Companies House changes to come into effect on 4 March

Companies House changes to come into effect on 4 March
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Tue 23rd Jan 2024

The government said it is aiming to introduce the first set of Companies House changes aimed at preventing fraud on 4 March.

Described as the biggest shakeup to Companies House in its 180-year history, the reforms are part of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act which received Royal Assent last October.

Among the changes being introduced in March are a requirement to have an 'appropriate address' as a company's 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

The new rules mean a PO Box cannot be used although a third-party agent's address is allowed if it meets the conditions.

Failure to provide an appropriate address will lead to the company being struck off the register.

Another change is a new requirement for all companies to give a registered email address to Companies House.

New companies will have to share a registered email address when they incorporate, while existing companies will need to provide an email address when they file their next confirmation statement.

Companies will have a duty to maintain an appropriate registered email address. If not, they will be committing an offence.

The full list of new requirements for businesses and new powers for Companies House from 4 March are:

  • 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

  • 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

Introducing the reforms needs secondary legislation so the government said the date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables. It will not be earlier than 4 March 2024.

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Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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