Malta introduces the Register of Beneficial Owners of Companies

The Government of Malta has on the 20th December 2017 issued new rules (LN 374 of 2017), the purpose of which is to implement the relevant provisions on beneficial ownership information of the EU Directive 2015/849.  The new rules have come into force on the 1st January 2018.

The main implications of the new rules are:

  1. Companies will be required to keep a record of their beneficial owners, which shall include the name, date of birth, nationality, county of residence and an official identification document number indicating the type of document and the country of issue, the nature and extent of the beneficial interest held by each beneficial owner and the date on which such beneficial owner became or ceased to be a beneficial owner.  Such records to be updated when a beneficial owner has increased or reduced his beneficial interest in the company;
  2. Companies must inform the Registry of Companies whenever there is a change in the beneficial ownership of a company.  This must be done within 14 days after the date on which the change is recorded with the company;
  3. Companies that are registered before 1st January 2018 shall comply with the new rules by not later than 30th June 2018;
  4. Companies that are registered on or after 1st January 2018 will not be registered unless the directors of the proposed company provides the above-mentioned details together with the registration documents;
  5. Every company shall every year, together with its annual return, deliver to the Registrar of Companies an annual declaration containing the above-mentioned information on all beneficial owners of the company as at the date of such anniversary;
  6. The information on the beneficial owners will be held by the Registry of Companies and shall be made accessible online against a fee to the national competent authorities, tax authorities, the FIAU, subject persons in terms of the PMLFTR and to any person who can satisfactorily demonstrate and justify a legitimate interest.

The term ‘beneficial owner’ has the same meaning assigned to it under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations 2017.

The register shall be interconnected with the system of interconnection of central, commercial and companies registers composed of the registers of EU and EEA Member States.  These rules shall also apply to partnerships ‘en nom collectif’, partnerships ‘en commandite’ or limited partnerships and to private limited liability companies registered under the Merchant Shipping (Shipping Organisations – Private Companies) Regulations.  However these rules, shall not be applicable to companies which are listed on a regulated market and to companies where all the registered shareholders are natural persons whose details are disclosed in the public records at the Registry of Companies.

For further information, you may contact the firm’s tax and corporate services partner Stephen Balzan on [email protected].  At ACT we will be able to advise and assist you on how to comply with the obligations required under the new regulations.  Penalties for non-compliance amount to a maximum one-time payment of €1,000 plus a maximum fine of €10 for every day during which the default continues.  The company will be jointly and severally liable together with its officers for the payment of any fines.

Apart from its offices in St. Julian’s Malta, ACT operates from a second office in Gozo, which is situated in the capital city of Victoria.  For an appointment in our Gozo office, please call on 00356 21378672 or send us an email on [email protected].

 

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