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Companies and LLPs now need to make more information publicly available

17 March 2016

 

The government is introducing a new Trust and Transparency provision to make it easier to identify the ultimate owners of UK companies and LLPs.

From 6 April 2016 onwards, you will need to identify and keep a register of Persons with Significant Control (known as a PSC register).

From 30 June 2016 onwards, this information will be publicly available.  The PSC register will form part of the new-look annual return called a “confirmation statement” which will be required from this date.

Failure to comply with these rules will be a criminal offence for companies, their officers and their PSCs – with sanction of fines or imprisonment.

In many cases, creating a PSC register will be relatively straightforward, as the shareholders of many UK companies are already easily identifiable, but:

  • the definition of a PSC is wider than simply the shareholders – the PSC register requires disclosure of (among other criteria) all individuals who exercise or have the right to exercise significant influence or control over the entity’s activities
  • additional disclosure is required – information like the address and birthdate of the PSC is required, although some information can be hidden from general public view for security purposes
  • complex group structures cannot be used to “hide” ownership – corporate and trust structures will need to make it clear who their beneficial owners are, particularly where ownership is held overseas.

We can help you set up a PSC register for your business. If you would like some help with this, get in touch with your usual BKL partner, use our enquiry form or call us on 020 8922 9222.

Update: our article on the 2017 changes to the PSC register regulations is here.