The Government has set out plans to stop manipulation of the use of anonymous and fraudulent shell companies and partnerships.
This means that going forward, Companies House will become more active over company formation and receipt of information, rather than just acting as a “passive” processor.
More importantly, it will change the accounts filing requirements for small and micro companies which constitute by far the majority of the 4.4 million active companies registered with Companies House.
It will also mean that overseas agents will no longer be able to form UK companies and anyone setting up, running or controlling a UK company, will need to verify their identity with Companies House.
We do not yet know what format these changes will take.
Some of the more complicated and unnecessary filing options for smaller companies will be removed and there will be just two options, one for micro-entity and one for a small company.
The big change for small companies will be that they will be required to file a profit and loss account as well as a balance sheet.
There is also a prospect of simplification of using a File Once with Government approach so that the accounts need only to be filed once with Government which will probably mean the accounts will be filed simultaneously with HMRC although more details will be provided in due course.
We do not know the timetable for these changes but they will be at the forefront of our thinking and our advice to you as to how to deal with them.
The changes will be brought in through statutory instrument and there is no specific timetable for the introduction of these new rules but we understand that it is a priority for Government and part of the Economic Crime Bill.