Following the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act brought into law in October 2023, the UK Companies House is introducing new measures brought in by the act.
Summary of Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act Changes:
- The Act passed in October 2023 and aims to combat economic crime and improve corporate transparency.
- Changes are coming in phases, starting on or after March 4, 2024. This depends on Parliament passing required secondary legislation.
- Phase 1 changes include:
- Enhanced authority to request company information and evidence.
- Stricter company name checks to prevent misuse.
- New regulations for registered office addresses.
- Mandatory registered email addresses for all companies.
- Lawfulness declarations upon company formation and confirmation statements.
- Register annotations for unclear or misleading information.
- Data cleaning using data matching to remove inaccuracies.
- Data sharing with government departments and law enforcement.
What are these new measures?
Registered Office address
From 4 March 2024, there will be new rules for registered office addresses which means companies must have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office at all times. An appropriate address is one 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 acknowledgment of delivery
These changes mean you will not be able to use a PO Box as your registered office address from 4 March 2024. You can still use a third-party agent’s address if they meet the conditions for an appropriate address.
If you’re currently using a PO Box as your registered office address, you’ll need to change it by 4 March 2024. You can change your company’s registered office address online, using your company’s authentication code.
Companies that do not have an appropriate registered office address could be struck off the register. When we identify an inappropriate registered office address, we’ll change it to a default address held at Companies House. The company must then provide an appropriate address, with evidence of a link to that address, within 28 days. If we do not receive this evidence, we’ll start the process to strike the company off the register.
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 of 5 March 2024. Our online services will prompt you to supply a registered email address when you file your next eligible confirmation statement. This email address will not be published on the public register.
We’ll use this email address to communicate with you about your company, so you must choose an appropriate email address. You can register the same email address for more than one company.
You’ll be able to change your registered email address through our new ‘update a registered email address’ service. You’ll need to be signed in and authenticated to do this.
Companies will have a duty to maintain an appropriate registered email address, in the same way as their registered office address. Any company that does not do this will be committing an offence.
Statement of lawful purpose
When you incorporate a company from 4 March 2024, the subscribers (shareholders) will need to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose.
You’ll also need to confirm the company’s intended future activities are lawful on the confirmation statement.
These new statements intend to make it clear that all companies on the register, new and existing, must operate legally. We may take action against your company if we receive information that confirms you’re not operating lawfully.
Your documents will not be accepted if these statements have not been confirmed.
From 4 March 2024, you’ll see these new statements when you incorporate a company or file a confirmation statement. These measures will all contribute towards meeting the new registrars’ objectives, and we’ll make all our decisions based on these objectives.