The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act – New Legislations Coming into Force March 2024

Companies House have released the first changes coming into force 4th March 2024, following legislations passed October 2023.

Registered Office Addresses

Registered office addresses must, at all times, have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office. An appropriate address is one where:  

  • any documents sent to the registered office should be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company 
  • any documents sent to that address can be recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery

Action will be taken against companies that do not have an appropriate registered office address.   

Statement of lawful purpose

There’ll be a new requirement for new incorporations. The subscribers to the company will need to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose.  

A company will also need to confirm its intended future activities are lawful, on their annual confirmation statement. 

Registrar’s powers

The Registrar will have greater powers to query and challenge information that appears to be incorrect or inconsistent with information held on the Register. In some cases, they will also be able to remove information more quickly, if that information is inaccurate, incomplete, false or fraudulent.  

There’ll be stronger checks on company names which may give a false or misleading impression.  This is to help tackle the misuse of company names.  

Annotations will be placed on the Register to let users know about potential issues with the information that’s been supplied. More steps will be taken to clean up the Register, using data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information.

Cleaning the register, using data matching – to flag up different variation of spelling of names / addresses for same individual.

Data Sharing with other government departments / law enforcements to ensure all information given to various government departments matches.

Enforcement and sanctions 

There’ll be serious consequences if a company does not respond to a formal request from Companies House for more information. This could include: 

  • a financial penalty
  • an annotation on the company’s record
  • prosecution

There could also be serious consequences for a company if their registered office is not an appropriate address.  

If Companies House is not satisfied the registered office is not appropriate, they can change it to a default address, held at Companies House. If a company’s registered office is moved to the default address, they must provide an appropriate address with evidence of proprietary ownership within 28 days, or they could start the process to strike the company off the register.   

New identity verification process will also commence in 2024, for all directors, PSCs, and LLP members, these include those already on the Register, although no specific dates have yet been given.

If you have any questions on the above, please call/email me

I will keep you updated should any further information be released.

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