We have seen a number of statutory developments both at home and in the UK, as well as several interesting judgments from the Jersey Royal Court (some of which we appeared in).
The UK government announced in January that the planned public register listing the beneficial ownership of overseas companies will be launched in early 2021. Any overseas company which owns or purchases UK property will be required to enter details of its beneficial ownership on this register. The beneficial ownership register is part of the government's plan to achieve greater transparency around non-UK companies purchasing UK property. Reassuringly for trustees, the government has conceded that trust beneficiaries should not and will not be named on the register for confidentiality reasons.
In Jersey, we are very pleased to report that the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014 will finally be in full force by 1 January 2019, with the vast majority of the remaining provisions in force from 1 May 2018. It is important to note that from 1 January 2019, only charities registered under that law will be able to call themselves a charity and it will only be those charities registered under the law that will be capable of benefiting from tax relief in Jersey due to their charitable status. If charities existing prior to 1 January 2019 wish (a) to continue to accept contributions from the general public, (b) to take advantage of tax exemptions or (c) to refer to themselves as a charity, then they should apply by 1 January 2019 for registration under the law.
After highlighting its impending arrival some time ago, Amendment No. 7 to the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 was lodged in February with the States of Jersey and has now been approved. Subject to Privy Council approval, it is expected to be brought into force later this year. Whilst the proposed changes are not significant, they will provide welcome clarification to practitioners and trustees in the establishment and administration of trusts. For ease of reference, we set out in this link the key proposed changes. We hope the amendment will be in force for the release of our next quarterly trust update.