Phase 1: The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023

8th April 2024

We have recently seen the first tranche of Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 changes crystalise, which we summarise in this article.

The highlights are:

New rules for Registered Office addresses

It is no longer permissible for a company’s Registered Office Address to feature a PO box. Companies should be aware that if their Registered Office Address includes a PO box, they are now required to file a change with Companies House. It is advised that Companies take a pro-active approach to updating this, as Companies House have confirmed they will be active in taking action against companies continuing to use a PO box.

A requirement to supply a registered email address

From 4 March for incorporations, and 5 March for existing companies, there is now a requirement to provide Companies House with a registered email address. For existing companies, this will be confirmed via the confirmation statement, and for new companies this will be required at incorporation.

The email address will not be publicly available, and will be used by Companies House to communicate with officers of the company. It is worth highlighting that an offence will be committed by the company and every officer, should a registered email address not be maintained.

A requirement to confirm ‘lawful purpose’

From 4 March for incorporations, and 5 March for existing entities, companies are now required to provide a statement of lawful purpose.

For existing companies, this change is present in the annual confirmation statement. It is found in section 3 of the statement, and requires confirmation that the company is operating lawfully, and that it will continue to do so. For new companies, this is required on incorporation.

Ancillary changes

Moving forward, Companies House now have the ability to annotate the register, as well as take steps to ‘tidy’ up the filing history. Although the scope of these powers has not been confirmed, it is widely expected to include; removing filing entries, querying information, requesting supporting evidence, and sharing data with other government departments.

What implications does this hold for businesses?

From a practical point of view, businesses should be conscious of the growing importance of maintaining accurate company registers, as well as ensuring that the 14-day Companies House filing deadline is met. Whilst we await further guidance from Companies House in respect of these increased powers, it is important that businesses mitigate risk by pro-actively maintaining accurate and consistent records.

For more information, please see our January article on the Act here.

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