Looks like Companies House is morphing from passive registrar into a monitoring agency for the government. Changes that are likely to impact the business community from as early as March 2024 are listed below, extracted from a Companies House blog post, dated 22 January 2024.
“The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act became law in October 2023. Since then, we’ve been getting ready to introduce the measures brought in by the act.
“We're aiming to introduce the first set of changes on 4 March 2024. The introduction of these changes needs secondary legislation, so this date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables. It will not be earlier than 4 March 2024. These changes include:
- greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence;
- stronger checks on company names;
- new rules for registered office addresses;
- a requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address;
- a requirement for all companies to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on their confirmation statement;
- the ability to annotate the register when information appears confusing or misleading;
- taking steps to clean up the register, using data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information; and
- sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.”
One change from 4 March 2024 that may require action when these new regulations are finally introduced, is the requirement for companies to have an “appropriate” registered office address, no more PO Box numbers.
Another change is the requirement to provide Companies House with a registered email address. From 4 March 2024, new companies will need to give a registered email address when they incorporate. Existing companies will need to give a registered email address when they file their next confirmation statement with a statement date from 5 March 2024.
You will also need to confirm the company’s intended future activities are lawful on the confirmation statement. The intention of these new statements is to make it clear that all companies on the register, new and existing, have a duty to operate in a lawful way. Companies House may act against your company if they receive information that confirms you are not operating lawfully.