On the 1 August, while many of us were on summer holidays, the Register of Overseas Entities went live. The Register requires overseas entities, including overseas partnerships, companies and trusts that acquired land and property in England or Wales after 1 January 1999, to register and disclose details of their beneficial owners. (Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate registers). The register is administered by Companies House.
This means that any Overseas Entity that owns land or property has to register by 31 January 2023. It doesn’t matter what the size or the value of the land or property is.
If an Overseas Entity is intending to buy land or property, they will also need to register before they buy the property.
Any Overseas Entities that have sold interests in land after 28 February 2022, are also required to comply with the new legislation by 31 January 2023.
An outline of the steps to comply with the regulations are as follows;
The Overseas Entity will need to register with Companies House, which requires the provision of information about the entity and the ultimate beneficial owners;
- Once all the information has been provided, the Overseas Entity will be supplied with an Identifying Code by Companies House;
- The information given to Companies House must be verified by a UK Supervised ’relevant person’ – the definition of which includes Accountants, Lawyers, Financial Institutions and Tax Advisors. These Supervised Agents are required to register with Companies House and will be issued with an Assurance Code. The verification steps are onerous, and Supervised Agents will be liable to civil and criminal sanctions if they certify incorrect disclosures, so Directors and Trustees of Overseas Entities need to be prepared to provide additional or updated information to allow their Agent to make the correct disclosures.
The information disclosed will be available on public record for up to two years.
The objective is transparency of ownership of land and property in the UK. Only in limited scenarios will ’protected status’ be granted that will avoid the information appearing on the public record.
Should you wish to discuss any items in the article, please do not hesitate to contact the office.