Enhanced powers for Companies House to tackle fraud

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCT) passed into law in October 2023. The Act makes far-reaching changes to UK company law which will have a significant impact on the day-to-day running of companies.

The first measures under the ECCT Act came into force today (Monday 4 March 2024). Companies House now has new and enhanced powers to improve the quality and reliability of its data and tackle misuse of the companies register.

 

Changes introduced today include:

  • greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence;
  • stronger checks on company names;
  • new rules for registered office addresses (all companies must have an appropriate address at all times – they will not be able to use a PO Box as their registered office address);
  • a requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address;
  • a requirement for subscribers to confirm they’re forming a company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and for a company to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on its confirmation statement;
  • greater powers to tackle and remove factually inaccurate information;
  • the ability to share data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.

New criminal offences and civil penalties will also be introduced.

 

Why are the changes being introduced?

The aim of the new legislation is to improve the quality and reliability of Companies House data and tackle misuse of the companies register in the fight against economic crime.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said “The new reforms, provide further protection to the public from companies fraudulently using their address and will begin to remove the smoke and mirrors around companies hiding behind false information. This will enhance the UK’s reputation as a great and safe place to do business.”

Companies House say that the roll out of new powers and requirements is being is being phased in order to minimise hassle for legitimate businesses. We will keep you updated as further measures are introduced. If you need our help get in touch at hello@chw-accounting.co.uk.


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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