Companies House Reforms: New Rules To Combat Crime
All because of a Mafia boss ...
Posted by Roger Eddowes on 29/10/2020 @ 8:00AM
The Government recently announced a number of changes to an individual's identity checks when using the UK's company registration system via Companies House. This is to close a number of loopholes, ensuring criminals don't form fake companies ...
New checks by Companies House in no way replace my own obligation to performing due diligence!
copyright: stevanovicigor / 123rf
It all started because an Italian Mafia boss, attempting to avoid arrest in the UK. He started a number of fake companies and moved goods from company to company so he could evade paying VAT on them.
"He got caught eventually, but because of his crimes in Italy!"
And, of course, what he was doing in the United Kingdom came to light when investigators started looking into his activities. This investigation showed a number of weaknesses in Companies House's registration system which it has now changed to strengthen protections against money laundering and other criminal activity.
In future, company directors and People with Significant Control (PSCs) must have their identity fully verified when being appointed or when a new company is formed. Those filing on behalf of companies will also be subject to ID verifications and this includes accountants such as myself as well as other business agents.
It's not completely clear at the moment how the identity check process will work, though my professional body, the ICAEW, is in discussion with various Government departments and Companies House on how we do this on behalf of our clients.
Companies House will also have the power to query information submitted to them, either by the business owner or someone acting on behalf of the directors and that's a fundamental change because they've never had the right to do that before.
"These new checks are in addition to, not
instead of my own obligations!"
New checks by Companies House in no way replace my own obligation to performing due diligence on new clients for accounting purposes, but it does bring in an additional level of protection against money laundering and other criminal activities.
Companies House are also tightening up the information it displays publically about directors and PSCs as extra protection against identity theft and fraudsters, which I feel is a very positive move.
Until next time ...
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About Roger Eddowes ...
Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.
Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.
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