Earlier this year we reported on the key changes that the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEE) will make to the existing legislation and how this may affect your business.
Companies House has now published some key dates for your diary in which the transparency and filing provisions (Part 7 and 8 of the SBEE) are due to be implemented.
A prohibition on corporate directors is expected to come in force in October 2016 (originally scheduled for October 2015). This means that all directors of a UK company must be an individual. Any appointment of a corporate director made after this date will be void.
The SBEE requires that all companies keep a register of people with significant control from April 2016, in preparation to file this register at Companies House from 20 June 2016.
‘Significant Control’ is defined as being an individual that either owns 25% of the shares in a company or has 25% of the voting rights in a company or has the right to exercise significant influence over the company.
This register will be accessible to the general public and its aim is to increase transparency. Failure to keep or file this register may result in sanctions being imposed on the company or an individual personally.
One of the most significant changes introduced by the SBEE is a simplification of the filing regime. There will be a move away from filing an annual return on a set date every year to filing a Confirmation Statement. A Confirmation Statement is merely a requirement to ‘check and confirm’ the company information and notify Companies House, if necessary, of any changes to this information at least once every 12 months.
This will reduce the administrative burden on companies, particularly smaller companies.
The principal aim behind the SBEE is to enhance the UK’s reputation in the international market and ensure that the UK is seen as a trusted and fair place to do business. It is hoped that the implementation of a publically accessible register will make it clear who ultimately owns and controls UK companies. However, it remains to be seen whether the implementation of these new regimes will be enough to reduce the various barriers which currently exist that hamper the ability to establish and grow small businesses in the UK.
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