Companies House – New Fees and New Rules

Companies House is increasing its fees from 01st May 2024 which is driven by new rules for companies with effect from 04 March 2024

Companies House Fees

Companies House has historically operated on a cost recovery basis which basically means the fees must cover the cost of the services being delivered and with no profit element.

As a result of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, there are now additional burdens upon Companies House, mainly around the identification and verification of Directors and a statutory role to ensure the integrity of the Companies House registers.

These new requirements have increased the administrative processes for Companies House which leads to the increased pricing across the board.  There has been criticism from many quarters that Companies House fees have traditionally been quite low compared with the rest of the world and there is a balance between encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship whilst ensuring the data held by Companies house is accurate and genuine.  If the registers cannot be trusted due to false information, then the benefit and trust in those registers is eroded.

The full list of revised fees can be found here.

The fees have increased quite significantly in some areas, for example, previously the incorporation of a private limited company cost £12 but will now be £50 and a confirmation statement will increase from £13 to £34.

The Main Changes for Companies House

Registered office addresses   

There are new rules for registered office addresses which mean companies must, at all times, have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office.   An address is an ‘appropriate address’ if, in the ordinary course of events: 

  • 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
  • the delivery of documents there is capable of being recorded by the obtaining of an acknowledgement of delivery

These changes mean a company cannot use a PO Box as its registered office address.  

Statement of lawful purpose

There’s a new requirement when you register a company.  The subscribers to the company need to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose.  A company will also need to confirm its intended future activities are lawful, on their annual confirmation statement. 

Registrar’s powers

The registrar has greater powers from March 2024 to enquire into submissions that appear incorrect or inconsistent, whereas previously Companies House had much limited powers to challenge submissions.

Amongst these powers include checks on company names and then later in 2024 there will be digital identify verification so that those creating new companies must identify themselves.  There will be a similar identity check for tax agents although we await further details as to when and how this will work.

Enforcement and sanctions 

Companies House has further enforcement powers which can include financial penalties, annotations made to the companies records held by Companies House or prosecution.

For example, if the registered office has moved and Companies House has not been updated within 28 days, Companies House can seek to strike the company off the register.

Get in Touch

If your business needs assistance with this recent change of rules in terms of future compliance, then do please give us a call.  Rayner Essex has vast experience in Company Secretarial and Corporate compliance.

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