New Companies House powers are now live!

Limited Company, News,

Companies House powers have been increased based on the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCT Act) and came into force on 4th March 2024.

The new measures are intended to allow Companies House to combat the criminal acts and money laundering being carried by criminals abusing the company registration system. These abuses have been well documented in the news, with many examples of individuals and businesses receiving correspondence and demands addressed to companies that they have no knowledge of.

What’s changed?

One of the new measures requires those setting up new companies to confirm the lawful purpose the company as part of the incorporation process.

However, as we outlined before, the annual Confirmation Statement will also now require confirmation each year that the company’s intended future activities will be lawful.

  • Where you complete your own confirmation statement, you will now need to include this declaration.
  • Where we complete the Confirmation Statement on your behalf, we will ask for confirmation from the Director of the lawful intent before we complete the return.

All companies will now need to provide a Registered Email Address when incorporating or as part of their next confirmation statement, whichever comes first. This email address will not appear on the public record, and we will look to the Director of each company for confirmation of their preferred email address for inclusion.

Please be prepared that we’ll need these details from you before we can submit your annual Confirmation Statement, so will include the questions in our usual email in advance of the submission due date.

Greater information powers

The new powers received by Companies House under the Act include being able to query information and request supporting evidence, which has not necessarily been the case before. Companies House will be able to make stronger checks on company names and will have greater ability to tackle and remove factually inaccurate information.

No more use of PO Boxes

Under the Act, and the introduction of the new Companies House powers, it will no longer be possible for a company to use a PO Box as its Registered Office address.

It should be noted that Companies House will be actively checking Registered Offices on an ongoing basis and failure to respond quickly to their enquiries could result in fines or suspension from the Register. 

As with any communication received from HMRC or other agencies, if you’re concerned about any communication you receive from Companies House, please refer it to us as soon as possible.

Sharing of Data

The ECCT Act now gives Companies House the ability to share data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies, to help in combating criminal activity.

Fee increases to come…

As a result of the additional work that the new measures involve, and as advised previously, Companies House fees are increasing from 1st May 2024.

More changes on the way…

The new Companies House powers are accompanied by new criminal offences and civil penalties to help with their enforcement. The ECCT Act also introduces other measures, including identity verification and accounts reform, which will be introduced at a later date. We’ll keep you posted as implementation draws closer.

If you need help with a company incorporation or any company secretarial tasks, please get in touch.

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