Community Interest Companies (CICs) are limited companies that exist to provide benefits to a community, or a specific section of a community. The CIC has the flexibility of the familiar company form, and access to a range of financing options, so may be appropriate for those working for a social purpose.
Its key features include an asset lock and a community interest statement.
Registering as a CIC is a single process. When you register you choose to be a company limited by share or a company limited by guarantee. CICs must comply with the CIC Regulations and Company Law. See the page in this guide on limited companies with a social purpose.
When registering your company with Companies House, you will need to provide additional documents, including a community interest statement describing your social purpose. The CIC Regulator will approve your application if your statement passes the community interest test - ie the business activities you intend to undertake will be carried out for the benefit of the community or a section of it, or that the CIC's purpose is in the community's or wider public's interest.
CICs shouldn't be confused with charities. CICs cannot have charitable status but a charity can set up a CIC subsidiary company. This means they do not get the tax benefits of a charity, but in return they do not have the strict reporting requirements of a charity.
See the page in this guide on social enterprises as registered charities.
CICs have to follow specific rules, including the following: