If you run a company there’s some changes coming which you’re going to have to be ready for and, quite frankly, there’s a lot to do and most of it is to prove how law-abiding you are. The government are a suspicious bunch.
So here’s what you need to know:
It’s getting close and it’s a Big Thing: The changes come into force on March 4th, 2024 and the landscape of UK company law is undergoing a significant transformation. The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECTA) is coming into effect, bringing with it a wave of changes aimed at increasing transparency, deterring economic crime, and improving corporate governance. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a budding business owner, understanding these changes is crucial for ensuring your company stays compliant and thrives in the new environment.
So what’s actually changing?
The end of the mysterious PO Box: The iconic PO box used as a registered address gets the boot. Companies will now need to have an “appropriate address” – one where documents reach someone within the company and get acknowledged. This ensures communication clarity and reduces the risk of missed notices.
Email get official: Every company now needs a registered email address. Think of it as a digital mailbox specifically for official communications from Companies House. Make sure it’s active and monitored to avoid missing important updates.
You declare yourself lawful: The presumption of innocence has gone a little missing here, but when incorporating or filing your confirmation statement, companies must now declare a lawful purpose for their activities. This promotes transparency and combats the use of shell companies for illicit purposes.
Greater due diligence: Companies House gets sharper teeth with increased powers to query information and request supporting evidence. Be prepared to substantiate your filings and ensure accuracy to avoid delays or penalties.
More checks on company names: Fancy names with misleading similarities to established brands are out. Expect stricter checks on new company names, with the intention of ensuring clarity and protecting consumers from confusion.
Legal powers over your data: Law enforcement and government agencies get improved access to company data, with the intention of aiding in the fight against money laundering and the like.
Annotations to the Public Register: If anything on the public register appears confusing or misleading, Companies House can now add annotations to clarify the information., with the intention of greater transparency and helping investors make informed decisions.
Cleaning Up the Act: In a dash of Artificial Intelligence and modernity, data matching tools will be used to identify and remove inaccurate information from the register, leading to increased data reliability and trust in the system.
So what does this all mean? Well, for one thing, it means more bullet points:
- Review your registered office address: If you use a PO box, update it to a physical address that meets the “appropriate” criteria.
- Set up a dedicated email address: Ensure it’s monitored regularly and used solely for company communication with Companies House.
- Clarify your company’s purpose: Be prepared to articulate a lawful and legitimate reason for your company’s existence.
- Review your filing procedures: Ensure you have supporting documentation readily available to answer any potential queries from Companies House.
- Choose your company name carefully: Avoid names that could mislead or infringe on existing trademarks.
- Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on the implementation of ECTA and any further developments.
And yes, this is all a pain. And quite fiddly. But we can help with all this and keep you legal and transparent with the minimum of fuss on your part. It’s part of the wider business services we offer. So if you’ve got a company, even as a sideline, that’s registered at Companies House, give us a call and we’ll make sure you’re compliant and ready for the new age of transparency.