Need to file an annual return at Companies House could go | DMA

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Need to file an annual return at Companies House could go

The Government is consulting on plans to reduce the amount of information that companies need to file, and the frequency that it is sent to Companies House. Instead of filing anannual return, companies could either confirm digitally that the information held at Companies House is correct or simply inform Companies House when the basic details (registered office, names of directors and secretary, share and shareholder information) changes.

Another option is to retain the annual return but allowing businesses to file it at the same time as the company’s annual report and accounts. Currently most companies file their annual return at a different time to their annual report and accounts.

Good news for SMEs
The proposal would particularly benefit SMEs whose basic details remain the same but currently have to file the information on the annual return. It could also help reduce the amount of fees companies pay to agents to file this information on their behalf.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape for businesses will help build a stronger economy. It is only right that as well as doing this we also make sure that the information available on a company is accurate and transparent. We’re taking steps that will mean that businesses, pushed for time and money, are not simply filing paperwork for the sake of it. This will mean companies can concentrate on growing their business and creating jobs.”

The Government also plans to make the following changes to the Companies House filing regime:

• Companies would be required to provide an email address to Companies House and keep it up to date so that Companies House can contact them via email

• The date of birth of a director would either be completely or partially concealed from the public version of the register of directors held by Companies House to help reduce identity theft

• Companies would be required to provide a demonstrable link with their registered office in the event of a complaint to help tackle the issue of fraudulent use of an address.

• It will be easier for companies to jointly file annual accounts to Companies House and HMRC by improving the online filing system at Companies House

The consultation closes on 22 November.

James Milligan, Solicitor, DMA

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