Changes to UK Company law: Companies House

There are upcoming changes being made by Companies House regarding UK company law. While some of these changes are still being finalised and may take some time to come into effect, UK companies must be aware of the changes so that they can prepare beforehand.

We will continue to update this blog as new updates are made, so check back often for the latest updates and announcements.

This blog was last updated on Friday, 22nd December, 2023.

Changes being made to Companies House

We’ve summarised the changes included within the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill that will start taking effect in 2024.

  1. Powers to query information - Companies House will have more power to scrutinise, remove and reject information that is inconsistent or incorrect compared to information already present on the register.
  1. Stronger checks on company names - Companies House may undertake additional checks on any company name entered into the register.
  1. New rules for registered office addresses - PO Boxes will no longer be accepted for registered office addresses.
  1. New rules for registered email addresses - All companies must provide a registered email address.
  1. New confirmation statement checks - All incorporated companies must confirm their business is undertaking legal activities for lawful purposes. Every year, this confirmation must be renewed when completing the confirmation statement.
  1. Annotations on the register - Companies House will have the ability to flag potential issues with supplied information to users.
  1. Removal of inaccurate information - Data matching will identify and remove inaccurate information.
  1. Sharing data - Companies House may share information with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.
  1. Identity verification - Anyone owning, running or setting up a UK company will need to verify their identity through authorised agents or by providing official documents, such as a passport.
  1. Account filing - Accounts must be filed by software only, and small or micro-entity companies will see changes in the details they need to provide.
  1. Companies house fees - Companies House fees will increase in 2024 to fund the reforms taking place.

When will the changes happen?

The changes are expected to begin in 2024. However, some measures in the act may take several years to come into place. For example, the move to filing accounts by software only will be phased in over the next 2 to 3 years, whereas other measures will come into force sooner. The measures that are expected to happen sooner than later are:

  1. Powers to query information
  2. Stronger checks on company names
  3. New rules for registered office addresses
  4. New confirmation statement checks
  5. Annotations on the register
  6. Removal of inaccurate data
  7. Sharing data

Who’s affected by the Companies House changes?

The changes will apply to all new and existing companies, including:

  1. All new and existing company directors 
  2. People with significant control of a company (PSCs) 
  3. Anyone who files on behalf of a company 

Why are changes being made to Companies House?

As per Companies House, “The act gives Companies House the power to play a more significant role in tackling economic crime and supporting economic growth. Over time, the measures will lead to improved transparency and more accurate and trusted information on our registers.”

Companies House has also defined four objectives for the changes:

  1. Provision of documents - To ensure that anyone who is required to deliver a document to the registrar does so (and that the requirements for proper delivery are complied with).
  1. Accurate information - To ensure information contained in the register is accurate and that the register contains everything it ought to contain.
  1. Removal of misleading information - To ensure that records kept by the registrar do not create a false or misleading impression to members of the public.
  1. Prevent unlawful activities - To prevent companies and others from carrying out unlawful activities, or facilitating others to carry out unlawful activities.
These objectives also apply to the Registrar of Companies for Scotland and the Registrar of Companies for Northern Ireland.

How UK Postbox can help you through the changes

If you need to change your registered office address due to the upcoming changes, or you need a solution for a new business you’re incorporating, our business street addresses are a suitable option that comes with many additional features.

For example, companies will no longer be able to use a PO Box as their registered office address under the new bill, so our alternative addresses can help them transition through the changes. Please visit our dedicated help page if you're currently using a PO Box as a registered office address.

We will continue to monitor the Companies House reforms and ensure our existing and new customers have the options they need through our service.

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Allan Chester
December 22, 2023
Business
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