Anyone setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in the UK will soon need to verify their identity as a result of far-reaching changes being introduced by Companies House.


The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency (ECCT) Act, which received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023, introduces the biggest changes to Companies House rules since 1844 and is designed to tackle economic crime and improve the accuracy of information filed by businesses.


Melissa Hardwick, Senior Manager in the Company Secretarial team at Sussex and South East accountancy firm Carpenter Box, commented: “The ECCT Act will bring much needed improvements to the accuracy of the information held at Companies House.


“Companies House will have greater powers to challenge new and existing information held on Registers and there are now serious consequences for unlawful activities or inaccurate information including penalties and prosecution. The new regime will help to protect an individual’s personal information from fraud and ensure all companies on the UK register are run responsibly, transparently and with accountability.”


In addition to the new requirement to verify identities, companies will need to provide both a registered e-mail and postal address when filing annual Confirmation Statements, as well as confirming their future activities will be lawful. There will also be changes to filing options for small company accounts.


“There are many changes on their way over the next 18 months,” says Melissa, “so, the advice is to stay in touch with your business adviser to make sure you don’t fall foul of the new requirements. The changes will have a significant impact in particular on all new and existing company directors, people with significant control (PSCs) of a company and anyone who files on behalf of a company.”


Carpenter Box advises that submission deadlines will be more strict in the future, and that non-compliance could lead to criminal proceedings, civil penalties, incorporation rejections, the inability to file statutory documents and disqualification from acting as a director.


If you are in any doubt, refer to your business adviser or the Carpenter Box Company Secretarial Team (