The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (EECTA) will introduce changes to company law in March 2024. One of the aims of the EECTA is to enhance the role of Companies House and to improve corporate transparency. The Government would like to see Companies House evolve from a passive recipient of information to a more active gatekeeper with a wider remit of powers. The changes are the most fundamental set of reforms since Companies House was created.
Here are the March 2024 changes to company law you need to know about:
- Greater powers to query and reject information: Companies House will have a new querying power to scrutinise and question information submitted. Information that seems incorrect or inconsistent with information already on the register could be rejected or removed. Companies House will also be able to annotate the register to flag potential issues with the information supplied and can take steps to clean up the register. This is a welcome change with the aim of improving the accuracy and integrity of information on the register.
- Registered e-mail address: companies will need to provide an "appropriate" e-mail address so that Companies House can share information with an individual acting on behalf of the company. This e-mail address will not be available on the register.
- Registered office address: new rules for registered office addresses. Companies will not be able to use a PO Box as the address must be an "appropriate address" where delivery of the documents can be acknowledged.
- Lawful purpose: a requirement to confirm you are forming a company for a lawful purpose on incorporation and to confirm this again in the confirmation statement each year.
- Company names: stronger checks on company names that may give a false or misleading impression to the public. This could be company names that contain computer code, could facilitate crime or suggest a connection to a foreign government.
Watch this space! Companies House will share further detail on the March 2024 changes in the next few weeks. The exact commencement date will be confirmed when the draft regulations are published.
You can read our earlier article for more on the other changes to be introduced by the EECTA later this year. Changes will also be introduced to limited partnerships.
This article was also authored by Laura Brumwell, Company Secretarial Manager.