It often surprises clients starting up a business just how how much they can get away with on Companies House.
The current regime is confusingly very strict on paper and light touch in practice. I can file anything I like, even if it's not true, without repercussions? I can remove my fellow director who I hate with just the click of a button? If I make a mistake I just do the filing again?
It is of course not as simple as that. There are time limits, penalties and criminal offences to be aware of. Simple mistakes at an early stage can cause huge practical problems later on. But unlike the Land Registry, the Companies House Register rarely affects the legality or enforceability of something done by the Company. (For example legal title to shares transfers on entry into the register of members, not filing an SH01.)
So the Government's consultation is welcome. The priority is combatting crime, but also to improve accuracy, which is what will be most relevant to clients. Proposals notably include extending the powers of Companies House to query and seek corroboration on information before it is entered on the Register and to make it easier to remove inaccurate information from the Register.
The Government should prioritise reducing the discrepancy between black letter legal requirements and the practical reality of using Companies House.
We're consulting on new proposals to enhance the role of Companies House, increase the transparency of UK corporate entities and help combat economic crime.