Overseas entities can now apply to be removed from UK register

Thursday, 18 April 2024
Companies House has set up a procedure whereby foreign companies can apply to be removed from the register of overseas entities if they are no longer registered owners of relevant property or land in the UK.

Overseas entities that own UK property have been obliged to disclose their beneficial owners to Companies House since August 2022 under the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the Economic Crime Act). They must also update the information every year and the register is publicly available, although entities can apply to have certain information restricted from public view. The requirement applies to entities that already owned property in the UK before the law came into effect, although entities do not need to register if the land or property was bought before 1 January 1999 in England and Wales, 8 December 2014 in Scotland and 1 August 2022 in Northern Ireland.

The removal process just published remains stringent and does not provide full deletion of the entity's entry on the register. Entities must pay a GBP400 to apply for removal and they will not get a refund if the application is refused. They must also check and confirm that all the information held about the overseas entity is correct as at the date of the application. Anything that has changed will have to be updated. Any such changes will need to be verified by a UK-regulated agent. Companies House will also check with the UK's land registries whether the entity is still listed as the registered owner of UK property or land. If it is, the application will be rejected and the fee will not be refunded, even if the discrepancy is due to delays by the land registry itself.

Once the entity has been removed from the register, its overseas entity ID will no longer be valid and it will not be able to buy, sell, transfer, lease or charge its property or land in the UK, unless it re-registers.

The original explanatory note to section 9 of the Economic Crime Act states that a successful application for removal does not lead to the deletion of any information, although the entity need no longer keep it up-to-date. The surviving entry on the register relating to that entity will then continue to reflect the previously provided historic information, until the records are archived at the Public Record Office. Even then, they will remain available to the public.

Entities currently cannot use the removal service if any of their beneficial owners or managing officers have their personal information protected at Companies House. This includes any who are waiting for the results of an application.


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