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Companies Act 2006: The final countdown

From October, new provisions in the Companies Act designed to protect directors’ privacy will take effect. At the moment, directors’ home addresses are held on the company’s register of directors, which can be inspected by shareholders and the public. In future, a new confidential register must be created to hold this information, while the register of directors will contain a “service address” instead. In many cases, directors are likely to nominate the company’s registered office as their service address. The company will have a new obligation not to disclose directors’ home addresses.

When registering directors’ details, both home and service addresses will still need to be sent to Companies House – but only the service address will be made public. When a director moves house, his new address will not be publicly available.

Private companies are no longer required to appoint a company secretary under the Companies Act – although the administrative duties of maintaining company books and filing documents with Companies House remain. The period for filing company accounts has been reduced for private companies from ten to nine months – the new deadline applies to accounting periods ending on or after 31 March 2009.

Beware: Companies House is expanding its compliance team. Along with levying financial penalties for late filing of accounts, it can take action to prosecute defaulting companies and their directors, or remove companies from the register altogether – so make sure your procedures for complying with the Companies Act are up to scratch.

Danielle Harris is a professional support lawyer in the corporate department at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP

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