Time is running out

As a follow up to our October 2022 article on The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement Act) 2022 , with the 31 January 2023 deadline now looming for all overseas entities that have owned property in England and Wales since 1 January 1999 or in Scotland since 8 December 2014 to register on the Register of Overseas Entities, we now consider the implications of failing to properly grasp the requirements of UK's Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the Economic Crime Act).

What you need to do now

The Economic Crime Act imposes a number of requirements on non-UK entities (overseas entities) owning UK property, which include the need for:

  • Registration with Companies House;
  • Identification and verification of beneficial owners and, when necessary, managing officers of the overseas entities; and
  • Annual updates to Companies House.

The criminal consequences of non-compliance

The Economic Crime Act created a raft of criminal offences, some of which are punishable by a term of imprisonment, which include:

Offences that may be committed by the overseas entity and every officer:

  • Failure to resolve inconsistencies on the register;
  • Failure to register having been required to do so by notice from the Secretary of State;
  • Failure to deliver required information to the registrar where that overseas entity has made a disposition between 28 February 2022 and 31 January 2023;
  • Failure to register an overseas entity during the Transitional Period if required to do so; and
  • Making a disposition that cannot be registered.

Offences that may be committed by any person:

  • Providing false or misleading information to the registrar;
  • Knowingly providing false or misleading information to the registrar; and
  • Failure to provide information, having received an information notice in relation to the identification of a registrable beneficial owner.

What should I do now?

If you believe that the Economic Crime Act applies to you, now is the time to take steps to ensure that you comply by the deadline of 31 January 2023. We are available to advise you and help you to meet your legal obligations, including by assisting with the necessary independent verification in relation to registrable beneficial owners and managing officers and filing at Companies House.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.