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Legal Information Required on Business Stationery

Contact details

It might seem obvious to include as many ways as possible of making contact with your business: telephone numbers, postal address and email addresses. Always include your website if you have one; even if the recipient of your letter of business card doesn't look at it, its presence increases your credibility as a business.

However, there are some legal requirements that you must observe too. We will always advise you if your design does not meet these requirements, giving you the opportunity to alter your file.

Sole Traders

As a sole trader you may choose to trade under a different name, using the abbreviation t/a (trading as). So John Smith trading as TileTastic would include on his letterheads the line:

J Smith t/a TileTastic

In the United States the abbreviation d/b/a (doing business as) is more common, but either are acceptable in the UK.


All business correspondence from a partnership must state the names of the partners as well as the address of the principal office. Where it is not practical to list all of the partners, or if any of them do not wish to be included in the list, the correspondence must explain where a list of the partners can be found (at a physical office).

Limited Companies

Correspondence from limited companies is the most tightly regulated. It must include the name of the company, the place of registration, the company's registration number, the address of the registered office, and the address where the actual business takes place if not the same as the registered office.

You can choose to include the names of the company's directors, or not. However, if you choose to include names, you must include all of the directors' names: you cannot select whom to include and whom to omit.

If the company is in the process of being wound up, this must be stated. For companies exempt from using the word "Limited" in their names, they must still state in words that they are a limited company.

All businesses

All firms must include their VAT numbers on invoices and orders, so if you are VAT registered it is generally advisable to include this information as part of the printed letterhead.

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