20 April, 2017
Yesterday Companies House announced its plans for the next three years when it published its business plan and strategic plan. Its ultimate goal is to make the UK "the most transparent place in the world to do business", by making a number of changes to the PSC Regime. The changes will be an aid to anti-money laundering measures and help prevent terrorist financing.
The PSC regime was first introduced on 6th April 2016 under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act and required companies to file information about their ownership and management which is contained in their PSC register at Companies House.
One of the significant anticipated changes to the PSC regime will be the implementation of the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive which will see the PSC regime extended to more entities, who have not previously had to comply with the PSC requirements. For example, currently companies with shares admitted to trading on a regulated stock market in the UK are not required to maintain a PSC register, as they are subject to other rules which assist in providing transparency. However, it is expected that there will be changes to these exemptions which will require these companies to maintain and file a PSC register at Companies House.
Another part of the business plan sees Companies House moving towards a more streamlined, digital service. Companies House hopes to encourage more entities to use its electronic filing service with more online services being made available, including introducing digital filing options for 99% of all accounts types by March 2018.
Companies House has also revealed that it is committed to making sure all PSC information is up to date and correct by assisting entities complete their PSC register and providing further guidance on what they need to do. Companies House has said that it will contact entities whose PSC information filed at Companies House is obviously incorrect to assist them in rectifying any errors.
Further proposed legislative changes will also see a further extension to the PSC regime with the creation of a new register detailing beneficial owners of overseas entities that own or want to buy property in the UK. However, these changes are expected to be implemented beyond the current financial year.
The criteria for being a PSC is complex and Forbes' Corporate and Restructuring team are able to provide advice and assistance on identifying PSCs and the new changes due later this year.
Dates for the Diary
June 2017: Implementation of the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
26 June 2017: Entities will no longer update their PSC information on the confirmation statement annually, by way of form CS01. Instead entities must inform Companies House of any changes to its PSC register within 14 days of the change occurring on forms PSC01 to PSC09.
Changes to exempt companies will take effect from this date and some entities which have previously been exempted from the PSC regime will now be required to file their PSC information at Companies House.
24 July 2017: The PSC regime shall be extended to active Scottish Limited Partnerships who will be required to register their PSC register with Companies House from this date.
The PSC regime will be extended to Scottish Partnership where all the partners of the partnership are corporate bodies.
March 2018: 99% of all accounts to be filed electronically.