Brecher Bytes – UK Property – Government publishes more detail on proposed beneficial ownership register

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Almost a year ago the Government published a series of questions, consulting on proposals for a register showing who owns and controls overseas companies that own UK property. The aim is to tackle corruption, but this also affects privacy structures.

The Government has now published its response to the input it received on these questions, and has indicated that it intends all forms of legal ownership of UK property to be caught. This may include trusts, though there is a suggestion that there may be some exemptions. The definition of a beneficial owner for the purpose of the legislation will be aligned to that used for UK companies in the people with significant control (PSC) regime.

As well as statutory restrictions, the sanctions for non-compliance will include notes on the land register, backed up by a new criminal offence regime. The draft Bill is expected this summer, with the register to be fully operational by 2021.