The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill has now received Royal Assent, meaning it has become an Act of Parliament (law) and is due to come into force in early 2024.
The aim of the reforms is to improve transparency and ensure more accurate and trusted information, with a number of key changes.
Confirmation statement changes
Every company, including dormant and non-trading companies will be required to file a confirmation statement at least once every year. This confirms that the information held is up to date and companies must still file a confirmation statement even if there have not been any changes during the review period.
Under the act, all companies will need to provide a registered email address or provide a registered email address when they incorporate, from early 2024 (exact date to be confirmed).
All companies must confirm that the future activities of the company will be lawful and this will need to be provided every year on the confirmation statement, it will not be possible to file a confirmation statement without it.
Companies’ House fees
It has been confirmed that fees will be increasing in 2024 to fund the cost of the new powers and the wider package of reforms in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act. There has been no confirmation as to the exact date any increases will come into effect, or how much the increases are likely to be.
Companies House fees are set on a cost recovery basis, meaning the fees must cover the cost of the services they deliver but they do not make a profit.
Changes to accounts
With the aim of modernising the filing routes, there will be a transition towards filing accounts by software only. This will provide more efficient and secure filings for companies and improve the quality of data on the register.
To comply with the changes, all companies will need to find suitable software before web-based and paper filing options are no longer available.
The move will be phased in over the next two to three years and the deadline will depend on which type of accounts you file for your company. However, software is already available so it’s possible to make the switch now should you wish.
Companies House will be introducing a new identity verification process which they hope will help to deter anyone attempting to use companies for illegal purposes. Anyone setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in the UK will need to verify their identity to prove they are who they claim to be. The date the change will come into force has not yet been confirmed.
For new companies, all directors and people with significant control (PSCs) will need to complete identity verification. The verification will also apply to other registration types e.g. members of a limited liability partnership (LLP).
For existing companies, all directors (or equivalent) and PSCs will have a transition period to verify their identity with Companies House. Anyone acting on behalf of a company will also need to verify their identity before they can file information.
A service will be put in place to verify identity using ID documents, such as passports and there will be support available to help you complete the process. The verification can also be completed by Companies House authorised agents (known as Authorised Corporate Service Providers, ACSPs), who are individuals or organisations that undertake anti-money laundering activity, such as accountants. Guidance for ACSPs and a date for implementation is yet to be published.
How can I prepare in advance?
Although there is a lack of clarification around the specific dates, with some changes likely to come into force in early 2024, it’s wise to give consideration now to ensure you’re prepared in advance and any disruptions are kept to a minimum.
Some steps which can be made now would include ensuring your registered company information is up-to-date, having discussions with your directors and ACSPs to have everything in place for verifying ID, review your company structure and decide what actions you are going to take yourself or which you are going to look to seek support with.
Get in touch
At PM+M, we already have software in place for filing accounts directly with companies house so our clients can rest assured that everything is covered. We have a dedicated company secretarial team and would be happy to discuss how we can assist you with implementing the changes, keep you up-to-date with when the changes are coming into force and look after any filing requirements on your behalf.
For further information or advice, get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01254 679131.