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IoM Legislates For Central Beneficial Ownership Database

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
07 November, 2016

The Isle of Man Treasury has launched a consultation on a Bill that would introduce a central database of beneficial ownership by June 30, 2017.

The Bill is a consequence of negotiations between the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories with the UK, which resulted in the Isle of Man signing an Exchange of Notes with the United Kingdom in April 2016 concerning the sharing of beneficial ownership information.

The database would cover companies formed under the Companies Act 2006 and Foundations. It would be maintained by the Companies Registry and overseen by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.

The threshold for inclusion in the database is beneficial ownership or control of 25 percent or more of a legal entity (referred to as "registrable beneficial ownership"). Beneficial ownership can be traced through any number of persons or arrangements of any description to the natural person who ultimately owns or controls a legal entity.

Each legal entity must appoint a nominated officer who must submit the required details of registrable beneficial owners and can amend, but not delete, submitted information as and when required details change. All of these actions must be undertaken online.

The Bill also facilitates the Companies Registry's commitment to the online filing of company annual returns once it becomes technically feasible.

The beneficial ownership database will go live on July 1, 2017, with submission of registrable beneficial ownership details phased in the first year to coincide, where possible, with the filing of annual returns but with a back-stop first submission date of June 30, 2018.

Access to the database is limited to competent authorities and a small number of other bodies with similar functions for permitted purposes. There are restrictions on further disclosure of the information.

A number of offenses and corresponding penalties are included in the Bill.

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