In a bid to reduce the administrative burden faced by UK companies, and to create greater transparency as to the ownership and control of UK companies, a number of changes designed to simplify a company and/or LLP’s filing requirements that were introduced by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 are about to be implemented.
The new Confirmation Statement
As of today, 30 June 2016, the Annual Return is no more and has been replaced with the Confirmation Statement. The Confirmation Statement is intended to streamline the previous Annual Return process by simply requiring companies to confirm that, since their last Confirmation Statement (or, in the case of their first Confirmation Statement, the last Annual Return) the company has made all necessary filings at Companies House.
A Confirmation Statement may be filed at any time, but must be filed at least once in any 12 month period beginning on the date of the last Confirmation Statement (or, in the case of their first Confirmation Statement, the last Annual Return). It is anticipated that companies are likely to file Confirmation Statements each time relevant changes are made, for example to the company’s shareholdings, albeit companies will not be required to do so.
Practically speaking however, there is likely to be little difference between the Confirmation Statement process and the previous Annual Return process. Under the Annual Return process, Companies House issue pre-printed Annual Return forms to companies so that they may to update, or confirm the details are correct. Companies are also permitted to file an Annual Return at any time, provided one is filed at least once in every 12 month period as with the Confirmation Statement process.
So what will change?
Although the Annual Return and Confirmation Statement process will be very similar, there are a number of changes that companies must be aware of:
- the deadline for filing the Confirmation Statement will be 14 days after the due date, being the date the last Confirmation Statement is made up to. This is a reduction in the 28 day deadline for filing an Annual Return;
- companies that choose to submit more than one Confirmation Statement in a year will only be required to pay the relevant filing fee (£13 for an electronically filed Statement or £40 for a paper filed Statement) for the first Statement filed in each 12 month period; and
- companies will be required to file their PSC Register, a register of ‘Persons with Significant Control’ over the company, at Companies House as part of the Confirmation Statement process. For more information in relation to the PSC Register, please see my previous blog.