The tax administration wants to know who are the “ultimate beneficial owners” (‘UBO’) of companies, associations, trusts, fiduciary entities and similar legal arrangements (these are the entities responsible for providing information) established in Belgium. This information must be uploaded in a web application: the UBO register. The UBO register is managed and can be accessed via the website of the SPF finances (federal tax administration). The general public also has access to the most important data, with exceptions such as in the case of a minor UBO or in the case of a proven disproportionate risk, such as violence, for example.

Information about the ultimate owner must be evidenced in the UBO register
Recently, the mandatory information about the UBO must also be substantiated. This is done by means of documents showing that the data are adequate, accurate and up-to-date. Before, it was not mandatory to evidence the data in the application. Entities with registered UBO’s before 11 October 2020 have until 31 August 2021 to upload the documentary evidence in the UBO register (the date of 30 April 2021 was extended). Newly registered entities since 11 October 2020 will immediately follow the new rules.

The news section of the federal tax administration says (translation by the author):

“These documents may be, depending on the specific case and determined by the registering entity, a copy of the share register, the articles of association of the company,  (international) non-profit association, trust or similar legal arrangement, a shareholders’ agreement, notarial deed or any other document (legalized if necessary). Those documents must allow to demonstrate that the information provided in relation to a beneficial owner is adequate, accurate and up-to-date. These documents are only accessible to the competent authorities. Subjected entities or members of the general public do not have access to this. ”

For the record: the “subjected entities” are persons who are required to identify their clients under anti-money laundering legislation (such as lawyers, financial institutions and civil-law notaries).

Important to know

Although certain supporting documents may already be accessible via the Annexes to the Belgian Official Gazette or are already known to the administration in some other way, you must nevertheless upload them in the UBO register. Another new feature is that the history of the recorded data can be consulted. This is especially important in estate planning. Finally, there is the existing obligation to register any change within 30 days and to update your data annually.

Of course we can assist you with this.

Computer says “no”: the mandatory registration of trusts, fiduciary managers and legal arrangements in the companies register

You need an enterprise number for registration in the UBO register. Trusts, fiduciary entities and other similar legal arrangements are therefore obliged from now on to register in advance with the companies register, the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.

Note that any internet user can do searches in the companies register without identification. This can be a concern for entities whose name is also a family name. This differs from a consultation of the UBO register: unlike for companies, persons who wish to consult the details of a trust or legal arrangement in the UBO register must demonstrate a ‘legitimate interest’ (as is also the case for (international) non-profit associations or foundations).