Notification of companies’ actual beneficial owners
On 1.7.2019, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office started maintaining a new public register, in which companies and organizations must notify their actual beneficial owners. Most companies have to file a notification of their actual beneficial owners. For example, limited liability companies and cooperatives must file a notification. The notification must be made by 1.7.2020. After this the notification should always be filed whenever the beneficial owner information changes or when you have started a new business.
Who is the beneficial owner and what information should be notified?
In the Act of Money Laundering, beneficial owner is a person who owns a business or otherwise exercises control over the company. In most cases, beneficial owners are business owners. Even though the business does not have beneficial owners according to the Act of Money Laundering or to their knowledge, the notification must still be filed. If the company does not have beneficial owners, the members of the company’s Board of Directors and the CEO are automatically entered as beneficial owners in the Trade Register.
Beneficial owner owns over 25% of the company.
According to the Money Laundering Act, person owning exactly 25% is not a beneficial owner.
If the company has no beneficial owners who own more than 25% of the company, the company must still file a notification of beneficial owners.
Beneficial owner information is not public the same ways as other Trade Register information. Beneficial owner information may only be retrieved by parties entitled to do so under the Act of Money Laundering. However, the information of the registration of the notification is public.
The information to be collected and notified about the beneficial owners:
- Name and social security number or date of birth
- Home country and home municipality
- Basis and extent of authority or ownership
You can ensure that the actual beneficial owners of the company have been registered by using the Finnish Patent and Registration Office’s Published Entries Search.
Who is obligated to file the report?
Organizations must obtain and maintain accurate and up-to-date information on their actual beneficial owners. The information must be notified by the deadline to the register maintained by the Trade Register.
The notification obligation applies e.g. limited liability companies and cooperatives. Public limited companies and limited partnerships only file a notification if the beneficial owner is a someone other than a partner. Listed companies and private traders do not file a notification. Housing companies, mutual real estate companies, foundations, religious communities and associations also do not file a notification.
How to file a notification of beneficial owners?
The notification of the beneficial owners is filed electronically on the YTJ The Business Information System’s online services page. An electronically identified person who has the right to sign the company’s Trade Register report, can file the notification about beneficial owner information as well. Usually the notification can be signed by a member of the company’s Board of Directors or the CEO.
The notification may also be handled on behalf of the company by an agent authorized to report to the Trade Register, for example, an employee of an accounting firm.
At Gallant, we are happy to help with the obligations of notification. If you have any questions regarding the notification or the reporting obligation, feel free to contact your accountant or our advisors.
Tuija Vanhanen | Advisor, Tax and Legal
Long-standing advisor in taxation and company and labor law.