The new UBO-register

A centralized register of ultimate beneficial owners, called “UBO Register”, has been created under the Federal Public Service Finance (a.k.a. the tax administration). As from 31 October 2018, all companies, trusts, foundations and non-profit organizations have the obligation to keep an accurate and up-to-date information on all their beneficial owners(shareholders, holders of voting rights,…) and the individuals who effectively control them (administrators of non-profit organization, executives, trustees,…). The relevant data ought to be transmitted to the FPS Finances on a monthly basis and for the first time, before 31 March 2019.

UBO Register – who is concerned?

  • Companies, non-profit organizations, foundations, trusts or similar legal structures (for e.g. trustees) ;
  • Beneficial owner” is referring to any (private) individual who directly or indirectly holds at least 25% of the shares, voting rights or any similar property interest of the company or the relevant entity or construction. The use of the term “indirectly” means that if company is owned by another company, information should be given on the private individual who owns the latter company (obligation to trace the chain of ownership) ;

What are the practical obligations of the entities targeted?

  • To ensure that the data on the Beneficial owners are accurate and up-to-date ;
  • To communicate the data to the tax administration on a monthly basis ;
  • To update its AML-policy and other applicable internal governance regulations.

The information access

  • Although the UBO-register is part of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive, not only the CTIF will have access to the register but also the tax administration ;
  • Tax authorities will have access to the UBO-register ;
  • Data from the UBO-register may also be available to the public upon reasoned request, although entities may request a limited access ;
  • The data are kept for a maximum of 10 years in the Belgian register and 5 years in the European register ;

Practical implications

  • The sale of a company that incurs losses or other operations may have negative tax consequences. One should be prepared before the sale; Tax authorities will be informed of changes of ownership.
  • Exchange of information on an EU-level will allow Belgian tax authorities to obtain information on assets of Belgian private individuals in other countries.
  • In case of breach, heavy sanctions are applicable:
  • Relevant entities: 10.000 EUR minimum and up to 10% of the total turnover;
  • Private individual: from 5.000 EUR up to 5.000.000 € .