On 21 April 2014, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) published the government's response to its consultation on simplifying a company's statutory filing requirements.
The government's decisions include:
- Annual filings. The government plans to replace the requirement to complete an Annual Return by a set date each year. Instead, companies will be required to check, notify changes (if relevant) and confirm the information held at Companies House at least once in any 12 month period. For example, this could be done when the company appoints a new director.
- Company statutory registers. The government proposes that private companies will have the option of no longer keeping any or all of the following statutory registers: register of directors; directors' residential addresses; secretaries; members; and the proposed register of beneficial ownership. If a company decides not to keep these registers, it will still need to ensure that the public information held at Companies House is up-to-date and that the public information includes the addresses of all the shareholders/members and the full date of birth of directors.
- Directors' date of birth. The government recognises the of identity fraud and decided that full details of a director's date of birth will no longer be available on the public register at Companies House. The public register will just show the month and year of birth. However, where private companies elect not to maintain company statutory registers (see above), the director’s full date of birth must be included on the public register.
- Disclosure of subsidiaries. The government considered that, in the interests of transparency, details of all subsidiaries of a company should be listed in one place, the most appropriate being within the accounts.
- Electronic communications. Companies House will increase its use of electronic communications and is to have the facility to be able to send all correspondence and statutory notices electronically.
The government intends to amend the Companies Act 2006 to implement these proposals in due course.