22nd February 2024

Business owners be aware: key changes to UK company law from March 2024

By Katie Holloway

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (the ‘Act’), published in October 2023, is aimed at preventing the abuse of UK corporate structures and tackling economic crime.

The government aims to introduce its first set of changes, in accordance with the Act, by 4 March 2024. If you are a business owner or intending to incorporate a business, it is vital to understand what these changes mean for you.

3 key changes from March 2024:

  1. What is recognised as a Registered address?

From 4 March 2024, companies must, at all times, have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office. An address is appropriate if:

  • A document addressed to the company, and delivered there by hand or by post, would be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company; and
  • The delivery of documents to the address is capable of being recorded by obtaining an acknowledgement of delivery.

Failure to have an ‘appropriate address’ could result in the company being struck off the register. This change means that companies can no longer use a PO address (a secure mailbox typically located in a Post Office or Royal Mail Sorting Office) as its registered office address. Any company currently using a PO address will need to file a ‘change of companies registered office’ with the registrar in advance of March 2024.

  1. What is recognised as a Registered email address?

From 4 March 2024, companies must also provide a registered email address to Companies House, who will use this email address to communicate with company officers about the company. Existing companies will be required to provide the chosen email address when filing its next confirmation statement from 5 March 2024, and new companies will be prompted to provide an email address on incorporation (legally forming a business).

The registered email address will remain confidential and will not be published on the public register.

Companies will now have the same obligations to maintain an appropriate email address in the same way as their registered office address.

  1. What is a statement of lawful purpose?

From 4 March 2024, shareholders of companies will need to provide a statement of lawful purpose which entails:

  • On incorporation, to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose; and
  • On filing a confirmation statement, to confirm the intended future activities of the company are lawful.

Companies House may take action against any company for which information is received confirming it is not being lawfully operated.

How Hamlins can help

Hamlins has the necessary expertise to action the steps companies need to take to ensure compliance with the Act, and to support clients through this process.

We previously highlighted other key details from this new legislation in a three-parties Companies House reform series.

If you would like a conversation to find out how we can help, please get in touch with Katie Holloway.

 

 

Business owners be aware: key changes to UK company law from March 2024

Have a question? Contact Katie

Have a question? Contact Katie

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