Anyone who is a director or owner of a UK registered company will know about Companies House and the need to provide annual accounts and updates on company officers etc.
Most of the information can be provided online but there are still a few forms that need to be filled in and returned by post.
Increasingly, companies prefer to use the online option and it is considered safer.
Companies House have a scheme called PROOF whereby you can decide that only online forms will be accepted.
Protect your company from corporate identity theft
This free service lets you protect your company from unauthorised changes to your records. It prevents the filing of certain paper forms, including:
· changes to your registered office address
· changes to your officers (appointments, resignations or personal details)
· your annual return
Fraudsters are known to hijack a company by changing the details of the company’s directors and registered office. This leaves the company vulnerable to further fraud.
Companies House deals with around 50 to 100 cases of corporate identity theft every month. If you suspect fraudulent activity against a company you should report this to Companies House.
To join PROOF:-
1. sign in as usual to the Companies House website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house
2. select the ‘Join PROOF’ link near the padlock icon at the top of the overview screen
3. agree to the terms and conditions
4. select ‘Protect this company’
You’ll get an email to let you know if your application has been successful.
Once you’ve joined, the forms covered by PROOF can only be filed online, so make sure anyone who files documents for your company knows about PROOF and that you give them the authentication codes they’ll need to file online.
Companies House will reject any paper versions of the forms and send them back to the registered office address.
You can leave the PROOF service at any time.
You can’t join PROOF if your company has an ongoing internal dispute between its officers.
If you need to file one of the forms covered by PROOF on paper while you’re still registered for PROOF, you’ll need to complete a paper consent form first.
The PROOF Scheme seems a sensible extra layer of protection for legal dealings with Companies House.
Companies House say that the advantages of using the online service include:
- fewer submissions being rejected because of missing information
- cost savings – online filing fees are lower than for paper filings
- protected online filing (PROOF) to help prevent fraudulent filings
- an option to sign up to email reminders for key filing deadlines.
Q. What forms can be filed online?
A full list of the forms that can be filed online can be found from the WebFiling overview page by clicking on the 'All forms' tab in the top right hand corner. Forms include:
· Changes to the registered office or SAIL (Single Alternative Inspection Location)
· Confirmation statement (previously the annual return)
· Changes to directors/secretaries
· Allotment of shares
· Change of company name
· Certain forms of accounts (audit exempt, micro-entities)
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