19 February 2024

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act: changes to come to Companies House in March 2024

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (“ECCTA”) aims to enhance the UK's role in tackling economic crime, supporting economic growth, and ensuring the UK is a top business location globally. The ECCTA received royal assent on the 26th of October 2023, however, changes made by the ECCTA will be rolled out through a series of commencement regulations to allow companies adequate time to adjust to the changes, with the first measures taking effect on the 4th of March 2024.

The changes being introduced on the 4th of March 2024 include:

Registrar’s Power

The registrar will have greater powers to question and query information that looks erroneous or conflicting with what is currently on the register. In certain circumstances, the registrar will also have the power to remove information more quickly if it is erroneous, fraudulent, incomplete, or false. Strengthened checks on false or misleading company names will be implemented to improve data accuracy and tackle misuse. Annotations on the register will be used to inform users about potential issues with information, and data matching will be used to identify and remove inaccurate information.

Statement of Lawful Purpose

Moreover, from the 4th of March 2024, when a new company is registered or 'incorporated', the subscribers to the company must confirm that the company is being formed for a lawful purpose. This rule also extends to existing companies who will need to confirm that the intended future activities of their company are lawful on their annual confirmation statement. This statement must be included in the confirmation statement and cannot be filed without it. This will be applicable to all confirmation statements with a statement date from the 5th of March 2024 onwards.

Registered Office Address

New rules will require companies to have an "appropriate address" as their registered office. This address should be where documents sent to the registered office should be expected to come to the attention of a company representative and can be recorded through an acknowledgement of delivery. This means that PO Boxes will no longer be allowed as registered office addresses.

Registered Email Address

The act mandates all companies to provide a registered email address for communication with Companies House, which will not be publicly accessible. New companies must provide a registered email address upon incorporation, and existing companies must provide a registered email address when filing their next confirmation statement, starting from 5 March 2024.

If you would like any further information or advice, please contact a member of our Banking & Finance team.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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