From 1 January 2018, legal entities and trust funds must reveal their beneficial owner in a new transparency register.
As the EU continues to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, incorporated legal entities and trust funds face new duties.
From 1 January 2018, corporations and trust funds must put their beneficial owner on record in what is known as a transparency register created to this end by the Ministry of Justice.
In this context, 'beneficial owner’ is understood to mean any natural person who directly or indirectly exercises decisive influence over a legal entity or trust fund. In the case of corporations, this will be the individual (or individuals) who:
1. hold(s) more than 25 % of the voting rights or capital shares in the company;
2. control(s) the company;
3. enjoy(s) the right to participate in at least 25 % of the company’s profits;
4. (if no beneficial owner exists or if it/they cannot be determined by criteria (1) – (3) above) is a member of the statutory body (or represents a legal entity who is a member of the statutory body) or holds a simi-lar position.
The entry in the transparency register comprises the name, domicile, date of birth, and nationality of the beneficial owner, as well as information on their voting rights or shares which give rise to their status as beneficial owner.
The transparency register is non-public. It may only be accessed by regulatory authorities, law en-forcement agencies, and third par-ties who can show a legitimate in-terest. Thus, from 1 January 2018, corpo-rations and trust funds must obtain data on their beneficial owner(s), keep the data up-to-date, and notify the registrar for entry in the register accordingly.
Entries in the transparency register are made by filing a form with the competent register court accompanied by documentary proof of the data to be entered.
The registration fee is CZK 1,000. Companies which have already been recorded in a public register prior to 1 January 2018 are exempt from this fee, provided they file by 31 December 2018. With this in mind, it is advisable to make the entry as soon as practicable.
Beneficial owners themselves have no obligations. The responsibility to enter and update data in the transparency register lies solely with the corporation or fund.
A corresponding transparency reg-ister has already been in place in Germany since 27 December 2017. At the time of going to press, it is an unresolved question whether companies whose seat lies abroad but which have a registered branch office in the Czech Republic (or vice versa) must enter data in the transparency register.
We will be happy to assist if you need to file with the transparency register.
Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and the Council of 20 May 2015
Act No. 253/2008 Coll. of 19 October 2016