Entrepreneurs be aware: has your UBO registration already been fulfilled?

At the latest on 30 September 2019, all Belgian companies, NPOs and foundations were required to register their ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) in the UBO-register, under penalty of a fine of EUR 250 to a maximum of EUR 50,000. Recently, the leading financial newspaper De Tijd reported that meanwhile (almost four years after the aforementioned deadline) more than 55,000 companies, NPOs and/or foundations which are obliged to register their UBO, are still not compliant with this requirement.

The UBO-register is a European initiative to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. Companies, NPOs and foundations, subject to this requirement, therefore must upload information about their UBO in the UBO-register. The UBO is the ultimate natural person who has the actual control over or the possession of the concerning company, NPO or foundation.

Because for the administrative challenge that comes with this obligation, the Federal Public Service Finance initially turned a blind eye. For instance, the tax authorities only issued a fine if a company, NPO and/or foundation subject to this requirement had not provided any information. In the meantime, the tax authorities have tightened their supervision. Today, the tax authorities are also imposing a fine if the information in the UBO register is not adequate, complete or up-to-date or if no sufficient proof has been submitted with the registration. De Tijd recently reported that currently, 15,776 companies, NPOs and/or foundations have already received a fine due to a lack of compliance.

Since the tolerance period of the Federal Public Service has ended, it is important to know that these companies, NPOs and foundations register their UBO correctly and provide the necessary and up-to-date supporting documents. Moreover, the UBO registration must be kept up-to-date: any change in the information of the UBO must be registered within one month. Finally, the UBO registration should be confirmed annually.

Monard Law is at your service to assist you with the registration of the UBO, the update of the UBO as well as the annual confirmation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your contact within Monard Law with any question regarding the UBO registration.

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