Protected online filing (PROOF) is a free service provided by Companies House designed to prevent fraudulent paper filings and corporate identity theft. It stops the filing of certain paper forms that fraudsters could use to change the information on a company’s record. These forms include:
- Confirmation statements (CS01)
- Changes of registered office address (AD01)
- Changes of company name by special resolution (NM01)
- Officer appointments (AP01 (director), AP02 (corporate director), AP03 (secretary) and AP04 (corporate secretary)
- Officer resignations (TM01 and TM02)
- Changes to officers’ personal details such as address (CH01 or CH02).
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Once a company has registered for the PROOF scheme, Companies House will reject any of the above forms if they are submitted on paper. This improves security as well as the integrity of the Companies House register.
For companies using the PROOF scheme, Companies House will only accept filings of the above forms made electronically using the six-character alphanumeric authentication code it issues to each company. This can be done either through WebFiling (Companies House’s own interface for electronic filing) or with approved third-party software like Inform Direct.
How to register for PROOF
First you must be registered for the Companies House WebFiling service. Once you sign in to WebFiling look for the ‘Join PROOF’ link on the company overview screen. Click on this and follow the instructions to sign up for the scheme. You can opt out at any time by clicking the ‘Leave PROOF’ link that will replace the ‘Join PROOF’ link once you have joined.
Can I still paper file a form if I need to correct a mistake?
Companies House will often require a paper filing to correct a mistake on a form filed electronically. This is still possible even if the company is signed up to PROOF. You will need to use a PR03 form (Consent form for paper filing). This form should only be used in exceptional circumstances and can only be obtained by calling Companies House by telephone. If a company is on PROOF but keeps using PR03 to make paper filings, Companies House is likely to remove the company from the PROOF service.
Is Inform Direct compatible with PROOF?
Inform Direct allows electronic filings and is therefore the ideal accompaniment to using the PROOF service. It is used by authorised persons with the company’s authentication code, which acts as an electronic signature and is kept in encrypted form within Inform Direct. Used alongside PROOF to protect against unauthorised paper filings, Inform Direct is the most secure and efficient way to submit forms to Companies House.
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