We recently discussed updated Companies House guidance that provides advice on checking which names are acceptable to Companies House when naming a company. HMRC also published guidance for choosing a company name when setting up a private limited company. There are different rules for sole traders and business partnerships.
HMRC suggests that some of the important points to consider when deciding on a company name include:
- The name of the company must end with ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ or the Welsh equivalents ‘Cyfyngedig’ and ‘Cyf’ if registered in Wales.
- The name of the company can’t be the same or too similar as another registered company’s name.
- ‘Same as’ names include, those where the only difference to an existing name is certain punctuation, certain special characters, a word or character that’s similar in appearance or meaning to another from the existing name or a word, or character used commonly in UK company names.
- ‘Too like’ names where someone complains, and Companies House agrees it’s ‘too like’ a name registered before yours.
- You can trade using a different name to your registered name. This is known as a ‘business name’ and there are certain rules that must be followed
- There are also limits for some sensitive words or expressions. For example, a word or expression that may cause criminal offence or that suggest a connection with government or local authorities (without permission). This includes names that could be taken to cause criminal offence.