Update on Companies House changes

It appears that Companies House is transitioning from a passive registrar to a more proactive monitoring agency for the government. The impending changes, set to take effect as early as March 4, 2024, were outlined in a Companies House blog post dated January 22, 2024.

“The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act became law in October 2023. Since then, we’ve been getting ready to introduce the measures brought in by the act.

“We’re aiming to introduce the first set of changes on 4 March 2024. The introduction of these changes needs secondary legislation, so this date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables. It will not be earlier than 4 March 2024. These changes include:

  • greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence;
  • stronger checks on company names;
  • new rules for registered office addresses;
  • a requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address;
  • a requirement for all companies to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on their confirmation statement;
  • the ability to annotate the register when information appears confusing or misleading;
  • taking steps to clean up the register, using data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information; and
  • sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.”

One noteworthy change taking effect on March 4, 2024, is the requirement for companies to have an “appropriate” registered office address, eliminating the use of PO Box numbers.

Additionally, starting March 4, 2024, new companies must provide a registered email address upon incorporation, while existing companies need to furnish this information when filing their next confirmation statement with a statement date from March 5, 2024, onwards.

Companies are also obligated to confirm the lawfulness of their intended future activities on the confirmation statement. These statements aim to emphasise that all companies on the register, whether new or existing, have a responsibility to operate within the bounds of the law. Companies House may take action against companies found to be operating unlawfully based on received information.

To find out how these changes might affect you, please contact us.