December 8, 2020

Corporate Transparency: proposed new Companies House ID requirements

Corporate-meeting

Read the full Government response here

The consultation sought views about reforms to the current requirements, to improve:

  • knowing who is setting up, managing and controlling companies;
  • the accuracy and usability of data on the companies register;
  • the protection of personal information on the register; and
  • compliance, sharing intelligence and other measures to deter abuse of corporate entities.

What are the proposed changes?

Identity of directors and PSCs

Before being appointed their identity will need to be verified by Companies House (and this will include members of LLPs).

The proposals are that:

  • in order to have their identity verified a user account must be set up;
  • verification will have a 24 hour turnaround time and that once verified this will be saved and it will not need to be renewed for every application;
  • if the submission is being made by a third party they will be required to have their own user account  (e.g. an "agent" account) and company secretaries will be required to have their identity verified; and
  • a pre-verification process may be put in place so that an account can be set up to enable identity to be verified in advance.

Increased powers for Companies House

Companies House will have more powers to raise queries about the information being presented and to reject applications.

Other proposals include:

  • increased powers for Companies House to query company names;
  • tighter regulation on the changes of accounting reference periods; and
  • requiring personal information to now appear on a company's register (e.g. full date of birth and residential address) where it previously wasn't.

What's next?

The next steps will be:

  • the Government publishing a set of proposals setting out how any such reforms would be implemented; and
  • any reforms would then need to be legislated "when parliamentary time allows" (according to the published response).
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