What do small businesses need to know?

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023, becoming the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA).

The Act aims to tackle economic and financial crime by allowing law enforcement agencies to exercise further enforcement powers, improving transparency over UK entities and delivering more accurate and reliable registers.

The ECCTA is now law and will have significant impact on how companies interact with Companies House.

There will be new responsibilities for:

  • all new and existing company directors
  • people with significant control of a company (PSCs)
  • anyone who files on behalf of a company

The three changes Companies House has said will be among the first to come into force, in early 2024:

  1. A requirement for all companies to provide an appropriate registered email address.

    • Under the act, all companies will need to provide a registered email address. Companies House will use this email address to communicate with the company – it will not be available to the public.
    • New companies will need to give a registered email address when they incorporate, from March 2024.
    • Existing companies will need to give a registered email address when they file their next confirmation statement, with a statement date from March 2024 onwards.
  2. New statements of lawful purpose and appropriate address.

    • All companies will need to confirm that the intended future activities of the company will be lawful.
    • You’ll need to confirm this every year on the confirmation statement. You will not be able to file a confirmation statement without this statement.
    • This will apply to all confirmation statements with a statement date from March 2024 onwards.
  3. A ban on using a P.O. box as a registered office address.