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Companies House Reforms – Timetable for Initial Changes Announced

Companies House Reforms – Timetable for Initial Changes Announced

2024 promises to be a year of significant change at companies house, the UK government agency responsible for the registration of companies and other legal entities.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA), received Royal Assent in October 2023, setting the stage for the biggest transformation of the Register in almost two centuries. Companies House has now officially announced its intent to implement the first set of changes on 4th March 2024. The introduction of these changes will require secondary legislation. As such the implementation date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables. These changes include:

  • 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;
  • greater powers for Companies House to query information and request supporting evidence;
  • stronger checks on company names;
  • 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
  • the sharing of data by Companies House with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the initial set of changes do not include the new requirement for all directors and PSCs to have their identity verified discussed in our earlier article Companies House Reforms, as Companies House does not yet have the necessary systems in place.

Three of the first set of changes which will affect all companies currently on the register and any newly incorporated companies from 4th March 2024 are:

1) New rules for registered office addresses

All Companies will be required to have an “appropriate address” as their registered office.

This new requirement means that any documents delivered to the registered office address by hand or by post should be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company, and the delivery of documents should be capable of being recorded by obtaining an acknowledgement of delivery.

This new requirement effectively prohibits the use of PO Box registered office addresses.
Companies which do not have an appropriate registered office could face being struck off the register.

2) Registered email addresses

All newly formed companies will be required to supply a registered email address to Companies House.

Companies already on the register will be required to supply a registered email address when filing their next confirmation statement.

Unlike the registered office address, the registered email address will not appear on the public register.

3) Lawful purpose statements

The subscribers of newly formed companies will be required to include a statement to confirm they are forming the company for a lawful purpose.

Companies already on the register will need to make a lawful purpose statement when filing annual confirmation statements.

Documents which do not include the required lawful purpose statement will be rejected by Companies House.

HOW CAN DE PINNA HELP?

De Pinna provides a Central London registered office address service which complies with the new requirements under ECCTA.

For more information on this service or any of the changes being brought in by ECCTA please approach your usual contact at De Pinna or:

Phillip Journeaux at phillipj@depinna.co.uk
Peter Adams at petera@depinna.co.uk
Iain Ostrowski-Rogers at iainor@depinna.co.uk