We are sharing this update from ACCA, our professional body, for the interest of clients and contacts. The content is (c) ACCA

A summary of the key changes at Companies House

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) was passed into UK law in October 2023. It purposes to combat economic crime and improve corporate transparency in the UK. The legislation will introduce significant changes to the way companies register and report their information, as well as new obligations and sanctions for non-compliance.

On 4 March 2024, Companies House confirmed that changes have been made to the ECCTA which give it the power to be a gatekeeper for the information that goes on the public records and challenge or remove it if the information does not appear to be correct. More information and resources for ECCTA changes can be found within this article.

Stronger name checks

The Companies House website summarises the changes. One of the key changes are now stronger checks on company names are implemented. Companies House has new powers to challenge and change company names. It can now reject an application to register a name where it has reasons to believe:

  • the name is intended to facilitate fraud
  • the name is comprised of or contains a computer code
  • the name is likely to give the false impression the company is connected to a foreign government or an international organisation whose members include two or more countries or territories (or their governments).

It can also direct companies to change their name. If a company fails to change its name within 28 days, it can now determine a new name for the company, for example, changing the company name to its registered company number.

Companies House has the power to suppress a name from the register while a company responds to a direction to change its name.

Annex A includes a list of sensitive words and expressions that require prior approval to use in a company or business name.

Failure to comply with these regulations is an offence.

Increase in Companies House fees

To fund Companies House ongoing operations and new activities related to the measures in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, Companies House have increased some of their fees on 1 May 2024. These fees are set on a cost recovery basis for the services delivered. Below are some of the regular fees paid by SMEs operating through a limited company:

Transaction Channel New fee
Incorporation Digital/software £50
Incorporation (same day) Software £78
Incorporation Paper £71
Confirmation statement Digital/software £34
Confirmation statement Paper £62
Change of name Paper £30
Change of name (same day) Digital £83
Change of name Digital £20
Voluntary strike off Paper £44
Voluntary strike off Digital £33
Administrative restoration Paper £468

Read the full list of the other fees changes.

Registered office address

Companies must now have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office at all times. An appropriate address is one where:

  • Any documents sent to the registered office should be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company.
  • Any documents sent to that address can be recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery.

This means a PO box cannot be as registered office address. However, an accountant/agent or TCSP can still offer its office as a client’s registered office address if it meets the conditions for an appropriate address.