Limited company owners face new duties

The recent raft of Companies Act changes came into force from October 1st, 2009 .

The act had previously turned the heads of such business owners following amendments that included making the company secretary role an optional appointment.

Now, however, their attention is likely to turn to the latest requirement that they, as a director of a limited company, must provide a 'service address' in addition to their residential address.

Although one address can be issued for both offices, the change means that a director's private address will no longer appear on Companies House, or any other public register, if they opt for a different 'service address.'

This new address must be a location where documents can be delivered and an acknowledgement or receipt provided if required, and the address cannot be a PO Box or a DX number.

Also from 2009, the rules governing the treatment of a company's trading name will be stricter, including a requirement for directors to get permission if registering a name that is similar but unrelated to an existing registrant.

Companies House said: "You may register a name that is the same as another in the registrar's index if the company belongs or is to belong to the same group as the company already on the register and a written consent from the latter is sent to us."

More positively, the actual process to set up and run a company is simpler, though a new Form IN01 will be required, with a memorandum of association, which will be shorter, alongside the articles of association and the correct fee.

Companies incorporating as limited by shares on or after October 1st 2009 must also complete a statement of capital and initial shareholdings as part of the application to incorporate.

Elsewhere, the act stipulates that the registrar will receive a range of new powers, centred around the form and manner in which companies must deliver documents, including what constitutes a document being properly delivered electronically.