Stationery Legislation

Legal information to include on your stationery

Apart from your company name and address, include all telephone landline numbers, fax machine number, email and website address, if applicable. It’s also advisable to include a mobile phone number on your business card, and even home telephone numbers, depending on the nature of the business.

There are also a number of legal requirements, depending on the type of business you run.

There is no requirement for sole traders to register a business name. They can trade under their own names or choose a different business name. However, if as a sole trader you choose something other than your own name for the business, you will have to include your own name and the business address on all business letters, orders and receipts. Invoices must state your VAT registration number if applicable.

Partnerships must state on letters, orders, invoices and receipts the names of all partners and the address of the principal office or alternatively indicate where a list of partners may be inspected. Invoices must state your VAT registration number if applicable.

Limited companies must show the name of the company, the country of registration, the company registration number, the address of the registered office and the address of its place of business, if different. There is no need to list the names of the company directors, but if you do, all must be shown. Invoices must show at least the company name and VAT number if applicable.

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.

1. Where must the company name be displayed?
Every company must paint or affix its name on the outside of every office or place in which its business is carried on – even if it is a director’s home. The name must be kept painted or affixed and it must be both conspicuous and legible.

2. On which documents must the company name be shown?
The company must state its name, in legible lettering, on the following:

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.

3. Must the company show any other details?
Yes. On all its business letters and order forms the company must show in legible lettering:

Its place of registration and its registered number. The place of registration must be one of the following, as appropriate:
For companies registered in England and Wales:

Registered in Cardiff
Registered in England and Wales
Registered in England
Registered in London
Registered in Wales

For companies registered in Scotland:

Registered in Scotland
Registered in Edinburgh

The address of the registered office. If a business letter or order form mentions more than one address, it is recommended that you state which is the registered office address.

4. Must directors’ names be shown?
A company does not have to state the directors’ names on its business letters but, if it chooses to do so it must state the names of all its directors. In other words a company cannot be selective about which directors’ names it shows – it must show all of them or none of them.

5. Must anything else be shown?
Certain categories of company must also state the following additional information 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, 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.

6. Are there special rules for charitable companies?
Under section 68 of the Charities Act 1993, a charitable company whose name does not include the word ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ must state the fact that it is a charity on all the documents listed under question 2, in all bills it sends and on any conveyances it executes.
Section 68 does not require a charitable company to include the word ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ in its name.
The Charities Act 1993 does not apply to charitable companies registered in Scotland but the same rule applies to Scottish companies under section 112(6) of the Companies Act 1989.

7. Do the rules apply to overseas companies?
A company incorporated outside Great Britain which opens a branch or place of business in Great Britain must be registered and must give similar details to those stated in this chapter. Full details are listed in the Companies House booklet, ‘Overseas Companies’.

The information printed above is meant as a guide only and it is suggested you visit the Companies House website for full up-to-date information.
The information given above is reproduced under the Crown copyright guidelines as provided at Companies House website:- http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk