Open Data: what it means for contractors

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Last year, we reported that Companies House would be making all of its digital data free to access – a move that would affect all business owners, including contractors.

The changes formed part of an agreement by G8 leaders as a way to fight tax evasion, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) claiming the move would make the UK the first country to have an open register of business information.

Almost a year since it was first announced, Companies House has now claimed it is on track to implement the new regime by the end of this month. Its chief executive, Tim Moss, hailed it as a “game changer” for the business information market.

But what does it mean for contractors, and should they be worried about the changes?

The new system means that it will soon be possible to search for and download data about a contractor’s business free of charge. There will still be a fee in place for telephone requests.

Information including up-to-date accounts, registered office address and current officer details will be readily available – alongside company records.

Richard Murray, ClearSky’s head of operations, said: “Although news of the shakeup could come as a bit of a shock for contractors, the reality is that they needn’t worry. The vast majority of independent professionals do things by the book and so have nothing to hide.

“At ClearSky, ensuring our clients are 100% compliant forms the bedrock of what we do – so there is no reason to panic. We also allow clients to use our address as their registered business address.”

Have your say

Are you a contractor? What do you think of the news? Is it right that business details will soon be available for free? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.