Companies House: 4th March 2024 Upcoming Changes

29 Feb 2024
James Oxley

Business Law

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 received royal assent on 26 October 2023. The act has three main objectives:

  1. Prevent companies from being abused by criminals
  2. Strengthen law enforcement’s ability to tackle crime
  3. Improving reliability of data at Companies House

Subject to parliamentary timetables, and in pursuance of these objectives, Companies House are introducing several changes from 4 March 2024. Some of these changes are briefly set out below.

Registered Office and Email Address

A requirement for a company’s registered office to ensure at all times that is has “an appropriate address”. This means, an address where, in the ordinary course of events, a document addressed to the company, and delivered there by hand or by post, would be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company, and the delivery of documents is capable of being recorded by the obtaining of an acknowledgement of delivery. Use of a PO Box will no longer be permitted.

There will also be a requirement for all companies to provide an email address to enable Companies House to communicate with the company. The address will not be shared with the public.

Statement of lawful purpose

Upon the incorporation of a company, the subscribers to the company will need to confirm they are forming the company for a lawful purpose.  Additionally, a company will need to confirm in its annually filed confirmation statement that its intended future activities are lawful.

Additional Registrar Powers

The Registrar of Companies will have increased powers to deal with incorrect or inconsistent information held at Companies House and an ability to deal with misleading or false company names.

Identity Verification

Later in the year Companies House will be bringing in new requirements for directors, persons with significant control and anyone acting on behalf of a company to verify their identity. This will be carried out using Authorised Corporate Service Providers such as solicitors, accountants and company formation agents.

Information Requests and Sanctions

Failure to respond to requests from Companies House include financial penalties, prosecution and annotation on a company’s record at Companies House and striking off of the company.