Owning UK property through overseas entities is about to become a far more transparent affair.

Companies, trusts, partnerships and similar entities, which own UK property and are governed by the law of a country outside of the UK, will soon have to register with Companies House in the UK. This includes companies and trusts based in the Channel Islands.

This new ‘Register of Overseas Entities’ will include any overseas entity that has acquired property (commercial or residential) in England or Wales since 1 January 1999, or property in Scotland since December 2014. All disposals of this property made since 28 February 2022 will have to be registered.

The beneficial owners of the overseas entities will have to be identified on the register. These will generally be individuals who hold 25% or more of the shares or voting rights of the overseas entity.

The sanctions for not complying with the register are high, including potentially unlimited fines and a prison sentence of up to five years.

We can help you comply with the requirements of the Register of Overseas Entities should these be applicable to you.