The UK Government has now implemented legislation to create full transparency regarding the ownership by non-UK legal entities of title to property in the UK.
New obligations on BVI entities holding property or land in the UK are now in force with the introduction of a Register of overseas entities and beneficial owners.
Recent changes to UK tax legislation have led to questions being raised as to whether non-UK residents should always choose to acquire commercial property in non-UK resident vehicles. It used to be the case that if you were a non-UK resident acquiring UK commercial property, it was generally better to structure the acquisition of such property so it was owned by a company in a non-UK, tax neutral jurisdiction. However, a number of recent developments have meant that this may no longer always be a sensible choice, particularly if there is a plan to develop land and sell it soon afterwards.
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The BVI Government has agreed to establish and maintain an electronic platform that will allow “the automatic right to unrestricted and timely” access for law enforcement agencies in the UK to accurate and current beneficial ownership information on corporate and legal entities incorporated in the BVI by the end of June 2017.