Companies House changes

Anyone setting up a company, involved with a company or running a company must be aware of changes introduced by Companies House on 4 March 2024. They include greater powers for Companies House conferred by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023. The changes include:

  • greater powers 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
  • sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.

Some of the most important changes are:

New rules for registered office addresses

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 acknowledgement of delivery.

These changes mean that it will not be possible to use a PO Box as a registered office address from 4 March 2024. A company can still use a third-party agent's address if they meet the conditions for an appropriate address. Companies that do not have an appropriate registered office address could be struck off the register.

Registered email address

From 4 March 2024, there will be a new requirement for all companies to give a registered email address to Companies House. This email address will not be published on the public register.

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.

Statement of lawful purpose

When a company is incorporated from 4 March 2024, the subscribers (shareholders) will need to confirm they are forming the company for a lawful purpose.

It will be necessary to confirm that the company's intended future activities are lawful on the confirmation statement. Existing companies will need to make a lawful purpose statement when they file their next confirmation statement with a statement date from 5 March 2024.

The consequences for failing to meet these requirements are serious for the company, so company officers should consider taking specialist advice to ensure that deadlines are met.

To discuss this or any other company matter, contact us.

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