Is your business ready for changes to UK company law?

From 4 March 2024, the UK government will begin a phased introduction of a series of changes that will require companies to provide more information to Companies House and give Companies House greater powers to verify this information.

The rationale for these changes is to enable Companies House to ensure the accuracy and quality of the data on its registers with the aim of increasing corporate transparency and reducing economic crime.

Companies House will also have greater enforcement powers and non-compliance with these changes may result in financial penalties, prosecution, or even steps to strike off the company.

Here is what you need to do to be ready for 4 March:

  1. Check your business has an appropriate address listed as your registered office – an appropriate address is one where HMRC and other bodies can contact the directors of the company (either directly or through an appropriate intermediary, such as an accountant) and where an acknowledgement of delivery can be recorded. This will be requirement for all companies moving forward. Note that PO Boxes will not be considered an appropriate address.
  2. Check your registered information for inconsistencies – Companies House will have greater powers to query and challenge information that appears to be incorrect or inconsistent with information they hold.

Other changes coming down the line that your business will need to be aware of include:

  1. ID verification – anyone setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in the UK will need to be able to readily verify their identity directly with Companies House. This process will be confirmed over the coming months.
  2. Account filing – all account filing will, going forwards, need to be done by software only (paper filing will no longer be possible). There will also be increased filing requirements for small and “micro” entities. These changes will be phased in over the next 2 to 3 years.
  3. Email – all businesses will need to have a registered email address where directors can be contacted.
  4. Statement of lawful purpose – a company will, effective 4 March 2024, have to make a statement when it is incorporated that the company is formed for a lawful purpose. This statement will need to be repeated annually in the company’s confirmation statement.
  5. More protections for personal information – with the increased disclosure requirements comes more protection for personal information. Individuals will be able to apply to suppress personal information (e.g. residential address) from historical documents and apply to have personal information protected from public view if required.
  6. Shareholder information – There will be a requirement to provide additional shareholder information, including a one-off full shareholder list, to make Companies House more user friendly in this respect.
  7. Corporate directors – new restrictions will be placed on corporate directors so, where possible, all your directors should be individuals.
  8. Companies House powers – More effective investigation and enforcement powers will be introduced by Companies House, alongside new powers to share data with law enforcement agencies and other government departments.
  9. Fees – Companies House will be increasing their fees on 1 May 2024. See Changes to Companies House fees for details.

There is no clear timetable yet for all of these changes but we will keep you posted as they are introduced. It is always best to start planning sooner rather than later, and if you require any legal support or advice on any of the points made above, please get in touch.

More information can also be found here: