The New Central Register of Beneficial Ownership – How does it work?

By Andrew Lambe, 30th May 2018

Irish companies now have a statutory requirement to file their beneficial owner’s details with the newly-established Central Register of Beneficial Ownership (CRBO). This new legal requirement was brought in by the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD) which required all EU Member States to implement into national law. The Companies Registration Office (CRO) has been appointed as the statutory body responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the CRBO. There is a grace period of 6 months for companies to make this filing. Failure to file within this grace period can result in the company being fined and prosecuted. Once the company makes the filing, it will only need to file again if or when there is a material change in the composition of the beneficial owner/s.

What is a beneficial owner?

A “beneficial owner” refers to the natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a legal entity through direct or indirect ownership of a sufficient percentage of the shares or voting rights or ownership interest in that company. Any person who holds 25% or more of the company’s shares (whether directly or indirectly) is a beneficial owner. In the case of indirect ownership (e.g. a trust structure or corporate entity as shareholder), there is still a legal requirement to file and disclose details of the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO).

Who has access to this register of beneficial owners?

According to AMLD4, any competent authority with a ‘legitimate interest’ will have access to the central register. This will include the Revenue Commissioners, law enforcement agencies (i.e. An Garda Síochána in Ireland), banks including the Central Bank, credit institutions and Accountants or Lawyers undertaking customer due diligence requirements. There is a possibility the access may be extended to the general public as AML5D is currently being discussed at EU level and the Scandinavian countries are believed to favour full access for everyone.

What information needs to be disclosed?

The following information will be required to be disclosed as part of the filing:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Residential address
  • PPS number/social security number/passport number
  • A statement of the nature and extent of the interest held by the beneficial owner

Since 15th November 2016, Irish companies have already had a requirement to hold an internal register of beneficial owners. Please see our previous post for more information: Internal Register of Beneficial Owners

Company Bureau strongly advises that your company take steps to comply with this statutory obligation. We recommend making the filing with the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership well in advance of the busy Autumn period for tax and CRO filings. As your trusted corporate service provider, we can file your return with the CRBO for a discounted rate of €150+VAT.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our Company Secretarial Team on 01 6461625 or email cosec@companybureau.ie.

Contact us now for further details

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