This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.  
 

US Publishes G8 Beneficial Ownership Plan

Monday, June 24, 2013

The US Government has published an Action Plan for improving the transparency of company ownership and control, as part of its commitments to the G8 group of industrialized nations.

In Northern Ireland, the G8 leaders signed a document that sets out "core principles that are fundamental to the transparency of ownership and control of companies and legal arrangements." Its aim is to ensure that companies and trusts obtain and hold information on their beneficial ownership. It also calls for the establishment of central registries containing these details, at either national or state level, and for the robust enforcement of sanctions in cases of non-compliance.

Each G8 jurisdiction pledged to produce a national Action Plan, based on these principles, and to publish updates on the progress made.

The US Action Plan, released by the White House, commits the Government to four broad sets of actions. These are grouped around themes of risk assessment, legislative initiatives, clarification of customer due-diligence standards, and international cooperation.

Under the Action Plan, the Government will pursue the implementation of legislation which will require the identification and verification of beneficial ownership information at the time a company is formed. It will explore defining "beneficial ownership" as "a natural person who, directly or indirectly, exercises substantial control over a covered legal entity or has a substantial economic interest in, or receives substantial economic benefit from, such legal entity, subject to several exceptions."

To ensure that the information collected is accessible to the relevant enforcement authorities, the Action Plan recommends that a central registry be set up in each state.

Company formation agents would also feel the force of the Action Plan, and be forced to acquire beneficial ownership information, under reforms to anti-money laundering obligations. In a similar vein, the Government will continue the process of updating its national risk assessment documentation, which involves an investigation of money laundering channels and methods. The aim here would be to address problems associated with the abuse of legal entities.

In cases where false information or documentation is knowingly provided, civil and criminal penalties would be enforced.

Another ongoing project referred to the Action Plan is the Government's planned creation of explicit customer due diligence standards for US financial institutions. Among the options is the introduction of a general requirement to identify the beneficial owners of legal entity customers.

Lastly, the Government will assess the effectiveness of existing means for complying with requests for mutual legal assistance, and other forms of international cooperation related to the beneficial ownership of companies.

According to the White House, "Enabling access to beneficial ownership information to law enforcement and tax authorities is an essential component of US efforts to enhance financial transparency."

The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) has however sounded a note of caution that these changes "cannot happen outside of the context of comprehensive tax reform." It is therefore calling on the Government to reform what it says is an antiquated tax code, stressing that this would be the only way to enact the majority of the Action Plan.

Senator Carl Levin, who chairs the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, was more positive in his assessment of the G8's agenda. He believes that if the G8's commitments are carried out, they could "strike a hammer blow against offshore corporate tax avoidance."

Levin has further contended that President Barrack Obama "showed leadership, not only by helping put multinational corporate tax avoidance on the international agenda, but also by committing the US to taking action to stop the abuses."

Mailing List

Click here to manage your mailing list preferences, or view our privacy statement.


The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees




Latest News

BVI Financial Firms Need To Develop New Niches
13/4/2017
BVI Finance, the financial services industry promotional agency, has said the industry must actively adapt to target new opportunities and promote new offerings internationally.

ADGM Revises Pooled Fund Capital Req's
11/4/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, has revised the capital requirements applicable to managers of collective investment funds, with effect from April 10, 2017.

ADGM Consults On Allowing REITs
6/4/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, is consulting stakeholders on plans to allow the establishment of private real estate investment trusts.

Gibraltar To Offer Foundations
4/4/2017
Gibraltar's Parliament recently passed a bill permitting the establishment of Private Foundations.

Gibraltar Acts To Preserve QROPS Status
3/4/2017
Gibraltar has made new pension regulations to maintain its attractiveness as a jurisdiction from which to transfer UK pensions.

Australia Consults On Taxation Of Stapled Structures
30/3/2017
The Australian Treasury has launched a consultation on the tax consequences of the re-characterization of trading income derived through the use of stapled structures.

Australian DPT Legislation Passes Senate
27/3/2017
The Australian Senate has passed legislation to introduce a diverted profits tax from July 1, 2017.

Guernsey Funds Sector Grew In 2016
27/3/2017
The total value of funds business in Guernsey grew by more than GBP28bn (USD32.5bn) last year.

New Zealand Explains Foreign Trust Disclosure Changes
27/3/2017
New Zealand has published guidance on the increased disclosure requirements for foreign trusts with New Zealand-resident trustees.

Canadian Budget Focuses On 'Tax Fairness'
23/3/2017
The tax measures contained in Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau's second Budget are focused on closing loopholes, cracking down on tax evasion and improving tax reliefs for the "middle class."

Jersey Regulator Issues AML/CTF Funds Guidance
16/3/2017
Jersey's financial services regulator, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, has issued new anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism guidance for Funds and Fund Operators.

More Tax Hikes For UK Taxpayers In 2017 Budget
9/3/2017
The UK Budget, released on March 9, 2017, featured tax measures to, among other things, hike taxes on self-employed workers, further close avenues for legal avoidance, and defer mandatory digital tax reporting until April 2019.

ACOSS Submits Recommendations For Australian Budget
2/3/2017
The Australian Council of Social Services has urged that the Government abolish ineffective tax concessions, introduce a sugary drinks tax, and scrap its company tax proposals.

MEPs Call For Wider Access To Beneficial Ownership Data
1/3/2017
EU citizens would be able to view information in registers of beneficial ownership without having to demonstrate a "legitimate interest," under proposed amendments the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

New Zealand Tax Changes Enter Into Force
28/2/2017
A Bill including provisions to simplify New Zealand's tax processes, reduce compliance costs for smaller businesses, and tighten foreign trust disclosure rules received Royal Assent on February 21.