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Companies House to launch Register of Overseas Entities

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 26 Jul 2022

The government has announced that the new Register of Overseas Entities, introduced by the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, will come into force on 1 August 2022.

This new register forms part of the government’s strategy to combat economic crime, while making sure that legitimate businesses continue to see the UK as a great place to invest.

The register requires overseas entities that own UK land or property to declare their beneficial owners or managing officers. Companies House state that there will be “severe sanctions for those who do not comply”, including restrictions on buying, selling, transferring, leasing or charging their land in the UK.

Although the register will go live from 1 August, the land registration elements of the Act will not come into force until 5 September 2022. This will allow time for those currently engaged in a relevant land transaction to comply with the requirement to register with Companies House and obtain an Overseas Entity ID number before making an application to the Land Registry.

Pre-registration service for UK-regulated agents

Before an overseas entity registers its beneficial owners or managing officers on the new register, a supervised UK-regulated agent will need to verify the required information about them. Companies House included information in their recent blog post about which agents can carry out these checks. 

Agents will need to contact Companies House to get an assurance code before they can verify or file on the overseas entity’s behalf. The assurance code is the equivalent of a signature. Agents only need to apply once for their business. The assurance code registration process will include a short form to tell them about the business and who the agent is regulated by.  

Companies House is aiming to launch a ‘request an agent assurance code’ service next week. 

If members are affected by this legislation, or their clients are affected, Companies House urges you to get ready and to start gathering the information you’ll need to register on the new Register of Overseas Entities.

HM Land Registry has issued a blog ahead of the commencement of the Register of Overseas Entities about how it will affect land transactions. Find out whether you may be affected by the new regulations.

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