What are the next changes at Companies House in 2024?

In a historic move poised to redefine the UK’s corporate landscape, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act marks the biggest changes at Companies House since 1844, affecting businesses nationwide. This legislation, designed to bolster the fight against economic crime and foster a climate of growth, sets the stage for transformative changes.

Those set to be most imminent are perhaps not the most significant but will have practical considerations and implications for all UK incorporated entities to some degree.

Coming soon

4 March 2024 stands as a potentially crucial date for UK businesses, marking the initial rollout of the Act’s provisions, subject to parliamentary schedules. These changes herald a new era of scrutiny and regulation at Companies House, including:

  • Greater authority to request information and demand additional evidence.
  • Tightened regulations on company names and the conditions for registered office addresses.
  • A new requirement to provide a registered email address;
  • A need to confirm that the intended future activities of the company will be lawful, at the point of incorporation and subsequent confirmation statement submissions.
  • Measures to cleanse the register of inaccuracies and improve data sharing with governmental and law enforcement bodies.

Preparing for the changes

Key areas include:

Registered Office Addresses:

The regulations governing registered office addresses will change, meaning that all companies must maintain a ‘suitable address’ for their registered office continuously. A suitable address is defined as one where correspondence will be attended to by someone representing the company and can be officially acknowledged upon receipt. As a consequence, the use of PO Boxes for registered office addresses will be prohibited. Should your current registered office address be a PO Box, it is imperative you update this.

Failure to maintain a suitable registered office address may result in the company being removed from the register. If Companies House deems an address unsuitable, they will assign a default address at Companies House to the company. The company is then required to submit a suitable address, along with proof of association to that address, within 28 days. Absence of this proof will prompt Companies House to initiate the deregistration process for the company.

For our existing clients, you can use our Head Office address as your registered office; should you be interested in this service please give your main contact a call.

Mandatory email address registration:

A new mandate will require every company to provide Companies House with a designated email address. This email will remain confidential and not appear on the public register.

Newly incorporated companies must submit a registered email at the time of incorporation. Similarly, those businesses already active will be asked to add an email upon submitting their subsequent confirmation statement.

This designated email will serve as a main channel for Companies House to relay important communications regarding your business.

Failure to maintain a current email address and appropriate physical registered office address will constitute a legal offence.

Should Carpenter Box already provide you with a registered office service, we will take on this email registration also unless you advise otherwise.

Declaration of lawful purpose:

Incorporating a company will require formal confirmation that the company is being established for a lawful purpose. Additionally, companies will be required to declare that their planned future operations will also be lawful, through their confirmation statements.

What should I do now?

Be prepared! We are planning for our clients as though this will come in as intended from 4 March 2024. Although, as noted this is subject to additional supporting legislation being enacted. 

For guidance on how these and other planned legal changes may impact your business, get in touch with the Carpenter Box Company Secretarial team.