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The words ‘charity’, ‘charities’, ‘charity’s’ or ‘charitable’ are considered ‘sensitive’ for use in a company name and you are legally required to obtain permission from the Charity Commission (England and Wales) or the Office of the Scottish Charities Registrar (OSCR) before Companies House will register a private company limited by guarantee with a name that includes any of these words. You will be required to make a formal request to the Charity Commission or OSCR to register as a charity in order to use any of these words in your company name. If and when your requests are approved, you should file the evidentiary documents with Companies House and your limited company will then be legally registered in your chosen name with charitable status.

Choosing a name

The name of your charity is extremely important and it must be clearly distinguishable from the name of any other charity to avoid any confusion. The name will be displayed on any literature and fundraising material your organisation uses to raise awareness, support, and funding and it must be unique and unambiguous to avoid misleading members of the public. It is also important to ensure the name will not be misconstrued or cause any offence, as this could be detrimental to the organisation and other related charities.

In the same manner used by Companies House to check proposed company names, the Charity Commission and OSCR will check and compare any new charity name against the existing register of charities. If your proposed name is ‘the same as’ or ‘too similar’ to another charity name, it is unlikely you will be allowed to use it for the reasons previously mentioned. To avoid wasting any valuable time during your registration application, you can carry out your own name-check before setting up your charity using the online Register of Charities (England and Wales) or the Scottish Charity Register.

Registering with Companies House

Once you have obtained permission from the Charity Commission or OSCR that your company name may include any of the aforementioned sensitive words, Companies House will issue the Certificate of Incorporation for your private company limited by guarantee. Companies House requires a new company has at least one director, aged 16 or above, and at least one guarantor, however, a limited company wishing to apply for charitable status will require 3 members and 2 director / trustees. You will also require a registered office address in the country your company will be registered. This will be the official address of your company and it will be used to receive all statutory mail from Companies House and HMRC.

Rapid Formations can provide your new charity with an online registration package, allowing you to register a company limited by guarantee with Companies House in just 3 hours. Our comprehensive package costs £49.99 and this price includes the £13.00 Companies House filing fee.