What are the major Companies House changes impacting business owners this year ?

29 February 2024

Efforts to tackle economic crime across the UK are ramping up this year. With a particular focus on corporate crime, we have already seen the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill passed through parliament last October.

Now, business owners should prepare as more major changes have been implemented across Companies House, coming into effect as soon as next month.

What are the changes, and how do they affect business owners?


What are the imminent changes?

Not all changes will be introduced immediately, but some are expected to be implemented very soon.

It’s important to note that the changes are still dependent on parliamentary timetables as they still require secondary legislation.


From next month all registered businesses must have an ‘appropriate’ registered office address. But what exactly does this mean?

Companies House have defined this as:

  • An address where any documents sent would be expected to reach a person acting on behalf of the company.
  • Any documents sent to the registered address can be recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery.
  • An address that isn’t a PO Box.

If you’re still using a PO Box as your company address, this will no longer be valid from 4th March. Companies that do not have an appropriate registered office address could be struck off the register. Businesses need to ensure they have a registered address before 4th March. If you need to change your business address, you can do so here.

Existing and new companies will need a registered email address from 4th March.

If you already own a business you’ll need to supply a registered email address the next time you file a confirmation.

The email address will not be shown on a public domain.

An additional layer of compliance will need to be carried out by business owners in the form of a statement of lawful purpose. This is designed for business owners to evidence that the company is formed for a lawful purpose and the future activities carried out by the business are lawful.

Whether you’re in the process of setting up a new business, or you’re already running an established company, you will need to file a statement of lawful purpose.

Why are things changing?

Changes to Companies House have been discussed for years now. Long thought-out policies will finally be being acted upon this year, but it’s important to know why.

A large focus will be on improving the UK’s response to corporate crime, with increased compliance measures for business owners.

The changes will bring about additional requirements which will provide:

  • Greater powers for querying information;
  • Stronger checks on company names;
  • Changing rules for registered office addresses;
  • Lawful purposes of declaration at the incorporation of a company, or when filing a confirmation statement;
  • Steps to improve information integrity.

In line with the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, the Companies House changes will make it easier to identify individuals linked to a company. To ensure this happens, there will be a move away from the “directing mind and will test” to the “senior manager test”. This will make it easier for prosecutors to identify individuals and prosecute accordingly if needed.


What’s changing in the long term?

With more changes expected to be announced this year. In the meantime, business owners will need to remain diligent and keep up to date with any changes that are pushed through.

Although there will soon be more onus on business owners, with more compliance measures to satisfy- the announcements have been welcomed. For many, they are a long overdue change as the reforms work to create a strengthened response to corporate crime across the UK.

Once the extra steps have passed secondary legislation they will become legal requirements. This means that there will be penalties in any event in which a requirement is not fulfilled.



Supporting you with the upcoming changes

Navigating your way through change whilst juggling the day-to-day running of your business can be a challenge to say the least. Especially when multiple changes come at once.

That being said, there’s no need to go it alone. We’re here to support you every step of the way. We can help you make sense of any upcoming changes and how they may impact your business.

Get in touch with our team today to see how they can support you.