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Companies House SIC codes explained

27th November 2017

Everything you need to know about SIC Codes:

The United Kingdom Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC) is used to categorize business formations and other typical units by the type of economic activity in which they are engaged. The new version of these codes (SIC 2007) was adopted by the UK as from 1st January 2008. With the agreement of the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Companies House uses a condensed version of the full list of codes available from ONS. Please be aware that only the codes made available on the condensed Companies House list below can be used on the Annual Return. Codes used from other sources than the Companies House list may mean your document is rejected, and your filing delayed. Even if your company is dormant (99999) or non-trading (74990) this still has to be indicated by using the appropriate SIC code
SIC is a code which classifies what industry that businesses previously belonged to was required to complete the annual return. SIC codes are split into trade groups. More detailed classifications are given within each trade group. Within that group individual codes are assigned to businesses depending on what they do. In 2011 Companies House moved from using four digits SIC 2003 codes to revised five digits SIC 2007 codes. Without the SIC code then the annual return could not be filled because before a company would file its annual return it was required to state the SIC code.

Below is the SIC Codes list of classifications and what areas they fall into.

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 I Accommodation and food service activities
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

Changing your SIC Code:

The SIC code is a five-digit number that categorises a company’s nature of business and can be more than one code. The code is primarily chosen by the company when it files an annual return. Once a company has a chosen a code the only way to go about changing the code is either wait to file your return when it is due or file an early return. A company is not required to give a reason as to why they would like to change their SIC code. The annual return enables companies to change their SIC code for absolutely any reason. There’s no legal requirement for a business to change their SIC code before they submit their annual return.
The main reasons as to why you would change your code would be:

  • You entered the incorrect code when your business was formed. This is easier to do when the business carries out multiple activities and already acquires more than one code, which is due to the company codes being indefinite.
  • The activities you provide as a business has expanded meaning that new codes are to be incorporated into your business (each company is allowed a maximum of four codes).
  • Your principle business has changed.
For more information read our article on how to change your SIC code or check out our fully searchable UK SIC codes list.


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