Contractors' Questions: Can I keep my details off company info sites?
Contractor’s Question: I’m about to create a company but do not want my details displayed on the likes of checkcompany.co.uk, companycheck.com. Is there any way to avoid sites like these displaying my company information and private business details?
Expert’s Answer: For once the government is ahead of the curve having enacted two key pieces of relevant legislation in recent years.
The Companies Act 2006 contains provisions for keeping a director’s residential address off the public register at Companies House, which can be searched by the public. From October 2009, directors have been able to put their home addresses on a ‘central’ register (which is not open to the public) and only show a ‘service’ address to public enquiries. The relevant form (EH02) can be downloaded.
This begs the question about obtaining a service address. There is also a requirement to have a ‘registered office’ address for your company, which cannot be avoided. These two addresses can be the same and these are often provided by accountants, lawyers and company formation agents, but this has cost implications. Sadly, it seems privacy comes at a price.
In terms of company information sites and credit checking agencies, they are allowed under the Companies Act 2006 to access the central register, but many offer the option to hide the residential addresses of company directors in their responses to enquiries. On the sites we checked, this was a relatively simple procedure.
The other key personal information is your date of birth. Fortunately, the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 means that although the full date of birth has to be registered at Companies House, only the month and year are disclosed on the public register. This compromise has gone some way to limiting the scope for identity theft, without entirely eliminating it.
The expert was Nick Hood, business risk adviser at Opus Business Services Group.