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Changes to UK company law

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act received royal assent on 26 October 2023 and will introduce a number of changes over the next few years.

The act gives Companies House the power to play a more significant role in tackling economic crime and supporting economic growth. Over time, the measures will lead to improved transparency and more accurate and trusted information on Companies House registers.

Under the Act, there will be new responsibilities for: 

  • all new and existing company directors;
  • people with significant control of a company (PSCs); and
  • anyone who files on behalf of a company.

The new legislation generally applies to all entities registered with Companies House, including:

  • private limited companies; 
  • public limited companies (PLCs); 
  • limited liability partnerships (LLPs); 
  • limited partnerships (LPs); 
  • community interest companies (CICs); and 
  • overseas companies. 

The legislation applies to companies and other entities registered in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland and applies to anyone who files on behalf of clients, such as accountants and company formation agents.

If you are planning on starting a new company or another entity type, you will need to consider the changes and new responsibilities introduced by the act. For existing directors and companies, it is important to understand how these changes will affect you.

Some of the changes include:

  • Greater powers for Companies House to query information, stronger checks on company names, new rules for registered office addresses, and new lawful purpose statements;
  • Identity verification – Anyone setting up, running, owning, or controlling a company in the UK will need to verify their identity;
  • Transitioning towards filing accounts by software only, and changes to small company accounts filing options;  
  • Increasing Companies House fees to take new future expenditure into account, as well as making sure costs are recovered from existing expenditure;
  • Protecting personal information – Individuals will be able to apply to suppress personal information from historical documents and apply to have personal information protected from public view because of risk of harm;
  • Changes for limited partnerships – these will need to file their information through authorised agents, and they will need to file more information with Companies House; and
  • More effective investigation and enforcement powers for Companies House, and new powers to share data with law enforcement agencies and other government departments.  

See: Changes at a glance – Changes to UK company law Companies House changes

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