What is it?
The Register of Overseas entities is a new online register operated by Companies House in England, which came into force 1st August 2022.
The UK Government have brought in this legislation to ensure they can identify all beneficial owners of UK real estate following the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russian nationals. It aims to tackle money laundering, which is a particular risk affecting the property sector.
How does it affect me?
Any non-UK entities (this includes Isle of Man companies and trusts) which own UK property are required to register all beneficial owners and/or managing officers of companies owning more than 25% of the property or all trust beneficiaries.
Without the number provided by Companies House on registration, the non-UK entity will be unable to deal with the property at HM Land Registry.
There will be severe sanctions for those who do not comply, including restrictions on buying, selling, transferring, leasing or charging their land or property in the UK.
What must I do?
All entities subject to the above must provide their name, address, date of birth and nationality for entry onto the register. This information must be independently verified by a UK AML regulated agent confirming their details by way of an independent source e.g. passport. All corporate entities are required to provide equivalent similar information.
If a beneficial owner’s details are not provided, the overseas entity must serve a notice on the suspected owner requiring this information, and submit an application stating the owner’s details cannot be ascertained. Failure to reply within one month of such a notice is an offence carrying the risk of a fine.
All non-UK entities holding property purchased in England and Wales since January 1999 (Scotland since December 2014 and August 2022 for Northern Ireland) must apply for a registration number by 31 January 2023 to avoid the risk of fines on the entities and its managing officers.
Once a non-UK entity is on the register it will have to confirm the beneficial ownership each year (within 14 days of the annual anniversary) or face the risk of further financial penalties.
An overseas entity can apply to be removed from the register but in doing so requires a beneficial ownership statement to be made.
How can BridsonHalsall help?
If you require any further information please contact Emily Wood in our commercial team on 614422 or email@example.com