Additional UBO obligations for Belgian companies
As from 2019 all Belgian companies need to fill in the UBO register with all names of Ultimate Beneficial Owners of the company. Many companies have completed the register, some of them with some assistance of our firm. Did you not complete the register, or are you in doubt whether this obligations is applicable on your company, let us know and we will assist you further.
On 23 september 2020 new legislation entered into force (Royal Decree) with new UBO obligations.
Next to all information about the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of the company, the following information must be added:
- Additional documentation is required for all existing information. Under the previous regime it was enough that each company was able to prove all entries in the register afterwards. This has now become more strict. Each company in the UBO register must upload and add all necessary documents to the register to prove that all info on the Ultimate Beneficial Owners is correct and complete. Some examples of this additional info are: shareholders register (extract), bylaws, decisions of the company, … This additional information will not be disclosed to third parties but only accessible for the government. Companies are given time until 30 April 2021 to complete this info.
- The second big change concerns group structures with indirect control. The weighted percentages of shares (or voting rights) should already have been reported. This category is now extended to “all levels” of the ownership structure of the company. All intermedia companies are now also obligated to do the same thing. This information was already indirectly available (or deductable from other mandatory information in the register) but now there is an explicit obligation for filing.
Access to the register
Also concerning the access there are some changes by the Royal Decree:
- From now on it is possible to see the historical changes in the register instead of only the actual Ultimate Beneficial Owners. The goal of this measure is to increase transparency.
- Regarding VZW and “stichting” (trust like company) it is not necessary anymore to have a legitimate interest to consult these type of Belgian companies in the register. In practice this will not make much of a difference as a lot of this information is already freely accessible via the Belgian State Gazette or the registers of the KBO.
Except for the transition period all obligations entered into force as from 11 October 2020 (obviously only for Belgian companies with an UBO obligation).
Do you have any questions on the UBO register and your company? Contact our advisors!