Important changes to company law are coming into effect in the UK on March 4th, 2024, following the implementation of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency 2023. This short guide summarises the key changes and what your company needs to do to comply.

What’s changing?

· Registered office address (ROA): Your company’s ROA must be a physical address where deliveries can be received and are likely to be noticed by someone representing the company. PO boxes will no longer be valid. Companies House can take action against non-compliant companies, including changing the address, issuing fines, or even striking them off the register. Companies incorporating after March 4th, 2024 will need to confirm their ROA on the updated Form IN01. Existing companies may need to update their ROA and inform Companies House (Form AD01) by March 4th, 2024.

· Registered email address (REA): Companies will need to maintain a designated email address for communication with Companies House. This address must be regularly monitored and won’t be publicly available. Failure to comply without a valid reason is an offence for both the company and its officers. Existing companies need to provide an REA when filing their next confirmation statement (Form CS01) with a statement date from March 5th, 2024 onwards. New companies need to provide a compliant REA during incorporation (updated Form IN01).

· Lawful purpose statement: New companies will need to confirm on incorporation that their purpose is lawful (Form IN01). Existing companies will need to confirm this annually through a checkbox on the revised confirmation statement form (Form CS01).

· Company names: New restrictions on company names will be introduced, prohibiting names with computer code, or which suggest false connections with official bodies, or facilitating dishonesty. Companies House can direct companies to change non-compliant names and refuse incorporation on this basis.

Additional considerations

· Companies House is shifting towards a more active role, verifying information and potentially rejecting submissions that are inaccurate or inconsistent with previous filings. It is therefore crucial to ensure the accuracy of all past and present information and address any inaccuracies promptly.

· Companies should choose an accessible and monitored REA to avoid missing important communications.

· Familiarize yourself with the new company name restrictions.

· Review your company’s filing history for accuracy to avoid issues with future submissions.

· Be mindful of and diarise filing deadlines to prevent penalties under the Registrar’s new enforcement powers.

Getting prepared

· Check and update your company’s ROA if necessary.

· Choose and implement procedures for managing your company’s REA.

· Be aware of the requirement for a lawful purpose statement in upcoming confirmation statements.

· Review your company’s name and filing history.

· Set reminders for key filing deadlines.

By taking these steps, your company can ensure compliance with the new regulations and avoid potential penalties. If you need any more information on any of the proposed changes, please contact a member of the Branch Austin McCormick corporate team.