Important changes introduced at Companies House

On 26 October 2023, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act was passed. The Act has given Companies House enhanced powers in tackling Economic crime and supporting Economic growth and is set to improve transparency and accuracy of information held on Companies House registers. 

In future Companies House will be able to actively challenge inconsistencies in information filed and reject or remove information which appears incorrect. 

There will be new responsibilities and requirements for identity verification for:

  • New and existing company directors
  • People with significant control of a company
  • Anyone who files on behalf of a company

Changes will be introduced in a phased approach over the next few years commencing as follows:

From 4 March 2024

Every company must, when submitting their next Confirmation Statement (form CS01):

1. provide a registered email address for communications – Companies House will utilise this email for correspondence with the company, though it won’t appear on the public record; and

2. verify that the company’s planned future operations are lawful.

If we are already managing your Confirmation Statement submissions, you can be confident that we will submit your forthcoming statement adhering to these updates.

Should you handle your Confirmation Statement filings independently, note that you will need to include a registered email address and confirm the company’s commitment to lawful activities before you can finalise your submission.

Further measures include:

  • A ban on using PO Box addresses as a company’s Registered Office address;
  • Enhanced authority for querying information submitted to Companies House and demanding supporting evidence;
  • More rigorous checks on company names before the registration of new companies;
  • A requirement for all companies to affirm their lawful purpose upon formation and to verify that their intended future operations will be lawful with each subsequent Confirmation Statement;
  • The option to mark the register when details seem ambiguous or misleading;
  • Initiatives to cleanse the register, employing data matching to identify and eliminate incorrect data; and
  • The sharing of data with other Government departments and law enforcement bodies.

From 1 May 2024

Increase in Companies House filing fees

Companies House has announced that they will be increasing their incorporation and document filing fees from 1 May 2024 to reflect the new features and services they will be providing in accordance with the Act. Annual Confirmation Statement filing fees will increase from £13 to £34 from 1 May 2024. A full list of new charges can be found at Changes to Companies House fees – Changes to UK company law.

Additional features of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, will be introduced in the coming months and beyond, including:

Identity verification

A key change will be the requirement for individuals involved in setting up, running, owning, or controlling a company to undergo identity verification.

To facilitate this, Companies House will introduce a service allowing you to verify your identity directly with them or through an authorised agent.

Changes to Accounts Filing

In line with the trend towards digitisation, Companies House is moving towards mandatory electronic filing of accounts, highlighting the push towards software usage.

This transition to online filing will occur over two to three years, though the exact timeline remains to be confirmed. Changes to filing options for small company accounts are also planned.

Limited Partnership Reforms

If you operate a limited partnership, prepare for procedural adjustments. Enhancements aimed at boosting transparency and accountability will require limited partnerships to submit information through authorised agents and provide additional details to Companies House.

Enhancing company ownership transparency

To further transparency efforts, you will need to supply additional information about shareholders in registers.

This includes the full names of individuals or corporate entities and their companies and a one-time comprehensive list of shareholders.

Additionally, there will be new restrictions on the use of corporate directors, with specific details provided.

We will keep you updated on each new development. However, if you have any enquiries, do not hesitate to contact us.

Posted in News, Newswire.