Draft regulations under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) that will give Companies House the power to issue financial penalties have been laid before Parliament. Regulations to change the fees payable to Companies House have also been made.

The ECCTA contains, among other things, amendments to the Companies Act 2006 to transform Companies House from a passive recipient of information to an active gatekeeper. Its provisions are being brought into force in stages to give companies, and Companies House, the chance to prepare, with the first substantive set of changes for Companies House expected to come into force on 4 March 2024 (see our blog post here).

Power to impose financial penalties

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (Financial Penalty) Regulations 2024 will, when made, give Companies House the power to impose financial penalties on a person where it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the person has committed a "relevant offence" under the Companies Act. A relevant offence for these purposes is defined in section 1132A of the Companies Act (inserted by the ECCTA) as being any offence under the Companies Act other than offences under Part 12 (Company secretaries), Part 13 (Resolutions and meetings) and Part 16 (Audit).

The imposition of a financial penalty by Companies House is a civil sanction which will be an alternative to bringing criminal proceedings against that person, and Companies House will have discretion as to which to pursue. The maximum financial penalty is £10,000.

If the Regulations are made on or before 1 May 2024, then they will come into force on 2 May 2024. Otherwise, they will come into force the day after they are made.

Fees payable to Companies House

The Registrar of Companies (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2024 amend the fees payable to Companies House with effect from 1 May 2024.

The regulations amend existing fees, as well as introducing new fees. The existing fees are increasing: for example the online same day incorporation service will increase from £30 to £78, a confirmation statement will be £34 (up from £13) and a same day change of name will be £80 (up from £30).

Companies House has published a full updated list of fees that will be payable as of 1 May 2024.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.