Companies House flexes new legislative muscles

In the latest of new legislative changes that have granted Companies House new powers, the Registrar has turned it’s attention to the registration of company names. Here’s what they have announced on this topic:

“We’re running stronger checks on company names which may give a false or misleading impression to the public.

This will help us improve the accuracy and quality of the data we hold and help tackle the misuse of company names.”

The new powers explained

Companies House can now reject an application to register a name where they have reason to believe:

  • the name is intended to facilitate fraud;
  • the name is comprised of or contains a computer code; or
  • the name is likely to give the false impression the company is connected to a foreign government or an international organisation whose members include two or more countries or territories (or their governments).

They can also direct companies to change their name. If a company fails to change its name within 28 days, Companies House can determine a new name for the company, for example, changing the company name to its registered company number.

They can also suppress a name from the register while a company responds to a direction to change its name

The new powers have teeth

If a company does not respond to a direction to change their company name within 28 days, an offence is committed.

It is also an offence to continue using a company name that Companies House have directed to change

The Company Names Tribunal continues to be responsible for considering objections to the use of a name which is:

  • the same as an existing name in which another person has goodwill; or
  • sufficiently similar to that name that it is likely to mislead.

 

If you receive a directive to change your company name

 

If by chance you receive correspondence from Companies House regarding your company name do not ignore the correspondence.

 

Let us know and we will help you reach an amicable solution with the registrar.

Don’t forget, if your name is changed, you may need to change a range of data, including:

 

  • Your company email addresses and URL
  • Bank Account names
  • Data protection registration
  • VAT registration
  • HMRC registration details
  • Payroll details
  • Contracts of employment
  • Your website
  • Stationery
  • Contracts
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Social media accounts
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