The beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property
The beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property

The following Corporate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property
  • Background to the proposals
  • Responding to the consultation
  • Key provisions of the Bill
  • Land ownership and transactions—amendments to land registration legislation
  • Corporate Transparency and Registration Reform

Corporate transparency is now viewed as an essential element in any strategy aimed at reducing or eliminating corruption, tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) notes that the use of offshore corporate vehicles to obscure the true owners of UK property has attracted those who wish to hide illicit funds and launder the proceeds of crime. Between 2004–2014, over £180m worth of property in the UK has been investigated as suspected proceeds of corruption. Greater transparency of property ownership will make the job of enforcement agencies easier and will discourage criminals and the corrupt from choosing the UK to hide or launder their money.

On 23 July 2018 BEIS published a consultation seeking views on a draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill (the Bill) which sets out provisions to establish a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. The draft Bill is accompanied by explanatory notes (in the same document) as well as a useful Overview and questions document.

To support the proposals, the BEIS commissioned research aimed at understanding the potential impacts of the proposed register through qualitative interviews with industry stakeholders.

The Bill will require any overseas entity that wishes to own UK land to take steps to identify their beneficial owner(s) and to register them. It also imposes