Annual returns & beneficial owners

From 6 April 2016 UK companies, incorporated charities and LLPs are required to maintain a Register of People with Significant Control   (a "PSC Register"). 

The rationale is to promote transparency in how companies are run and owned and the aim is to reduce financial crime.

PSC information must be filed at Companies House along with the Confirmation Statement (which replaces the Annual Return). Information includes: name, service and residential addresses, date of birth, nationality and nature of control over the entity. Some information can be protected from disclosure.

The register should also state if there are no PSCs; details of PSCs have not been confirmed; or information requests are on-going or relevant information does not exist
PSCs are obliged to provide information to the entity.

Criminal penalties exist for non-compliance and PSCs who fail to provide information can have restrictions placed on their shares and rights.

A PSC is someone who meets at least one of the following four conditions:  

• owns more  than  25% of the shares/voting rights;
• can appoint or remove board members;
• has influence or control  over the company;
• has  influence  or control over a trust/firm  that  is not  a legal  entity  which itself  satisfied any of the first three conditions.

There will be a transitional period within which time a person can divest itself of its interest in a company so that it can cease to be a PSC and avoid appearing on the PSC Register from the outset of the new regime.

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