Companies House has said that it expects to become a fully electronic registry in the next two years.
It anticipates that all incorporations and filings of annual returns, accounts and the main company changes will be digital-only for over 98 per cent of standard companies on the register by March 2013.
For the small number of remaining company types, a paper option will remain for the time being.
Companies House said: “Digital transactions have a number of benefits for our customers – lower fees, ease of use, increased ‘right first time’ percentage (re-work rates for electronic transactions are less than one sixth of the rate for paper transactions), increased security and reduced fraud, guaranteed delivery and faster processing.
“Digital services offer significant cost savings over their paper equivalent. Those savings are passed on in full to our customers through lower fees – the statutory fees for our services are set on the basis of cost recovery. Our customers save 25 per cent for electronic incorporation and 50 per cent for electronic annual returns compared to paper-based transactions. The expected savings to our customers from lower fees will be over £2 million based on current filing patterns.”
Companies House has already indicated its intention to accept accounts filings in the iXBRL format which is to be used by HM Revenue and Customs.
A spokeswoman for Companies House said: “For accounts we have e-enabled filing using XBRL and iXBRL, and we have agreed a consistent approach with HMRC. We are continuing to develop our services, and will be consulting on our plans later in the year.”