What is a SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) Code?

Step Three of how to register a company name: What is a SIC code, and how and when do you choose it?

The Standard Industrial Classification (or SIC) is a code that categorises a limited company’s industry. In this article we’re going to cover some SIC code basics including how and when you select your company’s code, and what to do if you wish to change the SIC code.

First, let’s take a look at the codes themselves.

A company does not create its own SIC from scratch; instead company directors select a code (or codes, companies can have up to four) from this SIC code list. As you’ll notice, there are quite a few to choose from, with some of the codes being remarkably specific. For example:

01120 – growing of rice

10520 – manufacture of ice cream

23120 – shaping and processing of flat glass

29203 – manufacture of caravans

43110 – demolition

There is also a code dedicated to dormant (not trading) companies: 99999.

When to select your company’s SIC code

Since April 2016 directors need to select a SIC code as part of the company formation process. For companies formed before this date, the SIC code was first chosen when companies filed an annual return (which has since been renamed the confirmation statement).

Changing the SIC code

To update a company’s code or codes all you need to do is file a confirmation statement with the new code/s included.

As a final note, it’s worth pointing out that the SIC code is simply a reference. If company directors have innocently selected a code that turns out be inaccurate, they’re not tied down to operating in that industry. All they’d need to do is update the code.

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