The biggest changes to Companies House since 1844 are currently underway. With the introduction of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCT Act) comes a long list of changes to be aware of.

While there are many changes affecting individual companies and entire industries, we are here to make things simple. At CRO, we are passionate about our company secretarial services, which is why, in this blog, we are providing you with everything you need to know about the changes to Company Law. We will help you get a thorough understanding of the ECCT Act and navigate through these changes with confidence.

What Is the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act?

The ECCT Act is a Bill that deals with economic crime and corporate transparency. It aims to make additional provisions about companies, limited partnerships, other corporate entities and the register of overseas entities. In doing so, Companies House will cease to be a depository of information and in future will act as a regulator. Companies House now have more power to tackle economic crime and improve the quality of their data.

This is a major change; in fact, it is the biggest change to Companies House in 180 years, so company owners and directors must be well aware of what is happening and when.

What Are the Key Aims of This Act?

There are several key aims of the ECCT Act. Let’s take a look:

  • Broadening the registrar’s powers. This means they can query information and have stronger checks on company names.
  • Improving the financial information on the register. They will do this by challenging and removing suspicious information to make their data more reliable.
  • Enhancing the protection of personal information provided to Companies House. This includes introducing identity verification for anyone starting, running, owning or controlling a UK company.
  • Targeting criminals and terrorists who abuse the UK economy. It aims to strengthen the UK’s reputation as a place where legitimate business can thrive.
  • Increasing Companies House With these changes comes an increase in fees, but we are here to guide you through this and ensure payments are made on time.

Who Is Affected by These Changes?

As mentioned above, the people affected by these changes are starting, running, owning or controlling a UK company. And, of course, here at CRO, as providers of company secretarial services for directors, we have also been affected by these changes. When any guidance, laws, or regulations change, we are at the forefront, ensuring our team is fully equipped in order to best support our clients.

Here are the main ways in which you could be impacted by the ECCT Act:

  • All UK companies will need to maintain their own register of members.
  • Every UK limited company will need to provide Companies House with an appropriate email address.
  • Registered Office Addresses must be deemed appropriate by Companies House.
  • Companies House now has the right to order companies to rectify inconsistencies that have been filed on the register.

In addition to this, one of the major changes is formal identity verification, which means:

  • An individual may not deliver documents to Companies House on behalf of another person unless Companies House has verified that person’s own identity.
  • All new and existing directors of UK companies will have to verify their identity.

Which Dates Do I Need to Be Aware Of?

Some of these changes have already been implemented as of the 4th of March, so it is important to take action now. If you need assistance, the team at CRO are more than happy to help; please get in touch to ask the questions you need answers to.

Regarding payment changes, Companies House increased its fees from the 1st of May. Fees differ depending on what it is you are filing, changing, or registering, so please contact us for more information on this and how it will affect your company directly.

Register of Overseas Entities

As part of the government’s strategy to tackle economic crime, the Register of Overseas Entities came into force in the UK on the 1st of August 2022. It is held by Companies House and requires overseas entities that own land and property in the UK to declare their beneficial owners and/or managing officers. This applied to overseas entities who bought land on or after:

  • The 1st of January 1999 in England and Wales.
  • The 8th of December 2014 in Scotland.
  • The 1st of August 2022 in Northern Ireland.

All entities that disposed of land or property between the 28th of February 2022 and the 31st of January 2023 also needed to give details of those dispositions. The registration takes approximately 24 hours. The information must be verified by a UK regulated agent which includes details about the overseas entity, and beneficial owners or managing officers. To “verify” means to check information based on official documents or information obtained from a reliable source independent of the person being verified. The agent must make a statement as part of the application to confirm all information is verified.

How Can CRO Help?

At CRO, we understand that Company Law comes with a lot of jargon and confusing processes, which is why we are here to help. With over 30 years of experience providing our professional COSEC services to company directors, owners, and those controlling businesses, we are your best option when it comes to navigating this complex world.

If you are affected by any of the changes to the ECCT Act or you have any questions surrounding the changes, please reach out to our team by calling us on +44 (0)161 440 8884 or emailing us at [email protected].