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Government Announces Changes to Company Filing Requirements

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The end of April 2014 saw the government respond to feedback on two consultation papers that had been issued regarding changes to company law and company filing requirements.

Transparency and Trust Discussion Paper

The transparency and trust paper was issued in July 2013 following concerns that it was not clear who the beneficial owners of UK companies are. Changes highlighted by the government’s response to stakeholder feedback include:
  • To create a registry of beneficial owners held centrally by Companies House.
  • To prevent the use of corporate directors, to ensure that individuals are accountable for the actions of a company.
  • To abolish bearer shares which allow individuals and entities to hold shares without their name having to be entered into the company’s register of members.
  • To amend rules relating to the disqualification of company directors.
The biggest proposed change relates to the creation of a registry of beneficial owners. This will mean that additional information will need to be provided to Companies House upon a company’s incorporation and on an on-going basis. Company Filing Requirements Discussion Paper The company filing requirements paper was issued to collect responses regarding the simplification of certain filing requirements including the annual return and also on areas link to the Trust and Transparency paper. Key areas where changes will be made include:
  • Changing the annual return to an annual check where at least once per year a director must check that the details held by Companies House are correct.
  • Introducing new rules for resolving issues where a director is appointed to a company without their consent or where a registered office address is used that is not related to the company.
  • Allowing companies to keep some of their statutory registers within the newly introduced public registry.
The proposed changes from this paper are designed to lessen the burden on small companies, particularly by removing the additional paperwork of the annual return and allowing the company to hold their registers centrally. Company Filing Requirements   The full consultation papers and responses can be found here: Transparency and Trust Company Filing Requirements If you require company secretarial or company formation services please contact us at [email protected] or on 020 8952 0140.

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