companies House condensed list. A company can use up to four codes to describe themselves.
When Do You Need a SIC Code?
A SIC Code is required both for your initial application to Companies House when establishing a limited company, and for each subsequent Confirmation Statement that you file. Confirmation Statement filings are required at least once a year.
How to Choose the Right SIC Code/s
Identify Your Trade
Identifying your trade is the first step in finding your SIC Code/s. And while identifying your trade could seem like a simple task, it could be a bit more complex, depending on your individual company and the range of products or services you offer.
If your company has a single identifiable trade, great! Your job selecting a SIC Code will be made easier. If, however, your company has multiple types of products/services on offer, compile a short list of its main trades, to help you in the next stage of choosing the right SIC Code(s) for you.
Navigate the List: SIC Code Categories
The Companies House condensed SIC Code list is broken up into 21 categories, from A to U, of broad trade types. Within these categories, there are individual SIC codes that define a more specific area of each trade type. Identifying the broader area that your company fits within will allow you to much more quickly find the appropriate SIC code.
The 21 categories are:
A: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
B: Mining and Quarrying
D: Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
E: Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
G: Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
H: Transportation and storage
I: Accommodation and food service activities
J: Information and Communication
K: Financial and insurance activities
L: Real estate activities
M: Professional, scientific and technical activities
N: Administrative and support service activities
O: Public administration and defense; compulsory social security
Q: Human health and social work activities
R: Arts, entertainment and recreation
S: Other service activities
T: Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods/services and producing activities of households for own use
U: Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies
If you are having trouble identifying the category your company fits within, the Companies House condensed SIC Code list also includes a search feature that allows you to enter keywords regarding your company’s trade and, using these keywords, will suggest relevant codes for you.
Dormant and non-trading companies have specific SIC codes also; dormant companies’ SIC Code is 99999, and non-trading companies’ SIC Code is 74990.
Companies House’s SIC Codes list is broken into 21 sections according to broad trade type; identifying which section(s) your company fits within will speed up the process of finding your relevant SIC Code(s).
Why Have More Than One SIC Code?
There are many reasons for your limited company to have multiple SIC Codes. It’s perfectly fine to do so if you find that your company’s trade cannot be defined by a single SIC Code.
If your company’s income is split between multiple trades, this would justify the use of multiple SIC Codes – for example, if your company is a garden centre with an internal cafe.
Your company may also operate several subsidiary brand names under your one main company’s umbrella. Multiple SIC Codes would be appropriate in this case.
Multiple SIC Codes can be applied to your limited company, if the nature of your trade is unable to be classified by a single code. Remember, though, that up to four codes can be used – no more than four!
How to Change Your SIC Code
You may find that your company’s business changes over time, or become involved in different trades. In this case, you’ll need to change your SIC Code/s correspondingly.
SIC Codes can be changed upon filing your Confirmation Statement (read how to do this here.) The filing of a Confirmation Statement is typically annual, but if you are in need of changing your SIC Codes, or indeed any other information that the Confirmation Statement is responsible for changing, it can be filed at any point, without any additional charge to your annual fee.
SIC Codes can be changed at any point through the filing of a Confirmation Statement, so don’t worry if your company changes and you need to alter its classification.
SIC Codes are five-digit numbers used to classify your company and its trade. There is a unique SIC Code for whatever business your company is involved in. Your company must use at least one SIC Code, but if the nature of your company’s trade requires, you can select up to four codes. Every company needs a SIC Code; there are specific codes for dormant and non-trading companies too.
SIC Codes used by Companies House are broken up into 21 categories, to enable you to sort through them more easily and select the appropriate code/s for your company. Furthermore, SIC Codes are reported to Companies House upon the application for the registration of your company, and in every Confirmation Statement you subsequently file. Codes can be changed if necessary within the filing of a Confirmation Statement.
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