Companies House – Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act

30 April 2024

One key aim of the Act is to improve the accuracy and quality of the data regarding companies on public registers, which will help tackle economic crime. 

The Registrar of Companies has a suite of new and enhanced powers;

  • to ensure the information contained in the register at Companies House is accurate and complete
  • to ensure that records do not create a false or misleading impression to members of the public
  • to prevent companies and others from carrying out unlawful activities or facilitating the carrying out by others of unlawful activities.

A number of significant changes are being introduced.  Below are the most important new rules that are now in force.

Changes effective from 4 March 2024

Registrar’s powers

Companies House now have greater powers to query or challenge information that appears to be incorrect or inconsistent with what they hold on record. The Registrar will have the power to remove information more quickly. 

Appropriate addresses

Companies House will require every company to have an 'appropriate address' as its registered office at all times.

This is an address where any documents would be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company and where receipt is capable of being recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery.

This address can no longer be a PO Box or have PO Box details listed in the address. An agent may accept delivery of post as long as they meet the conditions for appropriate address.

When Companies House identify an inappropriate registered office address, it will be changed to the default address held at Companies House. The company must then provide an appropriate address, with evidence of a link to that address, within 28 days. If addresses aren't changed by that time, Companies House will start the process of striking the company off the register.

Registered email address 

All companies must provide a registered email address.  Companies House will use the address to communicate with the company, but it will not be made available on the public register.

New companies will need to provide an email address when they incorporate. Existing companies now need to provide an email address when they file their next confirmation statement.

The same email address can be used for more than one company, and can be changed. Users will need to be signed into Companies House and provide a web-filing authentication code in order to do this. Email addresses must be kept up to date in the same way as registered office addresses.

Statement of lawful purpose

On incorporation, shareholders will need to confirm that they are forming the company for a lawful purpose and that the company's future activities will be lawful.

This must be reconfirmed every year on confirmation statements with a statement date from 5 March 2024.  

Company names

Stronger checks will be conducted on company names at incorporation that may be misleading or give the public a false impression.

Annotation to the register and data matching

Companies House can contact for further information to match details on the register to ensure consistency with other information. There will be serious consequences if a company does not respond to a formal request for more information, including a financial penalty, annotation on the company's record, or prosecution.

Fee increase

Increased Companies House fees apply from 1 May to allow for the previously mentioned changes and those systems required to facilitate the changes.

Further changes

A number of further fundamental changes will follow including:

  • a new identity verification regime which will affect all shareholders, directors and Persons with Significant Control and their ability to file information at Companies House
  • abolition of the requirement for companies to keep certain statutory registers 
  • changes to the information about members that companies must submit to Companies House and other new membership information requirements; 
  • changes to the Companies House regime for annual accounts.

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