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Limited Company Directors: Prepare for Companies House Changes

You may have seen announcements recently from Companies House regarding some changes that are on the way for limited companies in the UK. With some coming into effect in March of this year it is very important you, as a company director, are aware of the changes and make the necessary changes to accommodate for them.

Why are there new rules for limited companies?

The upcoming legislative changes form part of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act which is intended to help the government tackle fraud. The new legislation gives greater powers to Companies House, enabling it to query information and share data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.

Louise Smyth, the Chief Executive of Companies House, has admitted the early changes will not necessarily stop fraudulent information being accepted and published on the register and that they are working towards additional changes, such as identity verification, which will be introduced over time.

Will Companies House changes affect me?

The changes will have an impact on legitimate companies and their agents for accounts and company secretarial matters, as there will be new compliance obligations and an increase in Companies House fees.

So far, only a handful of changes have actually been confirmed and it is likely to take several years for many of the planned amendments to arrive. The first wave is expected to take effect from 5 March 2024, pending final approval in parliament.

Below we have summarised the first changes and what they mean for you as a company director, getting in touch with your accountant to discuss any of these changes can help you understand what your personal actions need to be to remain compliant.

What to look out for?

Below we have outlined the most important of the first set of changes for you to understand what is changing and the reasons for it.

Using an appropriate Registered Office address

All companies will be required to have an ‘appropriate address’ for their Registered Office. This is defined as an address 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

Proper Registered Office services will qualify for this, however companies will not be able to use a PO Box. Companies House has indicated that companies that do not have an appropriate Registered Office address could be struck off the register.

If your company currently is using a PO box as a registered office or you are unsure whether your current registered office meets the criteria then please do get in touch with us at Sherwin Currid as we provide a compliant registered office service for our clients that will meet the new legislation and allow you to keep your personal information private and ensure data protection.

Supplying a registered company email address

Companies will be obliged to supply a registered email address to Companies House, however, this will not appear on the public register. Once the legislation comes into effect, existing companies will need to supply their registered email address when their Confirmation Statement is filed.

This does not have to be a specific company email but we advise you to keep this the same as the email you use to conduct business day to day to ensure you do not miss any important updates or reminders from any government services.

Making a declaration of lawful activity

Companies will be required every year to confirm that their future activities will be lawful. These declarations will be included on the Confirmation Statement. Likewise, when forming a new company, a declaration will have to be made that it is for a lawful purpose.

This is simply a statement to clarify the activities undertaken by the business and a guarantee that they are lawful.

Greater powers to query information

Companies House will be able to scrutinise and reject information that seems incorrect or inconsistent with information already on the register. In some cases they will be able to remove information that is deemed to not be proper.

In addition to this data matching will be used to clean up the Companies House register and remove inaccurate information. Checking that all of the information you have previously provided is accurate and up to date is vital and will help you to remain compliant following the introduction of these changes

Future changes

Whilst the above changes are expected to be implemented from March 2024, there is no timetable for further proposed changes, such as identity verification, accounts filing options for small and micro entity companies, and transitioning towards software-only filing for accounts.

Companies House has acknowledged that many of these changes require technical solutions that are not in place today and will also rely on relevant legislation being passed before they can be introduced.

If you wish to stay up to date with this information then please do follow our blogs closely or get in touch with us and we can provide you with accountancy help that will keep you compliant as well as tax efficient.

Get in touch with Sherwin Currid today to find out more about how we can help you and your limited company.