The draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill sets out provisions to establish a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. The register is being created in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market.
Further details on this can be found on the UK Government website https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-registration-of-overseas-entities-bill
Not only does the bill propose a requirement for offshore entities and their beneficial owners with an interest in UK property to register with the government, there is also a requirement to submit an annual information update. The deadline for each annual update is proposed to be 14 days after the end of the period and the penalties proposed are as much as a whopping £500 per day for late submissions.
The bill was presented to Parliament in July 2018 and the consultation period is due to close at 5pm on 17 September 2018 – so don’t forget to have your say.
Whilst we encourage transparency and openness, if passed, the bill will result in further administrative burdens on non-resident investors. This, combined with changes to capital gains tax and inheritance legislation affecting UK non-residents, will certainly not act to encourage non-residents to invest into the UK. Whilst the new world will clearly not tolerate secrecy and tax evasion (and quite rightly so), current moves also appear to be attacking human rights on confidentiality and at some point in the future the rights to privacy will surely need to be higher up the Government agenda.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact one of the team for a free initial consultation.