Standard industrial classification code - What is a SIC code?
A standard industrial classification code, or SIC code, is a 5 digit number that identifies a business’s activities. There are over 600 SIC codes in the UK which are used by Companies House and The Office for National Statistics (ONS) to group companies by their industry and trade activities.
Are you a sole trader considering transitioning into a limited company? Learn more about the process of incorporating your business.
Companies House uses SIC codes to track the number of businesses operating in each industry, and to identify any trends.
Why do I need a SIC code?
When you register a new business with Companies House, you will need to select at least one SIC code that describes the nature of your business. Most companies choose one SIC code, but you can select up to 4 if your business engages in a variety of activities.
Your business will need to confirm or update your SIC code every year on your confirmation statement. Only limited companies or limited liability partnerships need to select a SIC code and submit a confirmation statement. Sole traders and other partnerships are not required to do so.
How to find your SIC code
If you have already registered your business with Companies House, you will be able to view your previously selected SIC code from the Companies House website. If you search for your company name or company registration number (CRN), you will be able to find the SIC code(s) assigned to your business.
If you want to search for UK SIC codes, you can use the condensed SIC code list on the Companies House website. It is quite a long list so unless you know what to search for, it might take you some time to find the code you are looking for.
SIC code format
The SIC code list is divided into 21 sections (A, B, C, D, etc.) each relating to a different industry, for instance, entertainment, health, and education. Within each section, there are multiple SIC codes that each relate to a more specific trading activity. All SIC codes are 5 digits long.
For instance, restaurant businesses would be included in section I (Accommodation and food service activities), in which the SIC code 56101 is used for licenced restaurants, and 56202 is used for unlicenced restaurants.
As another example, section F of the list is dedicated to construction, where you can select a specific code that relates to the type of construction services your business provides.
Can I change my company’s SIC code?
If you choose the incorrect SIC code, or your business activity has changed, you can update your SIC code when you file your next confirmation statement. If you’d prefer to make the change immediately, you can file your confirmation statement early from the Companies House website.
If your company stops trading or is dormant, you will need to change your SIC code to reflect this. Dormant companies can use the code 99999, and companies who are not trading can use the code 74990.