Register of Beneficial Owners of Overseas Companies

As part of the ongoing quest for tax transparency, the UK government has been consulting on its plan for a publically accessible register of foreign property-owning companies and entities (including trusts). The register is intended to make public the ownership and control of foreign companies and entities that own UK property and the UK government has now published its final plan.

Reassuringly for trustees, the government has conceded that trust beneficiaries should not and will not be named on the register for confidentiality reasons. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (the government department responsible for the register) noted that, "Unlike companies, trusts are typically used by private individuals for managing family-owned assets, including for minors and vulnerable family members". To publish these people's details "would not be proportionate and effective, especially as disclosure would undermine confidentiality."