The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published its response following its consultation on options to increase corporate transparency and enhance the role of Companies House.
The key changes, which BEIS consulted on in 2019, are:
- Knowing who is setting up, managing and controlling companies – The government will introduce compulsory digital identity verification checks for directors, people with significant control (PSCs) and people who present company information. Shareholders will not be subject to identity verification but companies will be required to provide full names for shareholders.
- Improving the accuracy and usability of information on the register – Companies House will be given discretion to query and check information before it is placed on the register, and the process for amending or removing inaccurate information will be simplified.
- Company accounts – The government will consult further on measures to introduce full electronic tagging for accounts submitted to Companies House (listed companies will be required to do this in any event from 1 January 2021 – see our earlier post on this issue) and reform of the rules on shortening accounting reference periods.
- Company names – Companies House will have the power to query proposed company names before they are registered and the role of the Company Names Adjudicator will be reviewed.
The government will develop the proposals, consult further where necessary and introduce the necessary legislation when parliamentary time (and the necessary funding) allows.