Firm News | 12.12.23
You can’t hide from Companies House – Part 2
Article 2 of 2.
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 has now received Royal Assent. This Act has been introduced as part of the Government’s plans to reform Companies House.
One of the changes introduced by this Act is the mandatory identity verification for directors, persons with significant control (PSC) and those filing documents at Companies House, details of which are mentioned in the previous article (You can’t hide from Companies House). The new Act now introduces details as to how the verification process will work and other key concepts mentioned below.
How ID verification will work
There will be two routes to verifying your identity. The first route will be through Companies House directly. This will be done via a digital service that links a person with their identity document such as a passport or driver’s license. The second route is through an Authorised Corporate Service Provider (ACSP). This will involve using an intermediary such as an accountant or a lawyer.
Delivering documents to Companies House
As per the Act, only ID verified individuals and ACSPs will be permitted to deliver documents to Companies House.
A UK company will need to ensure its registered office is located at an appropriate address. This means somewhere where documents can be sent to the attention of a person. So companies that use PO Box addresses will need to reconsider their registered address. It will also be a requirement that a company registers an appropriate email address whereby emails sent to it by the registrar would be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company.
Failure to prevent fraud
A relevant body will be criminally liable where a person associated with the body commits fraud intending to benefit the organisation and the organisation did not have procedures in place to prevent it. This will only apply to large organisations. A large organisation is a body that satisfies two or more of the following:
- Turnover of more than £36 million
- Balance sheet total of more than £18 million
- Number of employees of more than 250.
Corporate Criminal Liability
Under this Act, a company or unincorporated partnership will be guilty of an offence if one of the organisation’s senior managers commits an offence whilst acting within actual or apparent authority. Senior manager in this case means an individual who plays a significant role in making decisions about how the whole or a substantial part of the activities of the organisation are to be managed or organised, or the actual managing or organising of the whole or substantial part of those activities.
In addition to all of the above, Companies House will have greater powers to scrutinise information delivered to it and even reject it.
Other articles in this series: