Some of you may have heard about the new Register of Overseas Entities. It is a relatively new regime that came into force in the UK on 1 August 2022. The aim of this new regime is to introduce more transparency and to try and make it harder for criminals based outside of the UK to launder money through the UK property market.
The regime requires overseas entities that own property or land in the UK to declare who are their beneficial owners and managing officers. This information must be maintained on a public register that is held by Companies House. The regime carries with it sanctions for non-compliance which could restrict future transactions – buying, selling, leasing, transferring or even charging property could be prohibited for non-compliance!
The regime applies to those overseas entitles wanting to buy, sell or transfer property in the future, as well as those that already own or lease property. For those overseas entities that already own or lease land or property here in the UK, one important date to note is 31 January 2023. These entities must register their beneficial owners or managing officers by that date if they are to avoid falling foul of this new regime.
Lastly, if an overseas entity has disposed of UK property or land after 28 February 2022, details of that disposal will need to be registered.
So are there any exceptions?
If an overseas entity bought UK property or land prior to 1 January 1999 in England and Wales, or prior to 8 December 2014 in Scotland, it will not need to register the beneficial owners or managing officers with Companies House. Similarly, if the overseas entity bought property or land in Northern Ireland before 1 August 2022, it will not need to file details on the register.
If this is an area of concern for you or any of your clients, we would be happy to talk things through with you. You can contact one of the corporate team today at firstname.lastname@example.org.