New laws to protect home address

New laws have come into effect (from 26 April 2018) to help tackle the problem of identity fraud and personal harm for company directors. The new laws, which were introduced into parliament on 22 February 2018, allow company directors and others such as secretaries, people with significant control (PSC) and LLP members, to remove their personal addresses from the UK’s official company register on Companies House.

Prior to the introduction of this law it was only possible for a director to ask for their personal address to be hidden from personal view if they could demonstrate that they were at a serious personal risk of violence or intimidation.

Under the new law this protection is much easier to obtain. Company directors and others will still be required to provide an alternative correspondence address if they are appointed to a live company. If they are no longer appointed to a company, then an alternative address is not required and only the first half of their postcode will be made available to the public.

Planning note

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What’s in a name?

We recently discussed updated Companies House guidance that provides advice on checking which names are acceptable to Companies House when naming a company. HMRC also published guidance for choosing a company name when setting up a private limited company. There are different rules for sole traders and business partnerships.

HMRC suggests that some of the important points to consider when deciding on a company name include:

  1. The name of the company must end with ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ or the Welsh equivalents ‘Cyfyngedig’ and ‘Cyf’ if registered in Wales.
  2. The name of the company can’t be the same or too similar as another registered company’s name.
  3. ‘Same as’ names include, those where the only difference to an existing name is certain punctuation, certain special characters, a word or character that’s similar in appearance or meaning to another from the existing name or a word, or character used commonly in UK company names.
  4. ‘Too like’ names where someone complains, and Companies House agrees it’s ‘too like’ a name registered before yours.
  5. You can trade using a different name to your registered name. This is known as a ‘business name’ and there are certain rules that must be followed
  6. There are also limits for some sensitive words or expressions. For example, a word or expression that may cause criminal offence or that suggest a connection with government or local authorities (without permission). This includes names that could be taken to cause criminal offence.
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