Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) will have to list everyone with significant control over the business on a register from this April, according to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).
The new rules were introduced in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, to identify who owns and controls a business, in order to attack money laundering, tax avoidance and terrorist financing.
Although the new requirement isn’t particularly onerous, few rural businesses have been made aware of the change, and could face a penalty or even criminal proceedings if they don’t comply, warns Jeremy Moody, Secretary and Adviser to the CAAV.
“This is something farmers may not know about, but it is expected of them,” he explains. “It has not had much publicity and yet it applies to many businesses.”
Where a farm or other business is organised as a company or an LLP, it needs to keep a physical register of who has control from 6th April, says Mr Moody. Then, from 30th June, this information will have to be submitted to Companies House through each business’s new Confirmation Statement, which will replace the Annual Return.
“Anyone who holds more than 25% of the shares in a company or has more than 25% of the voting rights will need to be identified on the register,” says Mr Moody. Those with significant control over a company or control over the majority of the board of directors – as well as trusts and partnerships – would also have to be registered. “In some situations, it might be difficult to interpret who has significant interest or control in the business, so do cross-check this with your accountant,” he advises.
The register will need to include the name, address and other personal details of all people who qualify. “It may not be difficult to do this, but it is yet one more task and you do have to keep the information up to date.”
The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is a specialist professional body representing, qualifying and briefing over 2700 members practising in a diverse range of agricultural and rural work throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
CAAV members are agricultural and rural valuers who provide professional advice and valuation expertise on issues affecting the countryside from tenancy matters to sales and purchase of farms and land, from taxation and compulsory purchase to auctioneering, and from conservation issues to farming structures.
We are always happy to speak to the press – if you have any queries please contact Olivia Cooper, partner at Agri-hub PR services, on 01392 840009 or email [email protected].