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Changes to Companies House checks in 2024

Until now, the Companies House registry has passively received the information that UK companies filed – but new reforms will implement a more active role for Companies House as a regulator to better maintain the register’s integrity.

Since the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) was passed into law in October 2023, the changes in the Act will begin to take effect in 2024.

There are several new measures that aim to clamp down on financial crime and improve the reliability of corporate data, which should help to make it easier to do business in the UK and support economic growth.

So, if you have a registered company, limited liability partnership (LLP), or limited partnership (LP) in the UK, these measures will affect you from 4th March 2024.

Registered office address

The new rules for ‘appropriate’ registered office addresses mean that every company must register an address where a person acting on the company’s behalf can receive documents and acknowledge deliveries.

PO Box addresses are no longer permissible, so any company using a PO Box as their registered address must change this or risk being struck from the register. The address of a third-party agent may be an alternative option.

Registered email address

It will now be a requirement for companies to provide a registered email address to Companies House. New companies must do this when incorporating and existing companies when filing their next confirmation statements.

The email address will not be published publicly, but Companies House will use it for communications regarding the company. Failure to supply an email address will be considered an offence by the company directors and result in a fine.

Lawful purpose

When incorporating a new company, the shareholders must confirm they are doing so for a lawful purpose. All businesses on the Companies House register have a duty to operate lawfully and must specify this on every confirmation statement.

Annual confirmation statements for existing companies will also include a declaration of lawful present and future activities from this March. If Companies House discovers that a company is acting unlawfully, it can take legal action against them.

What does this mean for businesses?

These changes coming into effect from 4th March 2024
are only the first in a series of measures that will give Companies House more proactive powers, which are expected to also come into force later in the year and include:

  • Identity verification for company officers
  • Company name compliance checks
  • Annotating registers to clarify information
  • Sharing data with government agencies
  • Prosecuting offences with financial penalties

Existing companies will, of course, be affected, but it’s particularly important for new companies to follow the latest rules when registering. The details of changes to UK company law can be found on the official website.

If you have any concerns about how these developments will affect your company and which steps you might need to take, you can consult our accountants in Barnsley for financial guidance and digital accounting support.

Call gbac on 01226 298 298 or email your queries to info@gbac.co.uk
for help complying with the latest regulations for company accounts.