Start date given for major Companies House changes

Start date given for major Companies House changes

2024 is shaping up to be a big year for Companies House. Having announced as far back as 2019 that plans were in motion for the biggest overhaul of the register in 170 years, Chief Executive Louise Smyth, began the year by giving us further information on when we can expect to see changes, with some expected as early as March.

Last October, these long-expected reforms reached a major milestone when the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill gained Royal Assent mandating increased powers in law.

We have now learned that some of these will be implemented from March 2024 including:

  • Greater powers to query information. To date, Companies House has not had the power to challenge or reject information, even if it appears incorrect or inconsistent. This will change, including powers to remove information already on the register.
  • Stronger checks on company names – existing restrictions on names with certain words and connotations will be further enhanced, now covering those containing computer code or intended for criminal purposes.
  • New rules for registered office addresses. All companies must have an appropriate address at all times. An appropriate address is one where a document delivered to the address would be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the entity and the delivery of documents is capable of being recorded by obtaining of an acknowledgment of delivery.
  • New rules to supply a registered email address. This is an email address to which communications from Companies House could be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company.
  • Lawful purposes declaration – A requirement upon incorporation to confirm that the company is being formed for lawful purposes and to re-confirm when filing the annual confirmation statement for the year ahead.
  • Information integrity – New annotations to flag potential issues with information that appears on the register and new steps to use data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information.
  • Information sharing – sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.

Unsurprisingly, the March changes do not include the new requirement for all directors and PSCs to have their identity verified. This will be a major systems undertaking for Companies House. We covered this in more detail, along with some of the other reforms expected in our previous article on the ECCTA.

We will be supporting clients with the above requirements including with our Registered Office Address services and the new requirements for a registered email address. If any of our clients or partner law firms have any questions about the new rules or how we can help as an Authorised Corporate Services Provider, please get in touch with your usual contact.


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