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How To Change the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code in the UK

Author Gabi Bellairs-LombardGabi Bellairs-Lombard

5 min read
Better Business

Updating your SIC code is important for businesses undergoing changes. Accurate classifications are needed for compliance and reporting. Here's a guide on how to update your code.

How To Change the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code in the UK

Changing your company’s SIC code involves updating the classification of its primary activities with Companies House to reflect changes in its operations.

In the world of business, staying up to date with the latest standards and classifications is crucial. One such classification that plays a significant role in business is the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. The SIC code is a unique number that assigns your business to a specific industry. It provides valuable insights into your business activities, allowing investors, creditors, and government agencies to understand your operations better. This comprehensive guide will explore everything you need to know about changing your SIC code, why it's important, and the procedure involved.

What Is The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code?

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code is a system used to categorize businesses based on their economic activities. It assigns businesses a four-digit code that represents their industry category. Initially developed in the United States, it has since been adopted by various countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom. This classification system provides a standardised approach to identify and group businesses according to their main economic activities.

Each SIC code represents a specific industry sector, allowing easy classification and comparison. It helps businesses, government agencies, and investors to analyse and assess economic trends, benchmark performance, and make informed decisions based on industry-specific information.

In the United Kingdom, the SIC code is essential for understanding the economy's structure. It was first introduced in 1948 by the UK government to classify and monitor industrial activities. Since then, it has undergone several revisions to keep up with the changing business landscape.

The SIC code system in the UK consists of a hierarchical structure that categorises businesses into different levels of specificity. The first two digits represent the major industry group broadly defining the sector. For example, code 01 represents the "Crop and animal production, hunting, and related service activities" sector.

As we move further down the code, the remaining two digits provide more detailed information about the specific activities within the industry group. For instance, under the code 01, we can find subcategories such as "Growing of non-perennial crops" (011), "Raising of dairy cattle" (0141), and "Hunting, trapping, and related service activities" (0170).

The SIC code system is regularly updated to reflect the evolving nature of industries. New codes are introduced to accommodate emerging sectors, while others may become obsolete as economic activities change or decline. This ensures that the classification remains relevant and helpful in tracking the ever-changing business landscape.

Businesses in the UK must provide their SIC code when registering with Companies House, the official registrar of companies. This information helps maintain accurate records and enables effective industry trends and economic performance monitoring.

Furthermore, the SIC code system is crucial in statistical analysis and reporting. It allows government agencies like the Office for National Statistics to collect and analyse data on specific sectors, enabling policymakers to make informed decisions and develop targeted strategies to support economic growth.

Investors and financial institutions also rely on the SIC code system to evaluate the performance and potential of businesses within specific industries. By comparing companies operating in the same sector, investors can assess market trends, identify investment opportunities, and manage risk effectively.

Importance of Accurate SIC Code Representation

Accurate representation of your SIC code is vital for several reasons, especially in the context of UK company registration. Firstly, it ensures that your business is categorised correctly within its industry, aiding potential clients, investors, and partners better understand your capabilities, products, and services. Additionally, it allows government agencies to gather accurate data for statistical purposes and develop effective industry-specific policies. Keeping your SIC code up-to-date is crucial for maintaining compliance and accurate representation as a registered UK company.

Moreover, accurate SIC code representation is crucial for compliance purposes. Certain regulations and requirements differ depending on the industry you operate in. You can ensure you stay compliant with industry-specific rules and regulations by correctly identifying your SIC code.

Reasons for Changing SIC Code

There are various reasons why a business may need to change its SIC code.

Changes in business activities or operations

Shifts in business activities or operations could lead to a misalignment with the current SIC code. As companies evolve and expand into new sectors, updating the classification ensures accurate representation.

Errors or inaccuracies in the current SIC code

Errors or inaccuracies in the existing SIC code can occur during initial registration or subsequent updates. Correcting these mistakes becomes crucial for maintaining compliance and precise categorisation.

Procedure for Changing SIC Code with Companies House

The process can be relatively straightforward if you need to change your SIC code. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the procedure.

  1. Prepare the documentation

Gather all the necessary paperwork and information required for the SIC code change. This may include details about the new business activities, supporting documents, and company registration information.

  1. Complete SIC code change form

Obtain the official SIC code change form from Companies House. Carefully fill out the form, providing accurate details about the current SIC code, your tax identification number, the intended new SIC code, and the reasons for the change.

  1. Submit the application

Submit the completed SIC code change form to Companies House. Ensure all sections are properly filled and any required supporting documents are included.

  1. Pay fees, if applicable

Depending on the specific circumstances and regulations, fees might be associated with the SIC code change application. Make sure to pay any applicable fees during the submission process.

  1. Verify the correct SIC code

Double-check the accuracy of the proposed new SIC code before submission. Verify that it aligns with your current and future business activities to avoid potential issues. You can easily do a SIC code search online.

  1. Inform business partners and government agencies about the changes

Communicate the impending SIC code change to relevant stakeholders, including business partners, clients, suppliers, and government agencies. Ensuring others know the new classification will help maintain smooth business operations.

  1. Update company records

Finally, update your company records accordingly after the SIC code change is approved and processed. This involves updating all relevant documents, websites, marketing materials, and any other records affected by the classification modification. Keeping your information up-to-date is essential for regulatory compliance and accurate business representation.

Remember, keeping your SIC code current is essential to accurately represent your business activities. Additionally, regularly reviewing and updating your SIC code helps maintain compliance with industry regulations and facilitates better understanding from potential clients and investors.


Updating your SIC code is vital in staying aligned with industry standards and ensuring an accurate representation of your business. Following the abovementioned procedure, you can easily change your SIC code and keep your business classification current. Remember, accurately representing your economic activities through your SIC code offers numerous benefits, including better visibility, compliance, and industry-specific insights.

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