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Business: Registration

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what obligations companies registered in the UK have to list with Companies House their subsidiary companies; what sanctions exist for non-compliance with such obligations; and on how many occasions enforcement action has been taken in the last five years. (296182)

The requirement for companies to notify Companies House of subsidiary undertakings is covered in sections 409 - 410 of the Companies Act 2006 (it was formerly section 231 of the Companies Act 1985). Sections 409 - 410 should be read in conjunction with SI 2008/409 and SI 2008/410.

Unless an exception applies all companies with subsidiary undertakings must disclose them in a note to their accounts at the end of each financial year.

Alternatively, if section 410(2) applies a company can opt to provide a full list of subsidiaries as an annex to the company's next annual return but this would also need to be explained in the notes to the accounts in question.

If a company fails to comply with this requirement the company and every officer commits an offence. The fine for this offence on conviction is one not exceeding level 3 of the standard scale which is £1000 and for continued contravention, a daily default fine not exceeding one-tenth of level 3 of the standard scale.

Enforcement wise Companies House only deal with this type of breach following a complaint. In the last five years we have had only two complaints where compliance was achieved without prosecutions taking place.