Letterheads – legal requirements
What is the correct information to put on a company stationery?
First of all: All company’s including sole traders must be registered with HMRC. You can do that here.
Company stationery legal requirements are thankfully simple to implement but they do vary by the type of business you intend to run. Do not be tempted to omit anything, it has a habit to come back and bite.
Under the Companies Act 1985 your company must state its name. As it appears in its memorandum of association. In certain places and on its business stationery. Your company must also give certain information on all its business letters and order forms.
- Your full registered company name.
- The company registration number and place of registration.
- The company registered address and the address of its place of business, if different.
- There is no need to include the names of the directors on the letterhead for a limited company, but if you choose to name directors all directors must be named.
- Most letterheads also include a telephone, email, fax number, a url for the business’ website and an email address.
Certain businesses must also state the following on their business letters and order forms:
- For an investment company (as defined by section 266 of the Companies Act 1985) that it is such a company.
- For a company exempt from using the word ‘limited’ in its name, that it is a limited company.
- For a company with share capital, it is not necessary to state the share capital on stationary but if the company chooses to do so, the paid-up share capital rather than the authorised capital must be stated.
- Charitable companies whose name excludes the words ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ must state the fact that it is a charity on its stationary.
- If you are a charity, you must also include the company’s charity number.
Where must the company name be displayed?
On which documents must the company name be shown?
- All the company’s business letters.
- All its notices and other official publications.
- All bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to besigned by, or on behalf of, the company.
- All its bills of parcels, invoices, receipts and letters of credit.
- All electronic data.
Must the company show any other details?
- Its place of registration and its registered number. The place of registration must be one of the following, as appropriate:
Company stationery legal requirements for companies registered in England and Wales:
- Registered in Cardiff
- Registered in England and Wales
- Registered in England
- Registered in London
- Registered in Wales
Company stationery legal requirements for companies registered in Scotland:
- Registered in Scotland
- Registered in Edinburgh
Must directors’ names be shown?
Must anything else be shown?
- For an investment company (as defined by section 266 of the Companies Act 1985), that it is such a company
- For a company exempt from using the word ‘limited’ in its name, the fact that it is a limited company.
- For a company with share capital, it is not necessary to state the share capital on stationery but, if the company chooses to do so, it must state its paid-up share capital, not its authorised capital.
Companies registered in the UK are now required to list their company registration number, place of registration, and registered office address on their company website.
Companies registered in the UK are now required to list their company registration number, place of registration, and registered office address in email footers.
Are there special rules for charitable companies?
You must include your charity number on all documentation
Do the rules apply to overseas companies?
Final Note: All information on all company stationery must be at a point size that is readable, if you make it so small it is difficult to read with the naked eye then it will be deemed as illegal.
First drafted 2009/2014. Updated June 2020