Companies House – increased powers

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) was passed in October 2023

It represents a significant effort to combat economic crime and enhance corporate accountability. A part of this was a reform within Companies House.

Companies House has long been criticised for its deficiencies, illustrated by instances of companies being registered under the names of deceased individuals and fictional characters serving as directors. The Chief Executive and Registrar of Companies hailed the introduction of the ECCTA as a pivotal juncture for Companies House.

The reforms outlined in the ECCTA aim to transform Companies House from a passive repository of information into a proactive guardian. To achieve this objective, Companies House will be endowed with new powers to scrutinise the information it receives and challenge it when necessary. The changes, effective from March 4, 2024, include the following:

  • Greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence
  • Stronger checks on company names
  • New rules for registered office addresses (all companies must have an appropriate address at all times – they will not be able to use a PO Box as their registered office address)
  • A requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address requirement
  • A requirement for subscribers to confirm they are forming a company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate and for a company to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on its confirmation statement
  • Greater powers to tackle and remove factually inaccurate information
  • The ability to share data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies

The new criminal and civil penalties will complement the above measures.


Finally, although ECCTA contains additional reforms impacting Companies House, including identity verification procedures for responsible persons, these will come into force at a later date.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss this.