Surrey Business News

New BC Gov­ern­ment Rules Crack Down on Crim­i­nal Ac­tiv­ity

- Real Estate · Business · British Columbia · Carole James · German Ministry of Finance

The Prov­ince is tak­ing the next step in its fight against money laun­der­ing and tax eva­sion by re­quir­ing pri­vate BC busi­nesses to keep trans­parency records of ben­e­fi­cial own­ers.

“Hid­den own­er­ship is dis­tort­ing our econ­omy and driv­ing up our real es­tate mar­ket,” said Ca­role James, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance. “Right now, busi­nesses op­er­at­ing in our prov­ince can hide their own­er­ship be­hind num­bered com­pa­nies and off­shore and do­mes­tic trusts. This is hurt­ing com­mu­ni­ties through­out our prov­ince that are deal­ing with the con­se­quences of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity and high home prices, and it needs to stop.”

Ef­fec­tive May 1, 2020, amend­ments to the Busi­ness Cor­po­ra­tions Act will re­quire pri­vate busi­nesses in BC to keep and main­tain trans­parency records of ben­e­fi­cial own­ers, in­clud­ing in­di­vid­u­als who have di­rect or in­di­rect con­trol of the com­pany or its shares. In­for­ma­tion col­lected in­cludes full le­gal name, date of birth, cit­i­zen­ship and last known ad­dress. The amend­ments, it was noted by the BC Gov­ern­ment, will help end hid­den own­er­ship, which can be used to avoid taxes and laun­der money, by re­quir­ing pri­vate com­pa­nies to hold ac­cu­rate and up-to-date in­for­ma­tion about the true own­ers of a com­pany.

Quick Facts:

1. BC’S Ex­pert Panel on Money Laun­der­ing in Real Es­tate re­port iden­ti­fied dis­clo­sure of ben­e­fi­cial own­er­ship as the sin­gle most im­por­tant mea­sure that can be taken to com­bat money laun­der­ing.

2. The panel’s re­port es­ti­mated that $7.4 bil­lion was laun­dered through BC in 2018, $5 bil­lion of which is es­ti­mated to have been laun­dered through real es­tate.

3. An­nounced ear­lier in

2019, the Land Owner Trans­parency Act will cre­ate Canada’s first ben­e­fi­cial land own­er­ship reg­istry for real es­tate.

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