More corporate red tape

We are still waiting for the government to introduce secondary legislation that will oblige directors and others with significant control – so-called PSCs – to verify their identity in order to file documents or set up a company at Companies House.

According to Companies House this will:

“…deter those wishing to use companies for illegal purposes.”

Who needs to verify their identity

For new companies, all directors and people with significant control (PSCs) will need to complete identity verification.

Identity verification will also apply to other registration types. For example, any members of a limited liability partnership (LLP) will also need to verify their identity.

For existing companies, all directors (or equivalent) and PSCs will have a transition period to verify their identity with Companies House.

Anyone acting on behalf of a company will also need to verify their identity before they can file information at Companies House.

Company owners can verify directly with Companies House, or through an authorised agent.

You can be assured that if we act for your company, we will help you take steps to sort out this verification process.

When will verification apply from?

The following notes are copied from a GOV.UK factsheet.

For new directors, identity verification must take place before an application for the formation of a company is delivered to the Registrar. If PSCs are not verified within a short time after the incorporation of a company, they will commit a criminal offence. Post-incorporation, a director must verify their identity as soon as possible and must do so before their appointment is notified to the Registrar by a company. Individual PSCs will have a 14-day period after registering with the Registrar in which to verify their identity. For Relevant Legal Entities, this period will be 28 days. Relevant Legal Entities will need to provide the name of their verified relevant officer.

A relevant legal entity (RLE) is a company or organisation that has a significant degree of influence or control over another company. RLEs are the same as people with significant control (PSCs), but they are corporate entities rather than individual people.

Anyone wishing to file documents with the Registrar will need to verify their identity before they do so unless they are an employee or officer of an authorised corporate service provider or subject to an identity verification exception made in secondary legislation.

In general, Companies House expect identity verification to be a one-off requirement. Once a person is verified, they obtain a verified status. However, there may be instances where re-verification is required, for example if the Registrar has reason to doubt the validity of the identity verification, such as on suspicion of fraud. The events that will trigger the requirement to reverify will be set out in secondary legislation.