HM Government has published the final plan for its public register of the ownership of UK property by foreign entities ( such as Trusts). The register will come into operation in 2021 and is intended to reduce the scope for using ‘dirty money’ to buy high value properties, mainly in London.
The definition of beneficial owner will be the same as that used for the purposes of the Register of Persons with Significant Control for ownership of UK companies. There will be criminal offences for failure to keep their registry entry up to date. For those entities unable to give information about their beneficial owners, they will be asked to provide information about their managing officers.
Trusts and all other legal entities will be required to register. However, thankfully, it has now been agreed that trust beneficiaries will not be identified on the register. Beneficiary information is waived for confidentiality/safety reasons (and because that information should already be available to the authorities through other means!)
According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), trusts are typically used by private individuals for managing family owned assets, including for minors and vulnerable family members. This is a different stance from HM Revenue and Customs who tend to view trusts as a vehicle for tax avoidance.
If you would like advice on registration, or Trust management and tax returns please contact Eric Wardle on 01604 46110 or click here to email Eric.