As already discussed in our previous newsflashes (20 August 2018 & 28 September 2018), a register regarding the Ultimate Beneficial Owners (‘UBO’s’) of legal entities was introduced in Belgium.
In principle, the information on the UBO’s needed to be registered by 30 November 2018. However, an extension of the deadline till 31 March 2019 was granted by the Federal Public Service Finance (‘FPSF’). The information on the UBO’s can be entered into the register by a legal representative of the legal entity (internal mandate) or by granting a mandate to a third party, for example tax consultants, accountant, etc. (external mandate).
In order to be able to register the information on the UBO’s in time, action should be taken to ensure all information is available for registration. In this respect, the following preparatory steps should be taken:
- Identifying the category to which the UBO’s belong;
- Having adequate and detailed information (for instance, accurate percentage of ownership interest or voting rights) on the UBO’s of the entity and every legal entity through which the UBO’s control the entity;
- Having supporting documents establishing that the information in possession of the company is adequate, accurate and up to date;
- Implementing procedures within the entity so that every change of information on the UBO’s can be transmitted to the UBO register within the month;
- Identifying a legal or an authorised representative who has an E-ID card and can fill in all the information mentioned in the Royal Decree via the online platform MyMinFin on behalf of the entity.
As you can notice, it will take some time and effort to collect and register all information. Therefore, we suggest to start taking action now. In this respect, please note that non-compliance or late submission of the necessary information can lead to administrative fines (EUR 250 – 50.000) and criminal charges (EUR 50 – 5.000) for directors who do not comply with their legal obligations.
Furthermore, an important exception is the possibility for an UBO to request a restriction of the disclosure of the registered information for citizens and organisations due to a high risk of fraud, abduction, extortion, intimidation or when the beneficial owner is a minor or not legally competent. Each request to restrict the disclosure will be carefully analyzed by the FPSF. Also in this respect, it is important to start compiling a file for the request.
We can of course assist you in this process, from gathering and compiling the required information to actually submitting this information (or to file a request to restrict the disclosure), and further assistance with the implementation of internal procedures to ensure that the UBO register is kept up to date.
If you have any question with regard to this matter, please reach out to your regular PwC-advisor or contact Stefan De Plus (+32 3 259 30 08).
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