Why UBO registration
Just under 2 years ago, Belgian legislators introduced the UBO register (register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners). The aim is to identify the ownership structures of the entities subject to registration in order to combat money laundering in a more targeted way.
It is the task of the administrative body to ensure that the UBO register always contains adequate, accurate and up-to-date information about the ultimate beneficial owner(s) of a legal entity. Any changes must be updated electronically in the register within one month. In addition, the accuracy of the information contained in the register must be confirmed annually.
UBO registration today
Every Belgian legal entity obliged to provide this information initially had to comply by 30 September 2019. The Administration had a policy of tolerance till 31 December 2019, so that a lot of legal entities were still able to get themselves in order. However, since July 2020 the General Administration of the Treasury has been proactively writing to all Belgian legal entities that have not yet registered their UBO data. If your UBO registration is not yet in order, it is in your interest to regularise it as soon as possible, as there is now a risk of fines.
Initially, it was sufficient to indicate in the UBO register who the ultimate beneficial owners were. But, since 11 October 2020, all those required to provide this information have been obliged to add, via the online platform, any documents that prove that the information relating to an ultimate beneficial owner is adequate, accurate and up to date. These might be, for example, a copy of the share register, the company’s articles of association or a shareholders’ agreement.
Who has acces to UBO registrations?
The question many people are asking is, who has access to these documents? Well, at present, the answer is the competent authorities (e.g. the Administration), entities with a reporting obligation (e.g. notaries, accountants, auditors) and any citizen. However, citizens can only retrieve this data on the basis of the CBE number or the name of the company after identifying themselves with their electronic ID card and paying an administrative fee.
If you are of the opinion that the exposure of your UBO data would entail a disproportionate risk, a risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation, or if the ultimate beneficial owner is a minor or legally incompetent, you can submit a request to the Administration of the Treasury not to disclose your UBO data. The possibility of not disclosing your data does exist, but it will probably only be permitted in very limited cases.
Take action for UBO registration
Those required to provide UBO information who registered before 11 October 2020 still have until 30 April 2021 to upload the necessary documentary proof.
You can register via the MyMinfin application. Obviously, you can always get in touch with your regular contact at Bofidi if you need help with UBO registration or with uploading the necessary documentary proof.