The economic crime and corporate transparency bill received royal assent and will become law

What does this mean?

The measures outlined in the act will give Companies House new and increased powers.

Changes expected to come into force early 2024:

  • Companies House powers to query information. Although this has already commenced with notices being sent, information will be scrutinised and rejected if information appears incorrect or inconsistent with filing history on the register. In some cases, Companies House will be able to remove information
  • Stronger checks on company names and powers to reject incorporation
  • Companies must have an appropriate registered office address at all times and will not be able to use a PO Box address
  • All companies must supply a registered email address
  • All companies must confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate. This will be added onto the confirmation statement filed yearly and companies will need to confirm on the confirmation statement that future activities will be lawful
  • Annotations on the register to let users know about potential issues with the information that has been filed, together with being able to clean up the register, using data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information
  • Sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies

New legislation included but which will not be introduced straight away and more development required on the secondary legislation:

  • The introduction of identity verification for all new and existing registered company directors, people with significant control, and those who file on behalf of companies
  • Wider powers given to Companies House to become more active over company formations, in connection with names and filing of more reliable data
  • Improving the financial information filed on the register so that the register is more reliable and accurate
  • Providing Companies House with more effective investigation and enforcement powers in order to better share relevant information with HMRC, Land Registry and Law Enforcement Agencies
  • More protection of personal information filed on the register to protect individuals from fraud and other illegal activities
  • Where personal information has been used without consent, red tape has been removed in order for Companies House to take swifter action
  • Restrictions on corporate directors
  • Reform of company accounts
  • Restrictions on shortening of accounting reference date

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