The government have issued draft legislation for consultation on the creation of a register of beneficial owners of overseas entities owning UK property intended to take effect from 2021.
The proposed new rules follow the introduction in 2016 of the People with Significant Control (PSC) public register of beneficial owners of UK companies, and research conducted by the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and are a further step towards creating transparency of ownership of UK assets by overseas legal entities.
The Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, if introduced, would force overseas enties owning UK property to name their ultimate owners on a public register or face criminal sanctions (prison sentences of up to five years) and unlimited fines if they try to sell or lease the property without first registering the beneficial owners. The rules would apply not just to overseas companies but to ‘any non-UK registered body with legal personality that can own property in its own right'.
The consultation questions can be found here and consider which entities should be exempt from the rules and some of the practicalities of adhering to them. The consultation closes on 17 September 2018.
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