Failure to report on PSC register risks criminal prosecution

Companies House is sending out reminders to companies and individuals who have failed to publish their ownership information on the people with significant control (PSC) register before their details are passed to the Insolvency Service’s criminal enforcement team

In an initially soft approach, Companies House has been contacting those individuals and companies who have not complied with the PSC Regulations to ensure they do so.

The next stage will be to take harsher action as it is a criminal offence not to comply with the new transparency of ownership rules.

A spokesperson at Companies House told Accountancy: ‘Companies House has also engaged with many colleagues across law enforcement, other government departments and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the PSC requirements and offences.

‘The next phase to ensure that individuals and companies comply with the new regulations will be for Companies House to pass on details of potential criminality to the Insolvency Service’s Criminal Enforcement Team, to investigate offences under Part 21A of the Companies Act on behalf of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and issue criminal proceedings where appropriate.

The requirements to keep a PSC register are set out in Part 21A of the Companies Act 2006.

A person with significant control (PSC) is someone who owns or controls a company, and is also known as ‘beneficial owners’. Most PSCs are likely to be people who hold more than 25% of shares in the company, more than 25% of voting rights in the company and have the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors.

The Register of People with Significant Control Regulations 2016 (PSC) was introduced in April 2016. It requires all UK companies (including charitable companies and subsidiaries of exempted companies) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and certain Scottish partnerships to keep a PSC register, and people who control companies or other relevant entities will be subject to a disclosure requirement.

Around 98.5% of companies have complied with PSC regulations, Companies House confirmed. There are still around 50,000 companies flouting the rules.

Report by Sara White

Further reading

Changes to UK anti-money laundering rules hit PSC regime

People with significant control (PSC) register – CPD module

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