UBO REGISTER : PUBLIC ACCESS temporarily suspended
The UBO register was introduced by a European directive in the context of the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It centralizes information (e.g. surname, first name, residence address, nationality, etc.) related to the beneficial owners of companies, A(I)SBL, foundations, trusts and similar legal arrangements established in Belgium. The objective is to enable the authorities to easily identify which natural persons exercise control over a company or legal entity liable for information.
Since 2018, the access to the UBO register had been significantly expanded. Initially, the UBO register was only accessible to the authorities, to obliged entities covered by the anti-money laundering law (e.g. notaries, lawyers, tax advisers, etc.) as well as to persons demonstrating a legitimate interest in consulting the information entered in the UBO register. Following a modification of the European directive, the UBO register became accessible to the public as well as most of the information provided there.
JUDGMENT OF the court of the european union
A judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union dated 22 November 2022 considers that the unconditional access to the UBO register infringes fundamental rights and does not accord with the respect for privacy and the protection of personal data. According to the Court, the unconditional access to the information contained in the UBO register constitutes a disproportionate interference with the objective of general interest pursued, which is the countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The European directive will therefore have to be adapted and it will then be up to the Member States modify their national legislation accordingly.
At present, the UBO register is only accessible to the competent authorities as well as to the entities covered by the anti-money laundering law.
If you have any questions regarding the above topics, please do not hesitate to contact the RSM Belgium Tax team ([email protected]).