Guest Comment – Josh Lewison

Corporate transparency regimes affecting trusts have seen a great deal of activity over the past two months. 

Cayman, BVI, Isle of Man and Guernsey have all brought in new legislation. The legislation builds on the commitments offered by the CDOTs to the UK government to establish central registers of persons who control corporate entities. Where a corporate entity reporting in one of those jurisdictions is held through a trust, a careful exercise is required in order to work out which persons need to be recorded in the register. Each regime is different, so that a single trust with holdings in multiple jurisdictions can be subject to different reporting requirements in respect of the same individuals and entities.

In addition, the well-established UK PSC Register has been extended. Previously, only UK companies were obliged to register details of people with significant influence or control. Now, however, the obligation extends to non-UK companies holding property in the UK. This development is likely to have a significant impact on offshore holding companies.

Lastly, the UK implementation of the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive has led to the establishment of a central register of trusts. All trusts having UK tax obligations are required to register the details of individuals concerned in them.

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