First UK economic crime act measures expected to take effect in March 2024

Thursday, 25 January 2024
The first set of measures under the UK’s Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, which received royal assent in October 2023, are scheduled to come into force on 4 March 2024.
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The initial measures will include greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence and stronger checks on company names. They will also grant powers to clean up the UK's register of overseas entities, using data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information. The measures will enable sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies if it is believed that a company may be carrying out or facilitating unlawful activity. The register will be annotated to let users know when information appears confusing or misleading.

Companies will no longer be able to use a PO Box as their registered office addresses and they will have to register an 'appropriate' company email. There will also be tougher checks on company names. The registrar will have the power to reject any names that it believes facilitates crime or suggests a connection with foreign governments or international institutions, as well as names containing computer code.

Each company will have to confirm at incorporation that they are forming the company for a lawful purpose. Every year following incorporation, they must declare that their future activities will be lawful.

Identity verification and other new powers will be introduced later through a series of further commencement orders.

The March 2024 introduction date is still provisional and is subject to the necessary secondary legislation being given parliamentary time.

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