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Companies House fees likely to rise to fund new powers, tackle economic crime

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Companies House will be granted new powers and that means it will have to charge higher fees, the government has reported

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency (ECCT) Bill is already making its way through Parliament. This legislation will change the role and purpose of Companies House and will give them the powers they say they need to improve the accuracy of the information on their registers and to play a significant role in tackling economic crime.

There’s a clear expectation that the fees will fund the cost of the new powers and the wider package of reforms in the ECCT Bill, and it’s likely that the fees will increase after the Bill achieves royal assent, the government has reported.

The government has said in a statement that Companies House is “ready to take action” and working hard on a number of different workstreams to make sure they will be ready to implement many of the measures as soon as possible after the Bill achieves royal assent.

Reviewing Companies House fees

This year, Companies House has taken new future expenditures into account as well as making sure they recover costs from our existing expenditure.

“Companies House fees are much lower than the global average and have not changed since 2016,” said the government statement. “Many believe our fees are too low. During the debates, while the ECCT Bill has moved through Parliament, there’s been a focus on the low levels of our fees and on making sure we’re adequately funded in the future.”

What are the measures of the ECCT Bill?

  • introducing identity verification for all new and existing registered company directors, people with significant control, and those who file on behalf of companies
  • broadening the registrar’s powers to become a more active gatekeeper over company creation and a custodian of more reliable data
  • improving the accuracy of financial information on the register so that the register is more reliable and accurate, reflects the latest advancements in digital technology, and enables better business decisions
  • providing Companies House with more effective investigation and enforcement powers, and introducing better cross-checking of data with other public and private sector bodies
  • enhancing the protection of personal information provided to Companies House to protect individuals from fraud and other harms

“We’ll be operating in a completely different way in the future with major changes needed for our systems, processes, and the skillsets of our people. Increasing our fees will enable us to operate effectively within our new powers and deliver outcomes, making sure we continue to recover the costs of the services we deliver,” said the statement.

What can you do now to prepare?

Nothing will change until after the ECCT Bill receives royal assent, so you do not need to do anything differently at this time.

Changes to fee values need to go through a robust process, including final sign-off from HM Treasury and ministers, and this process has not been completed yet. This means there is no information on the changes to fees or when they’ll come into effect.

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