UK and International Tax news

Government Launches Consultations On Corporate Transparency and Register Reform

Thursday 10th December 2020

The Government has issued three new consultations to combat fraud, improve the quality and value of financial information available on the UK companies register and to give new powers for Companies House to query, remove and amend information on the public register.

In September 2020, Companies House announced plans to reform the UK’s register of company information to, in particular, clamp down on fraud and money laundering, following consultation on Corporate Transparency and Register Reform.

One of the consultations will seek views on how the new discretionary power for the register to query new, submitted information will work in practice. Proposals are to help close loopholes that lead to abuse of the register, facilitating a crack-down on the misuse of corporate structures by criminals.

Views are being sought on how companies might in future be able to file accounts once only with the Government, instead of separately to Companies House, HMRC and other agencies. Improvement in the filing options available to small companies with the aim of achieving a better balance between minimising burdens and ensuring the information provided is valuable is to be considered.

A further consultation on corporate directors will take forward plans to restrict the use of opaque chains of corporate control. Under the plans, only companies whose boards comprise real people with verified identities will be allowed to act as corporate directors of other companies. The move aims to stop criminals from concealing their true identities behind complex corporate structures, while continuing to allow law-abiding companies to use corporate directors for legitimate purposes.

Where any new controls are introduced as part of the reforms, Companies House plan to keep the burden on business as low as possible and will continue to look for ways to make access to its services as smooth, quick and efficient as possible.

Responses to the consultations should be submitted by 3 February 2021.

If you would like more details on the above, please contact Keith Rushen on 0207 486 2378.


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