The long-awaited Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (the Act) received royal assent on 26 October 2023. The Act introduces wide-ranging reforms to combat economic crime and to prevent the abuse of corporate structures. 

Although the Act is now law, many of its provisions will not become effective until implementing legislation has been passed and the necessary system changes have been introduced at Companies House. This means that some central elements of the reform, such as identity verification, are unlikely to be operative until the end of 2024. 

The first significant tranche of provisions came into force on 4 March 2024. These include the following:

To help fund the exercise of its enhanced powers of investigation and enforcement, Companies House will increase its existing fees and introduce new fees from 1 May 2024. In addition, from 2 May 2024, new regulations will give Companies House the ability to impose financial penalties where a relevant offence has been committed.

The following additional measures are expected to come into force later in 2024, but implementation details have yet to be confirmed: company registers and filingscorporate directorsprotecting personal information on the register; and accounts and audit exemptions.

The Government has usefully published a website containing information on the main changes to be implemented by the Act.

The new legislation generally applies to all entities registered with Companies House (including private and public limited companies, LLPs, limited partnerships, community interest companies and overseas companies). 

The Act also imposes new responsibilities for:

  • all new and existing company directors;
  • people with significant control of a company (PSCs); and 
  • anyone who files information at Companies House on behalf of a company.

Click on the links to the subpages to find out more about how the Act will affect companies and associated individuals.