Our corporate department continues to gear up for some important changes coming to our corporate records practice in the coming months.
In an effort to combat money laundering and tax evasion, the BC Government has passed legislation mandating all BC Corporations to disclose the true ownership of their shares. The intent is to make it difficult for criminals and tax evaders to shelter behind the anonymity previously offered by corporations.
BC Companies are now being required to create and maintain a “Transparency Register” where the identity, address, citizenship and tax status of their significant shareholders is recorded. While generally private, this register will be open for inspection by law enforcement personnel. Companies whose shares are held by other corporations, family trusts, or by a group of associated individuals such as family members, will be required to make inquiries to ascertain and record the identity of the actual individuals in control.
This new regime marks a significant change in the way corporate records must be kept, and may create difficulties for many small companies, for whom corporate record keeping is, at present, an annoying chore. The new legislation contains very significant financial penalties for both failing to keep a proper Transparency Register, and for improperly disclosing its contents.”do-it-yourself’ incorporations have always been risky, but now are fraught with additional difficulties.